Monday, 19 December 2016

Victory In Sight

I'm in love. I never noticed this in the Prado before, but found it the other day when my aunt and uncle were visiting.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

To Redeem The Day

[Writing] begins with an appetite to discover my self-respect. To redeem the day. So the day does not go down in debt. It begins with that kind of appetite.

-Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

"Into this furnace I ask you now to venture. You whom I cannot betray."

I was four years old the first time I heard Leonard Cohen's music.
One Saturday morning I came downstairs to 'So Long Marianne' playing from the speakers in the empty living room. 
I went over to the hearth of our long disused fireplace, and half-standing, half-hanging with my hands on the mantelpiece, I listened to the song with a furrowed brow and tried to work out just how destitute this man was.
If he wasn't homeless he was at least hungry, and possibly an alcoholic. 
Up to that time my understanding of homeless people had been that they were always sad and you could do nothing for them but frown until you felt similarly sad, give them some pennies to put towards the house they were going to buy, or ask your parents to buy them an ice cream if it was a really hot day. 

What struck me about this homeless singer though, was that he intended to laugh, cry and then laugh again.
Life wasn't simply a vale of tears and you could be happy and sad at the same time. There was something sphinx-like about it that stayed with me.

My parents played that album on loop for a few years, but aside from some brief exposure to 'I'm Your Man' during my dad's minidisc phase, I didn't hear any more of Cohen´s music until I was eighteen, when a friend of my brother played a few chords of One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong on the guitar one day. The memories came flooding back. I began to teach myself the guitar immediately.

Twenty-three years from that initial morning and Leonard feels like a fundamental part of me still. When I started to travel alone he was a great comfort.
  "Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control. It begins with your family but soon it comes round to your soul. I've been where you're heading, I think I can see how you're pinned. When you're not feeling holy/wholly, your loneliness says that you've sinned."
After the travel and into work, a brief university attempt and bouts of young-man's-depression he stuck around. 'Dress rehearsal rag' functioned as the litmus test for suicide at one point. Sitting here I'm now glad we both failed that one, and it took the edge of shame off to know someone else who was compelled to pull out of the nosedive...even if levelling out still just meant clipping the shrubs with one´s wing-tips.

His music has been a map for me that played strangely well into the territory I came to experience, and anything of his that gave some solace I've generally internalized without thinking about it. 
There is something elemental about the poetry in his work that I think allows it to be embodied so readily, specifically in his first three albums. I see him as something between a sculptor and a glacier, bearing upon his words gradually until they are few, and worn smooth. An ineluctable force working in hope of ineluctable language. The result for me is almost gnostic. The language gave me either permission or reassurance when wandering and experimenting. It made it feel alright to grow in hope of a light as yet unseen.

Right now I am processing his death from the perspective of someone who owes no small part of their thinking to the man. So much of his work offers itself to help in remembering, celebrating and mourning him, but what has struck out for me at the moment is 'The Old Revolution'. I'd overlooked this song until last week. It is difficult to comment on the significance of this song for me at the moment without giving it chapter and verse and pulling a few psychological threads to the point of unravelling, so I'll try to keep it short.

What I feel I took that first day, from the man who laughs and cries and intends to continue doing both, was that you can tolerate and, moreover, survive apparent ambiguities and contrasts. What seemed to be in very simple terms, something of a mission to remain happy in sad times.
Twenty three years and a lot of ambiguity and contrast later, and I can say that that the odd sense of continuity in my own life would affirm this, and that it probably helped to have had this model to work with from the start.
There is a reframing of this point in a staggering line from the first verse of 'The Old Revolution' that says what to me is the same message about tolerance of contrast, from an inverted angle that fits my own cycles of fevered searching and resignation:

"Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows."

The gyroscope of resignation rebalances from either side. When you are desperate to remain happy despite life´s sadness, you can do so. Some years later when depression and cynicism begin to show signs of leisurely use, it can be alarming to remember that moments of happiness are inevitable, whether you like it or not.Your new challenge might be to remain aloof and stoic whilst stepping around the puddles of joy.
This is almost like a permission slip to come back off pseudo-intellectual Heraclitic world-weary holy mountain and have a slice of cake with the other idiots, of whom you are of course one, in case you´d forgotten.

And then in the last verse I am hit by a line that contrasts this. After permission to put your picnic blanket down in the shit and enjoy the atmospheric phenomena of a life in gruel, there comes a line that gives me restlessness.

"The hand of your beggar is burdened down with money. The hand of your lover is clay."

Having spent perhaps enough time the last year foregoing intellectual perseverance for comfort, this makes me want to scoff my cake and get back on the search. Joy in sadness, yes. Sadness in joy, yes. Stopping at either one for too long? Not really possible. You may be figure of eighting between the two nuclei for the rest of your days, and that might be pointless, but so what? You can´t just stop here in the land of relative financial comfort and untold cynicism, enjoying your sandwich whilst batting the flies away. You have to take another shot at something meaningful to you, even if it just ends up being the return journey.

 I imagine life will continue to be a constant tacking between the two, and perhaps the searching-stopping cycle is the furnace he speaks of, in the last line of the song. In some way these words embody the golden breadcrumbs he left for me as I came through innocence to experience and grew up with him; acceptance and love of the human carnival in its glory and its weariness.
 I would like to echo his words back to him as he embarks on his voyage into the place where real ambiguity begins:

"Into this furnace I ask you now to venture,
 You whom I cannot betray."

Monday, 7 November 2016

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Friday, 14 October 2016

Rogers on Learning

Regarding Learning and Its Facilitation (1969)
How does a person learn? How can important learnings be facilitated? What basic theoretical assumptions are involved?
Here are a number of the principles which can, I believe, be abstracted from current experience and research related to this newer approach:
1) Human beings have a natural potentiality for learning.
2) Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is perceived by the student as having relevance for his own purposes.

3) Learning which involves a change in self organization - in the perception of oneself - is threatening and tends to be resisted.

4) Those learning which are threatening to the self are more easily perceived and assimilated when external threats are at a minimum.

5) When threats to the self is low, experience can be perceived in differentiated fashion and learning can proceed.

6) Much significant learning is acquired through doing.

7) Learning is facilitated when the student participates responsibly in the learning process.

8) Self-initiated learning which involves the whole person of the learner - feelings as well as intellect - is the most lasting and pervasive.

9) Independence, creativity, and self-reliance are all facilitated when self-criticism and self-evaluation are basic and evaluation by others is of secondary importance.

10) The most socially useful learning in the modern world is the learning of the process of learning, a continuing openness to experience and incorporation into oneself of the process of change.

1) The facilitator has much to do with setting the initial mood or climate of the group or class experience.
2) The facilitator helps to elicit and clarify the purposes of the individuals in the class as well as the more general purposes of the group.

3) He relies upon the desire of each student to implement those purposes which have meaning for him, as the motivational force behind significant learning.

4) He endeavours to organize and make easily available the widest possible range of resources for learning.

5) He regards himself as a flexible resource to be utilized by the group.

6) In responding to expressions in the classroom group, he accepts both the intellectual content and the emotionalized attitudes, endeavouring to give each aspect the approximate degree of emphasis which it has for the individual or the group.

7) As the acceptant classroom climate becomes established, the facilitator is able increasingly to become a participant learner, a member of the group, expressing his views as those of one individual only.

8) He takes the initiative in sharing himself with the group - his feelings as well as his thoughts - in ways which do not demand nor impose but represent simply a personal sharing which students may take or leave.

9) Throughout the classroom experience, he remains alert to the expression indicative of deep or strong feelings.

10) In his functioning as a facilitator of learning, the leader endeavours to recognize and accept his own limitations.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Hang in there two minutes and you'll feel it.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Friday, 23 September 2016

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Aman; A part

An episode from the recent hitch from Madrid to London. Rest soon.

At 4 in the morning it started bucketing. Nervous engines pre-stoked by a few hours of light-infused half-sleep, my body reacted suddenly and I came to consciousness stood under a tree, sleeping bag and rucksack in hand. Small joy in being surprisingly dry, soon crushed under the recognition of how little sleep I'd actually had.
Initially bedding down had been fun- a skulking tour of the waysides and a trip through a hole in a fence into the inviting black fields adjacent– until it dawned all I'd done was catalogue every of the truckers' ideal piss perches then almost throw my sleeping bag down in a manured furrow.
The pitch I'd just leapt up from was the one innocuous place I'd found climbing back through that hole. Anyway, rain avoided,  I toddled off to a dry spot in the doorway of an abandoned restaurant in the service station. Threw down yesterday's signs to add a bit of padding to the roll mat and the half-hearted attempt at more sleep. It didn't work and I was soon browsing the garage for coffee and non-extortionate foodstuffs.
At that point I came across a card to give my dad for his Ph.D graduation (one of two reasons I was hitching to the UK.)

A bit of a nutty card but you have to know my Dad. Whole thing is summed up by the expression of the zoo-keeper, lip curled in an expression of considerable muscle strain and flagrant curiosity at how much confection can be dropped into such a maw in one go. To me it suggested the spirit of enquiry at the moment of its absolution.
Some time spent outside of the garage with my sign, watching what I guessed were two colleagues rambling away in French together. Guys in their 50's, both with spectacles, curly grey hair, smart shoes, tight jeans and shirts tucked in. Just quietly observing them. Six cigarettes and four coffees later they got into separate cars and disappeared. I padded off to the main entrance of the service station to meet the 'dawn', or the wan grey misty barometric car wash that passes for dawn at that time in that place. Spain has ruined me- the sun lives there and merely haunts the rest of Europe.
Playing the game of numbers, waiting there gave maximum advertising to the maximum number of people. I think an hour later the rain went up a gear again.
Coming back to throw myself on the bench inside I realised I'd been in that station for 13 hours.
I looked up to see a teenage boy smiling at me from the bench across the way. Sat beside two women, whom I guessed were his sister and mother from the resemblance. Mother wore a headscarf, smiling politely, leaning forward with her hands folded. The two teenagers were sat up straight, beaming, eyes engaged with my bag and sign.
Boy: "Everything's going to be fine! You just have to have that mindset."
Me: "Thanks, I'm glad to hear someone else thinks the same."
He and his sister got up and came over to talk, and we spent about half an hour on life goals, the military, becoming a millionaire by the time you're thirty, curiosity, teaching, the road from Morocco to Amsterdam and school in Holland. I showed them the card I'd chosen and the boy fell on the floor in tears of laughter...twice actually.
When I arrived at sunset the evening before I wrote in my notebook that all I could hope for at that hour was a good conversation. Took half a day but it worked. If I was scientifically persistent enough I'd consider a study on the fatigue-eliminating aspect of positive acknowledgment at the roadside. Some days before in Burgos when I was at my wit's end (sleepless start to the day, endless marching, sore feet, rain and a dead national road) a garage owner came over, looked at my route, paused and opted for buoyant prescription over leaden/realistic prognosis:"Buena suerte!"(Good luck!) and a pat on the back.
That was an intense day for a number of reasons, but any small kindness during the wait acts as a pivot and the slate is wiped. You get on with it. In Burgos this meant a vampirical springing to the feet and the next car stopping immediately and whisking me to Irún.
In the same way, the thirteen hours in that station south of Lille was immediately redeemed by the positivity and openness of those two young people. The boy was somewhere between woeful and angry that both myself and his sister couldn't give him a firm answer in terms of a life goal, but we talked that over till he was sure we had them and they were just latent. His is to finish school in a year so that he can join the army and start making some serious money.
Their father came in from napping in the car to collect them for the drive back to Holland. We said our goodbyes and here again prescription was chosen over prognosis- they thought I'd get a lift but also that I'd be in France at least another day, and they just said good luck. I wished them the same and said farewell, and as the boy trailed the rest of his family out the door he stopped suddenly, came back, shook my hand and introduced himself as Aman.

Well Aman, if you end up here somehow, thanks to you and your sister for that chat. Ten minutes later I got a lift all the way to Brixton.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Hitched to london to follow.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Ringing In The Dawn

Been listening to the whole album a lot recently. If you like this follow it up.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


First heard Colleen about ten years ago when snooping through my dad's CDs. Didn't know if she was still making music but she turned up for a rooftop gig around the corner from me this weekend. Enchanting would be the word, she played a 6 string viola* and sang like a siren.

*Treble Viola Da Gamba
Patrick Caulfield- Earthenware (1967)
Reading "The Anatomy Of Human Destructiveness" by Fromm as part of a drive to read the list of 15 books that Bill Coperthwaite 'would have saved if the world burned'. Reminded of other books of his, including this from The Art of Loving:

"Our society is run by a managerial bureaucracy, by professional politicians; people are motivated by mass suggestion, their aim is producing more and consuming more, as purposes in themselves. All activities are subordinated to economic goals, means have become ends; man is an automaton — well fed, well clad, but without any ultimate concern for that which is his peculiarly human quality and function. If man is to be able to love, he must be put in his supreme place. The economic machine must serve him, rather than he serve it. He must be enabled to share experience, to share work, rather than, at best, share in profits. Society must be organized in such a way that man's social, loving nature is not separated from his social existence, but becomes one with it. If it is true, as I have tried to show, that love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence, then any society which excludes, relatively, the development of love, must in the long run perish of its own contradiction with the basic necessities of human nature."

Monday, 1 August 2016

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Rimbauld-Illuminations clip

"As soon as the idea of the Flood had subsided, a hare paused among the sainfoins and the swaying bellflowers, and said his prayer to the rainbow through the spider's web."

Friday, 22 July 2016

"From that time, the Moon heard jackals howling through the wildernesses of thyme - and eclogues in wooden shoes grumbling in the orchard. 
Then, in the forest, violet-hued, burgeoning, Eucharis told me that it was Spring."- Rimbauld, Illuminations


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Blast from the past.

Message from Dad

"I have never seen this picture card vista except on a postcard. I guess we have to take it on trust like the moon landings."

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

"If I was a catfish, swimming in the deep blue sea..."
"You are precisely as big as what you love and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you."- Robert Anton Wilson

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Positive Vibrations

"We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future."- McLuhan

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Steps to an ecology of mind- Bateson

"As I see it, the advances of scientific thought come from a combination of loose and strict thinking, and this combination is the most precious tool of science."

"No organism can afford to be conscious of things with which it could deal at unconscious levels.
This is the economy achieved by habit formation."

"...a demonstration of an inevitable fact: that mere purposive rationality unaided by such phenomena as art, religion, dream, and the like, is necessarily pathogenic and destructive of life; and that its virulence springs specifically from the circumstances that life depends upon interlocking circuits of contingency, while consciousness can only see such short arcs of such circuits as human purpose may direct."

"If the course of true love ever ran smooth, it would follow an exponential curve."

Sunday, 22 May 2016

"...a favorable conjunction of the most diverse factors..."

Few books on the go at the moment.

"Fate sends individuality back to its limitations and destroys it if it transcends them."-Otto Rank
"One cannot quench one's power of imagination, but the imagination is made keener and more correct by continually studying nature and wrestling with it."-VVG
"At the present time money is what the right of the strongest used to be."- VVG
"For every week I now make something which I could not make before, and it is like becoming young again."-VVG
"When you don't know where a road leads, it sure as hell will take you there."-E.W. Sinott
"The worst thing about shopping is having to pay."- One of my students.
"Virtue is perfection in man's being, and not the absence of vices."- Exupery, Citadelle

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Learning to play this at the moment. Simple structure, difficult picking, beautiful.

Monday, 2 May 2016

"To try to be happy is to try to build a machine with no other specification than that it shall run noiselessly."- Robert Oppenheimer

"There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago."- Robert Oppenheimer

Saturday, 23 April 2016

"The question of identity has changed from being something you are born with to a task: you have to create your own community. But communities aren’t created, and you either have one or you don’t. What the social networks can create is a substitute. The difference between a community and a network is that you belong to a community, but a network belongs to you. You feel in control. You can add friends if you wish, you can delete them if you wish. You are in control of the important people to whom you relate. People feel a little better as a result, because loneliness, abandonment, is the great fear in our individualist age. But it’s so easy to add or remove friends on the internet that people fail to learn the real social skills, which you need when you go to the street, when you go to your workplace, where you find lots of people who you need to enter into sensible interaction with. Pope Francis, who is a great man, gave his first interview after being elected to Eugenio Scalfari, an Italian journalist who is also a self-proclaimed atheist. It was a sign: real dialogue isn’t about talking to people who believe the same things as you. Social media don’t teach us to dialogue because it is so easy to avoid controversy… But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face. Social media are very useful, they provide pleasure, but they are a trap."


Thursday, 14 April 2016

"I listen in envy, F. said. Don't you know you're being loved?"

"Don't you want to hear what happened when I was a telephone?"
"I do, but I don't want want to beg. I have to beg you for every scrap of information about the world."
"But that's the only way you value it. When it falls on you from out of the trees you think its rotten fruit."

"Oh F, do you think I can learn to perceive the diamonds of good amongst all the shit?"
"It is all diamond."

Monday, 11 April 2016

Reassuring thought of the day

"It has been said that it is quicker to list the plants that do not form endomycorrhizae than those that do."

Friday, 1 April 2016

"There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the 'practice of freedom', the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."
— Richard Shaull, drawing on Paulo Freire

Thursday, 31 March 2016

  Those who guide us, who inspire us, having gone our way before, are now partners with us in building a better world. Any success we have is theirs as well as ours. To copy or imitate them should be only the beginning--the apprentice stage of life. It is fine to think, 'what will a Shaker do? What would Scott Nearing have said? What would Gandhi have thought?' These are good exercises for the mind, a way of weighing ideas and contemplated actions, valuable so long as we do not follow anyone blindly. - Bill Coperthwaite

Thursday, 17 March 2016

By its cover

Fresh from the post, cover by Jean Christian Knaff. Reminds me a little bit of Walter Schnackenberg.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Golden eternal braids all over the shop. G money.

The Three Hermits (tolstoy)

 Tolstoy, 1908

an old legend current in the volga district
'And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.'—Matt. vi. 7, 8.
A Bishop was sailing from Archangel to the Solovétsk Monastery; and on the same vessel were a number of pilgrims on their way to visit the shrines at that place. The voyage was a smooth one. The wind favourable, and the weather fair. The pilgrims lay on deck, eating, or sat in groups talking to one another. The Bishop, too, came on deck, and as he was pacing up and down, he noticed a group of men standing near the prow and listening to a fisherman, who was pointing to the sea and telling them something. The Bishop stopped, and looked in the direction in which the man was pointing. He could see nothing, however, but the sea glistening in the sunshine. He drew nearer to listen, but when the man saw him, he took off his cap and was silent. The rest of the people also took off their caps, and bowed.
'Do not let me disturb you, friends,' said the Bishop. 'I came to hear what this good man was saying.'
'The fisherman was telling us about the hermits,' replied one, a tradesman, rather bolder than the rest.
'What hermits?' asked the Bishop, going to the side of the vessel and seating himself on a box. 'Tell me about them. I should like to hear. What were you pointing at?'
'Why, that little island you can just see over there,' answered the man, pointing to a spot ahead and a little to the right. 'That is the island where the hermits live for the salvation of their souls.'
'Where is the island?' asked the Bishop. 'I see nothing.'
'There, in the distance, if you will please look along my hand. Do you see that little cloud? Below it, and a bit to the left, there is just a faint streak. That is the island.'
The Bishop looked carefully, but his unaccustomed eyes could make out nothing but the water shimmering in the sun.
'I cannot see it,' he said. 'But who are the hermits that live there?'
'They are holy men,' answered the fisherman. 'I had long heard tell of them, but never chanced to see them myself till the year before last.'
And the fisherman related how once, when he was out fishing, he had been stranded at night upon that island, not knowing where he was. In the morning, as he wandered about the island, he came across an earth hut, and met an old man standing near it. Presently two others came out, and after having fed him, and dried his things, they helped him mend his boat.
'And what are they like?' asked the Bishop.
'One is a small man and his back is bent. He wears a priest's cassock and is very old; he must be more than a hundred, I should say. He is so old that the white of his beard is taking a greenish tinge, but he is always smiling, and his face is as bright as an angel's from heaven. The second is taller, but he also is very old. He wears tattered, peasant coat. His beard is broad, and of a yellowish grey colour. He is a strong man. Before I had time to help him, he turned my boat over as if it were only a pail. He too, is kindly and cheerful. The third is tall, and has a beard as white as snow and reaching to his knees. He is stern, with over-hanging eyebrows; and he wears nothing but a mat tied round his waist.'
'And did they speak to you?' asked the Bishop.
'For the most part they did everything in silence, and spoke but little even to one another. One of them would just give a glance, and the others would understand him. I asked the tallest whether they had lived there long. He frowned, and muttered something as if he were angry; but the oldest one took his hand and smiled, and then the tall one was quiet. The oldest one only said: "Have mercy upon us," and smiled.'
While the fisherman was talking, the ship had drawn nearer to the island.
'There, now you can see it plainly, if your Grace will please to look,' said the tradesman, pointing with his hand.
The Bishop looked, and now he really saw a dark streak—which was the island. Having looked at it a while, he left the prow of the vessel, and going to the stern, asked the helmsman:
'What island is that?'
'That one,' replied the man, 'has no name. There are many such in this sea.'
'Is it true that there are hermits who live there for the salvation of their souls?'
'So it is said, your Grace, but I don't know if it's true. Fishermen say they have seen them; but of course they may only be spinning yarns.'
'I should like to land on the island and see these men,' said the Bishop. 'How could I manage it?'
'The ship cannot get close to the island,' replied the helmsman, 'but you might be rowed there in a boat. You had better speak to the captain.'
The captain was sent for and came.
'I should like to see these hermits,' said the Bishop. 'Could I not be rowed ashore?'
The captain tried to dissuade him.
'Of course it could be done,' said he, 'but we should lose much time. And if I might venture to say so to your Grace, the old men are not worth your pains. I have heard say that they are foolish old fellows, who understand nothing, and never speak a word, any more than the fish in the sea.'
'I wish to see them,' said the Bishop, 'and I will pay you for your trouble and loss of time. Please let me have a boat.'
There was no help for it; so the order was given. The sailors trimmed the sails, the steersman put up the helm, and the ship's course was set for the island. A chair was placed at the prow for the Bishop, and he sat there, looking ahead. The passengers all collected at the prow, and gazed at the island. Those who had the sharpest eyes could presently make out the rocks on it, and then a mud hut was seen. At last one man saw the hermits themselves. The captain brought a telescope and, after looking through it, handed it to the Bishop.
'It's right enough. There are three men standing on the shore. There, a little to the right of that big rock.'
The Bishop took the telescope, got it into position, and he saw the three men: a tall one, a shorter one, and one very small and bent, standing on the shore and holding each other by the hand.
The captain turned to the Bishop.
'The vessel can get no nearer in than this, your Grace. If you wish to go ashore, we must ask you to go in the boat, while we anchor here.'
The cable was quickly let out, the anchor cast, and the sails furled. There was a jerk, and the vessel shook. Then a boat having been lowered, the oarsmen jumped in, and the Bishop descended the ladder and took his seat. The men pulled at their oars, and the boat moved rapidly towards the island. When they came within a stone's throw, they saw three old men: a tall one with only a mat tied round his waist: a shorter one in a tattered peasant coat, and a very old one bent with age and wearing an old cassock—all three standing hand in hand.
The oarsmen pulled in to the shore, and held on with the boathook while the Bishop got out.
The old men bowed to him, and he gave them his benediction, at which they bowed still lower. Then the Bishop began to speak to them.
'I have heard,' he said, 'that you, godly men, live here saving your own souls, and praying to our Lord Christ for your fellow men. I, an unworthy servant of Christ, am called, by God's mercy, to keep and teach His flock. I wished to see you, servants of God, and to do what I can to teach you, also.'
The old men looked at each other smiling, but remained silent.
'Tell me,' said the Bishop, 'what you are doing to save your souls, and how you serve God on this island.'
The second hermit sighed, and looked at the oldest, the very ancient one. The latter smiled, and said:
'We do not know how to serve God. We only serve and support ourselves, servant of God.'
'But how do you pray to God?' asked the Bishop.
'We pray in this way,' replied the hermit. 'Three are ye, three are we, have mercy upon us.'
And when the old man said this, all three raised their eyes to heaven, and repeated:
'Three are ye, three are we, have mercy upon us!'
The Bishop smiled.
'You have evidently heard something about the Holy Trinity,' said he. 'But you do not pray aright. You have won my affection, godly men. I see you wish to please the Lord, but you do not know how to serve Him. That is not the way to pray; but listen to me, and I will teach you. I will teach you, not a way of my own, but the way in which God in the Holy Scriptures has commanded all men to pray to Him.'
And the Bishop began explaining to the hermits how God had revealed Himself to men; telling them of God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
'God the Son came down on earth,' said he, 'to save men, and this is how He taught us all to pray. Listen, and repeat after me: "Our Father."'
And the first old man repeated after him, 'Our Father,' and the second said, 'Our Father,' and the third said, 'Our Father.'
'Which art in heaven,' continued the Bishop.
The first hermit repeated, 'Which art in heaven,' but the second blundered over the words, and the tall hermit could not say them properly. His hair had grown over his mouth so that he could not speak plainly. The very old hermit, having no teeth, also mumbled indistinctly.
The Bishop repeated the words again, and the old men repeated them after him. The Bishop sat down on a stone, and the old men stood before him, watching his mouth, and repeating the words as he uttered them. And all day long the Bishop laboured, saying a word twenty, thirty, a hundred times over, and the old men repeated it after him. They blundered, and he corrected them, and made them begin again.
The Bishop did not leave off till he had taught them the whole of the Lord's prayer so that they could not only repeat it after him, but could say it by themselves. The middle one was the first to know it, and to repeat the whole of it alone. The Bishop made him say it again and again, and at last the others could say it too.
It was getting dark, and the moon was appearing over the water, before the Bishop rose to return to the vessel. When he took leave of the old men, they all bowed down to the ground before him. He raised them, and kissed each of them, telling them to pray as he had taught them. Then he got into the boat and returned to the ship.
And as he sat in the boat and was rowed to the ship he could hear the three voices of the hermits loudly repeating the Lord's prayer. As the boat drew near the vessel their voices could no longer be heard, but they could still be seen in the moonlight, standing as he had left them on the shore, the shortest in the middle, the tallest on the right, the middle one on the left. As soon as the Bishop had reached the vessel and got on board, the anchor was weighed and the sails unfurled. The wind filled them, and the ship sailed away, and the Bishop took a seat in the stern and watched the island they had left. For a time he could still see the hermits, but presently they disappeared from sight, though the island was still visible. At last it too vanished, and only the sea was to be seen, rippling in the moonlight.
The pilgrims lay down to sleep, and all was quiet on deck. The Bishop did not wish to sleep, but sat alone at the stern, gazing at the sea where the island was no longer visible, and thinking of the good old men. He thought how pleased they had been to learn the Lord's prayer; and he thanked God for having sent him to teach and help such godly men.
So the Bishop sat, thinking, and gazing at the sea where the island had disappeared. And the moonlight flickered before his eyes, sparkling, now here, now there, upon the waves. Suddenly he saw something white and shining, on the bright path which the moon cast across the sea. Was it a seagull, or the little gleaming sail of some small boat? The Bishop fixed his eyes on it, wondering.
'It must be a boat sailing after us,' thought he, 'but it is overtaking us very rapidly. It was far, far away a minute ago, but now it is much nearer. It cannot be a boat, for I can see no sail; but whatever it may be, it is following us, and catching us up.'
And he could not make out what it was. Not a boat, nor a bird, nor a fish! It was too large for a man, and besides a man could not be out there in the midst of the sea. The Bishop rose, and said to the helmsman:
'Look there, what is that, my friend? What is it?' the Bishop repeated, though he could now see plainly what it was—the three hermits running upon the water, all gleaming white, their grey beards shining, and approaching the ship as quickly as though it were not moving.
The steersman looked and let go the helm in terror.
'Oh Lord! The hermits are running after us on the water as though it were dry land!'
The passengers hearing him, jumped up, and crowded to the stern. They saw the hermits coming along hand in hand, and the two outer ones beckoning the ship to stop. All three were gliding along upon the water without moving their feet. Before the ship could be stopped, the hermits had reached it, and raising their heads, all three as with one voice, began to say:
'We have forgotten your teaching, servant of God. As long as we kept repeating it we remembered, but when we stopped saying it for a time, a word dropped out, and now it has all gone to pieces. We can remember nothing of it. Teach us again.'
The Bishop crossed himself, and leaning over the ship's side, said:
'Your own prayer will reach the Lord, men of God. It is not for me to teach you. Pray for us sinners.'
And the Bishop bowed low before the old men; and they turned and went back across the sea. And a light shone until daybreak on the spot where they were lost to sight.
The realisation (and accompanying obligation) that the younger forms of yourself, once wishing they knew what you now know (and more, if you have it), are out there.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Weren't you at the Coke convention back on nineteen sixty-five
You're the misbred, grey executive I've seen heavily advertised.
You're the great, gray man whose daughter licks policemen's buttons clean.
You're the man who squats behind the man who works the soft machine.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Saturday, 27 February 2016

“There is a Hand to turn the time,
Though thy Glass today be run,
Till the Light hath brought the Towers low
Find the last poor Preterite one . . .
Till the Riders sleep by ev'ry road,
All through our crippl'd Zone,
With a face in ev'ry Mountainside
And a Soul in ev'ry stone

Now Everybody -” 

 -Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)

Thursday, 25 February 2016


1.Neon primaries. Ivory inlays. The mat, candles and objects are inarguably the jewelled axis of the universe. Centering. Thickening of the air as if we suddenly have audience expectation. Black-lodge grazing past. I've got idea, man. Why so voodoo? Faceless entities abound. Colour scheme illuminated.
2. Hello blues. Fools rush in, and I'd have been glad to be counted among them. Perhaps they're my transdimensional brethren. Perhaps they're the drawing I did of the world personified. No expression, calmness emanates, palms out hands up because nothing can be held.
3. Humming, such humming. BOC 5D, Twin Peaks antenna sound, Radigue, potentials of all possible noise. Sounds like DNA.
4. Ladies and gentlemen, gasp in wonder. Ontology never felt so far away. So lucid, so very very perplexed by the biblical torrent of hyperdimensional codices. Ladies and gentlemen, here comes everybody. Jesus fucking christ. Sat upright feeling my socks, mouth agape and smiling, head shaking in disbelief and rhythm.
5. Enter the semi-mythical significance of L as image-smith and quiet purveyor of symbol. Dose that man up. If Solaris has a TV channel this would be it.
6. Coming close to the sense of death, feeling myself disintegrate. Raised a few questions and a few hopes, one being that I could speak to R before leaving the coil. Why R? Because he's a gardener of mind and if that flower blooms it'd be good to give it back. A solace vault. True communication is a rarity, and that channel seems to be open, however garbled the content I send down it. Didn't want to die without telling him how far out and peaceful it seemed.
7. Ladies and gentlemen, the snake eateth his tail. There is a coming and there is a going. Oxygen up, water down. Thought down, feeling up. The turning of the hourglass. A midnight bargain on some quiet street corner. Who profits? Dealer, client or city? This is the one from Touba who came just to see you leave. I can't describe the node and the sense of translation that this feeling has. It is perhaps the 'religious' sense of life after death, or the idea that we leave through transposition, which is never really leaving. Euphoric and transient at the memory of it. Thumbs are a misleading adaptation, you can't grab anything for too long. Probably just made for hitching. Drifting the fuck out of that net. Sitting on the fulcrums all at once.

Will I die? Y/N
Do I believe I might? Y/N
Does that matter? Y/N
Is this a good story? Y/N
I felt myself being coaxed closer and closer to peace as if it were the olive-branched tongue of an angler fish, only to discover it was my own tail. Odd feeling.
8. Following on from the realisation that I wasn't dying came an hour of calm followed by 4 hours of sleep. I had a dream that broke my concept of dream. A memory so tangible I saw why people described them as time travel. Just standing in my parent's bedroom waiting to leave the house. Three years old, a domestic platitude, nothing much to it.
Blake saying 'Nothing is lost' is how I describe that one to myself.
9.Following sleep, awaking to a revived and fresh body, and a singular headspace. Rather than help me decide anything, all the experience had done was tattoo the fulcrum on my retinas like the viewfinder of a camera. Choice is always there, you can't avoid it, or at least not forever. Whack up an umbrella of tradition, belief, confidence, gnosis, but don't pretend the rain will never get you.
Choices, doubts and questions are all coming down, and if they didn't how would anything grow.

Once upon a mission

It's Mikey Dread's world and we just live in it.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Archive:The joy of hitching

Yakushima 2012.

Ming the merciless. And an eel.

Reading Ernest Becker's 'The Denial Of Death' at the moment and have become interested in life spans as a result.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Romantics write "as though they were ill, and the whole world were their hospital."- Goethe

"This is real life. Full of antinomies and bigger than logic."- E.F Schumacher

"Intellectual confusion exacts its price. We preach the virtues of hard work and restraint while painting utopian pictures of unlimited consumption without either work or restraint."

"Language is only necessary when communication is endangered."- Arthur Miller/Irwin Corey/Thomas Pynchon

"Nothing I do is ironic...irony is the last refuge of a scoundrel."-Julian Cope

"We're too busy to give a shit."-Boards of Canada

"My favourite definition of an intellectual: someone who has been educated beyond their intelligence."- Arthur C. Clarke

"Spoon-feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon."-E.M Forster

"Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion."- Koestler

"Scientists are peeping toms at the keyhole of eternity."- Koestler

Carl Rogers- 19 Propositions (1951)

His theory (as of 1951) was based on 19 propositions:[12]
  1. All individuals (organisms) exist in a continually changing world of experience (phenomenal field) of which they are the center.
  2. The organism reacts to the field as it is experienced and perceived. This perceptual field is "reality" for the individual.
  3. The organism reacts as an organized whole to this phenomenal field.
  4. A portion of the total perceptual field gradually becomes differentiated as the self.
  5. As a result of interaction with the environment, and particularly as a result of evaluational interaction with others, the structure of the self is formed - an organized, fluid but consistent conceptual pattern of perceptions of characteristics and relationships of the "I" or the "me", together with values attached to these concepts.
  6. The organism has one basic tendency and striving - to actualize, maintain and enhance the experiencing organism.
  7. The best vantage point for understanding behavior is from the internal frame of reference of the individual.
  8. Behavior is basically the goal-directed attempt of the organism to satisfy its needs as experienced, in the field as perceived.
  9. Emotion accompanies, and in general facilitates, such goal directed behavior, the kind of emotion being related to the perceived significance of the behavior for the maintenance and enhancement of the organism.
  10. The values attached to experiences, and the values that are a part of the self-structure, in some instances, are values experienced directly by the organism, and in some instances are values introjected or taken over from others, but perceived in distorted fashion, as if they had been experienced directly.
  11. As experiences occur in the life of the individual, they are either, a) symbolized, perceived and organized into some relation to the self, b) ignored because there is no perceived relationship to the self structure, c) denied symbolization or given distorted symbolization because the experience is inconsistent with the structure of the self.
  12. Most of the ways of behaving that are adopted by the organism are those that are consistent with the concept of self.
  13. In some instances, behavior may be brought about by organic experiences and needs which have not been symbolized. Such behavior may be inconsistent with the structure of the self but in such instances the behavior is not "owned" by the individual.
  14. Psychological adjustment exists when the concept of the self is such that all the sensory and visceral experiences of the organism are, or may be, assimilated on a symbolic level into a consistent relationship with the concept of self.
  15. Psychological maladjustment exists when the organism denies awareness of significant sensory and visceral experiences, which consequently are not symbolized and organized into the gestalt of the self structure. When this situation exists, there is a basic or potential psychological tension.
  16. Any experience which is inconsistent with the organization of the structure of the self may be perceived as a threat, and the more of these perceptions there are, the more rigidly the self structure is organized to maintain itself.
  17. Under certain conditions, involving primarily complete absence of threat to the self structure, experiences which are inconsistent with it may be perceived and examined, and the structure of self revised to assimilate and include such experiences.
  18. When the individual perceives and accepts into one consistent and integrated system all his sensory and visceral experiences, then he is necessarily more understanding of others and is more accepting of others as separate individuals.
  19. As the individual perceives and accepts into his self structure more of his organic experiences, he finds that he is replacing his present value system - based extensively on introjections which have been distortedly symbolized - with a continuing organismic valuing process.


Monday, 22 February 2016


The ever stalking pantograph. Somewhere these thoughts are being decided by the movement of an ant's jaws through a leaf edge.

Diagnosis by Marcia Lee Anderson

We multiply diseases for delight,
invent a shameful want, a horrid doubt,
luxuriate in license, feed on night,
make inward bedlam — and will not come out

Why should we? Stripped of subtle complication,
who could regard the sun except with fear?
This is our shelter against contemplation,
our only refuge from the plain and clear.

Who would crawl out from under the obscure
to stand defenseless in the sunny air?
No terror of obliquity so sure
as the most shining terror of despair
to know how simple is our deepest need,
how sharp, and how impossible to feed.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Ваше Благородие

"I am your original autodidact."

"Man, who is he? Too bad, to be the work of God: Too good for the work of chance!"
"What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better."
"God knows why nobody ever learns from the preceding generation - but they don't."

"It's very interesting what you don't care about."

When there's a war, people get married."

"I'll be pleased when I'm dead. That will let me off worrying about all these wars." 
Doris Lessing

The Samian Letter

"For they say that the course of human life resembles the letter Y, because every one of men, when he has reached the threshold of early youth, and has arrived at the place "where the way divides itself into two parts," is in doubt, and hesitates, and does not know to which side he should rather turn himself."- Lactantius

Saturday, 20 February 2016

"Life is fired upon us point-blank."

"When shall we open our minds to the conviction that the ultimate reality of the world is neither matter nor spirit, is no definite thing, but a perspective?"

"The metaphor is perhaps one of man's most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of His creatures when He made him. All our other faculties keep us within the realm of the real, of what is already there. The most we can do is to combine things or to break them up. The metaphor alone furnishes an escape; between the real things, it lets emerge imaginary reefs, a crop of floating islands. A strange thing, indeed, the existence in man of this mental activity which substitutes one thing for another — from an urge not so much to get at the first as to get rid of the second."

"Being an artist means ceasing to take seriously that very serious person we are when we are not an artist."

"An 'unemployed' existence is a worse negation of life than death itself."

"Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are."
"Law is born from despair of human nature."

"In order to master the unruly torrent of life the learned man meditates, the poet quivers, and the political hero erects the fortress of his will."

"To live is to feel oneself lost."

"Hatred is a feeling which leads to the extinction of values."
"We cannot put off living until we are ready."
"The difficulties which I meet with in order to realize my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilize my activities, my capacities."
"Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt."
"The poet begins where the man ends. The man's lot is to live his human life, the poet's to invent what is nonexistent."
"Biography - a system in which the contradictions of a human life are unified."

"Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do."

Poetry is adolescence fermented, and thus preserved."
José Ortega y Gasset

"I don't think anyone is thinking long-term now."

"Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols."

It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive."
"It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death."
"Speech is civilisation itself."

An art whose medium is language will always show a high degree of critical creativeness, for speech is itself a critique of life: it names, it characterizes, it passes judgment, in that it creates."

Literature... is the union of suffering with the instinct for form."

"Only he who desires is amiable and not he who is satiated."

Thomas Mann


Thursday, 18 February 2016