Monday 30 June 2008

Dangerous Experiments- The Need to Know

Oscar Wilde once said that the question isn't whether people are good are bad, but whether they are charming or tedious.

Very often, I'm afraid, that's how I think.
Sometimes people can take me as callous and fickle. Perhaps I am.
Because I think it's true to say, that often the key point to me is 'Are you interesting me, or are you boring me?'

People often say to me 'Why does that make a difference to YOUR life? Why do you spend so much time on that?'
I mean, I hardly watch TV, only football, CSI and documentaries. I rarely read fiction, except fantasy novels. The bulk of what I read, is fact- or philosophy.

I think I've always kind of known that a kind of gulf exists between myself and most people. I kind of seek out people like myself, people driven by the same compulsion, that same dangerous all-powerful drive, that will ultimately consume you.

The need to know. The need to experience. The need to feel that on your deathbed, you worked out as much as you could, you are as close to answers as you possibly could be. It actually bothers me that I'll probably be lieing there dying thinking 'Damn. Never DID look that up.'

People often find it weird when I tell them about how I started talking. Really weird actually. Most parents remember their child's first words. Not quite so easy in my case. To me, it makes sense, because I can see how my mind works, and why I would have done it that way.
Apparently, to begin with, I spoke in complete gibberish. I talked, but in my own language. And my Dad says the weird thing was, my gibberish seemed to have sentence structure.
Then one day, I stopped talking gibberish.
I started talking English.

It's as if my brain decided to learn the SYSTEM first, then once it had done that, took on the real words.

That's basically always been how I learn things. There's really no point in trying to show me something piece by piece. I find it very easy to assimilate information into structures- that's how I store data.

I often try to explain to people how I store information and they don't get it. Because in some ways I have an atrocious memory. There's no point you reading out a number for me to dial as you're saying it- I can't do it. There's no point asking me to add up a column of figures, even with a calculator- I'll keep losing track of where I am in the column. I can add up figures in my head if someone else reads them to me, but not if I read them myself. Shopping lists- no chance.

But election results, football league tables, dynastic succession, the periodic table, dates, etc, these are easy enough. I simply attach images to them. Or colours. In my mind, even the days of the week are coloured- as are numbers.

Monday is red, Tuesday is blue, Wednesday is green, Thursday is orange, Friday is yellow, Saturday is white, Sunday is pink.

I store information not by remembering lists, but by attaching the newly acquired information to existing information. When I read a book for the first time, I take regular breaks to assimilate the new information, relate it to other facts I know. See if it belongs somewhere with something else I know.

As so often it does.

But of course, that's not the main way you pick up facts. The main way is through life, experiencing.

And I wonder sometimes if most of my life hasn't ACTUALLY been little more than a series of experiments. I'm not sure, looking at much of it, that I ever had much more objective than to see what happened.

'Don't touch the iron, you'll burn your finger.'

It's true. And I thought it was true, but I had to know just HOW much it burned.
Just as I had to know; if you carve your name into your arm with your penknife, how long does it take to fade?
About six the months is the answer.
Can you tattoo yourself with a compass and a felt tip pen? Yes.

So many things I did as an adolescent just seem to have been done to prove points, to see if they could be done, because of the risk involved. Never do your homework, for example, except that of the first lesson. You do the homework due in during the SECOND lesson, during the first. Always the risk you'll get caught or won't finish it. The victory is getting an acceptable mark, for something you rushed off covertly underneath your text book.

Most teens go to the park to get drunk. I actually kept beer in the house at all times, mainly to see just how many I could drink without anyone noticing, plus of course, there's the risk of your stash being found.
And of course, by the time I sat my GCSEs, being drunk at school had become the new challenge. And actually, I was never caught out. They even made me a prefect. And I was in charge of the debating team.

My time at university was one vast series of experimentation. For one thing, I read a lot- very rarely any of my texts, but that's how it goes. I read none of the nineteenth century novels in the 19th Century literature module- just plagiarised shamelessly. And for Moll Flanders, I just watched the Alex Kingston TV drama. And with Shakespeare, if I couldn't be bothered to find supporting quotes, I'd use song lyrics and hope I didn't get caught out. I never did.

But there was also the experiment in leading a double life- one which carried on for much of my twenties. Political activist, for a party I didn't believe in, but voted for. Why? Well, future career, partly. But also I guess, to try understand how politics worked, the real dynamic behind it. And where better to do that than with the party you secretly think is wrong, but seems to work better? WHY does it work better, when clearly, it's morals are appalling? This, I guess, was one of the key philosophical points I needed to get my head round. I never quite understood it until I read Das Kapital.

Yes, I loved all the doorknocking, the rallies, the shaking hands, the impassioned talk. It was experience. I loved the thrill of it.

Oh, and I loved the fact that none of them had any idea the other life I led. The total hedonism, the extreme experimentation.
I pretty tried most drugs at once, after that it just became a matter of working out what quantities and in which combinations.

And of course, how many women can you juggle at the same time. Why be faithful? It's too safe. In fact it seemed to be a rule of my life, nothing incentivised me to go on the pull, than the secure knowledge I actually HAD someone to go home to. And I'd do it openly, in front of people who could- and would- tell tales. Risk, pure risk.

And of course, I made friends who were similar. We had a great time. Debauched, depraved, decadent, I have no doubt, but certainly something to look back on. Three of us are still best friends now. One just had a baby :)

This compulsive need never really stopped. Writing those posts recently about my past love life made me realise that really, it was just one big experiment, pretty much. Not Joanna, I don't think she was. But the rest, it was just a case of 'see what happens'. I think often I was simply studying the dynamics of love, obsession, lust and relationships to see what conclusions I could draw, so that one day I'd know what the hell I was doing.

I don't think that's what I was CONSCIOUSLY doing, but in effect, I think that was the reality.

And my career. Did I ever stop to take stock? Rarely. I think I've started to take it seriously now, but then?
Again, a lot of experimenting. Doing things to see what happened. See which buttons worked and which didn't.
What you can do, and what you can't.

But I think it was more than that. If I'm honest I've done some truly awful things at times. I mean, I've never got anyone seriously hurt, but I've been a tad brutal at times in how I've handled people. And I think sometimes I have pushed the limits, just to see the outcome.

My friend the Chimney Sweep and I were talking a while back and I said that if Heaven and Hell were real, and I ended up at the Pearly Gates justifying my entry, my answer would be 'I tried to get maximum pleasure and cause minimum pain. And you lot decided those things.'
The Chimney Sweep pointed out that maybe I could be accused of some callous heart breaking along the way.

He may be right. But again, I've not got any regrets.

I've realised slowly over the last year or so, that actually, my love life WAS kind of an experiment. That might sound cruel. So be it. But I learned a lot from it.

I learned the difference between two opposing types of love; one of which is the love preached by Jesus Christ, and the other, is the love preached by Adolf Hitler.

The love of Inner Monkey, versus the love of Inner Reptile.

Joanna versus Claire, basically.

The love that desires to serve, versus the love that desires to own.

And it's interesting that since Joanna, I've pretty much ended up with Claire types.

I'm not saying that Claire or the other girls who loved me the way she did were evil. Not at all. But at heart, the way they loved was. Does that mean they deserved their hearts to be broken? No, though maybe it taught them to do it right next time. Did I deserve the bad karma I got as a result? Certainly. And the results of that bad karma taught me other lessons, so it all worked out for the best.

The point about the love of the Claire type, is it attaches conditions. It has demands. It offers a free gift, as in, Love, than if you are stupid enough to reciprocate it you find you've signed a contract in your own blood. The Joanna type is different. With the Joanna type, Love is a feeling, a gift. It cannot be altered, because it makes no demands. That's why I loved her.

But of course, you can only know it's love when you've lost it, because then you notice you STILL feel it, which you wouldn't if it was the conditional Reptile kind.

So I suppose really, the logical conclusion of this experiment is that you are aiming to see if unconditional- inner monkey- love, is possible.

'If you only love those that love you, where is the reward in that.'

Anyway. My conclusion is, it's possible. I'm pretty sure now I know what unconditional love for someone is.

Which kind of ends the need for further experimenting.

I think I finally grasp what it is that Good and Evil are.

So there we are. Thirty.
A magic number.

I think I've GOT most of the answers I was seeking, even if some of them were late in coming.
It was a hard road, no two ways about it, pretty tiring if I'm honest.

I feel as exhausted as I should feel if I was seventy, but still feel that in many ways, I'm not much beyond a child.

Of course, now I seem to have ended up with a whole lot MORE questions.

First among them being;

What the HELL do I do now?

Which is partly why I blog...

Sunday 29 June 2008

Core Theory Part Two- How It Works

For those who bravely made their way through the first part of this, we are on easier territory here.

What I aim to do in this post is look at some of the implications of what we KNOW of reality, and look at some of the unspoken implications of this.

A German biologist named Ernst Haeckel once said 'Politics is merely applied biology'.
Sadly, we know where that ended up.

But of course, the basic point is true. No theory of history or politics can ACTUALLY be true, if it doesn't fit scientific knowledge and theory. Any theory of politics or history that DOESN'T place against the backdrop of evolutionary theory and natural history, is doomed to fail.

And likewise, no theory of the origin of life can be considered viable, if it doesn't accord with the deeper laws of physics, including quantum mechanics.

And what therefore, I'm aiming at, is a concrete theory to explain WHY everything is the way it is, without resort to a supernatural or paranormal, whilst at the same attempting to root laws of human society within that theory.

I think the best place to start, is by understanding HOW change happens, on a basic level.

And the best place to start, is with the simplest particle there is. The photon.
The photon is simple, because it does the simplest of things. It travels, in a wave, in a straight line. It has no mass- though what mass means, is significant, as we shall see.
The photon, alone amongst particles, has no anti-particle.
Or put simply, nothing it does, has an opposite.

In other words, the photon is the simplest thing there is. A quanta, the behaviour of which needs no further explanation. All other particles, are far more of a mystery.

The photon covers 186,000 miles in a second.

Now, here we come to the underlying point about reality. In fact, it was the great conceptual debate of all time. Is matter- and therefore everything- continuous, or discrete?
In other words, can you keep going on smaller and smaller in terms of dividing things, or is everything composed of finite units?

And of course, the answer is, finite units.
The sub-atomic particle represents a unit of spacetime.

Imagine spacetime as an eleven dimensional chessboard. There are spaces occupied by particles, and spaces not occupied by particles. No space can hold than one particle at one time. And no particle can exist crossing over into more than one space.

So when the photon travels its 186,000 miles, it actually moves frame by frame about a decillion times. A decillion is a number with 31 noughts.
This time unit, is called a planck tick. There are about a decillion in a second.

In other words, every planck tick, the universe moves every photon to an adjacent space.
But in fact, it's not just the photons. It moves EVERY sub-atomic particle to another space. And the ways it does this, aren't always nice and simple, like the photon.

In fact, what we know of the universe, suggests that in many cases, the movement of particles SEEMS to be done by chance, in ways that go against what we would expect.

But first, what ARE these other particles- a postulated five hundred varieties.

Let me first state, that lots of these are hypothetical, and some probably unnecessary. The graviton is a case in point. Completely not needed, if we accept Einstein's theory of gravity- it exists to satisfy some of the problems of reconciling that theory, with quantum theory. A major selling point to me of string theory, is it eliminates the need for gravitons. Gluons as well, are another one I suspect are a mathematical fiction, needed only because we have not YET reached M theory.

We divide these particles into two types- massed and unmassed. What's the difference? Massed ones are massless, and all move. Massed ones have mass, and sit still.

Or do they? I don't think they do. I think it's do with wave function. It is possible, by combining Einstein's equation with Planck's photon energy equation, to prove that the wave function of a quark (the most important massed particle) is massively higher, than that of any photon. The same goes for all massed particles.

In other words, the particle zoo, may be no zoo. There may in fact, be only two things distinguishing particles. Wave function, and dimensions travelled in. The photon is simply the basic particle behaving in the simplest way. The other particles we See, just MOVE in different ways.

We view is that Einsteins's theory of gravity explains the massed particle. It's high wave function, prevents its travel. It's movement warps space, much as the sun warps space, forcing the earth to move in an ellipse around it. The quark warps space, so that it has no alternative other than to simply rotate on it's own axis. It's basically a tiny black hole. It can't of course attract like a black hole, because there is no matter smaller than it. What it can do, is mutually attract other quarks.

Quite why the limit here is three, I don't know, but depending on which of the six types of quark blend together in bunches of three, we get protons and neutrons. Electrons of course, are like quarks, fundamental particles.

The most important point about quantum theory, is the notorious quantum strangeness. Electrons orbit the atomic nucleus. But not the way planets orbits stars. They hop. Each planck tick the electron randomly moves to another point on its orbit. No predicting where.
Is it random?

Quantum reality is full of this- shadow particles, the alternative random movements of a particle that MIGHT have happened.

Because what's actually happened in every second that happens, is that every sub atomic particle in the universe has moved a decillion times.

Think what that means.
It means that not only is -as we- know- most of the spaces in the universe empty- most movement, when slowed down to planck tick level, isn't what we think.

I'm not typing at light speed, for example. So what that actually means, is that if you slowed the movement of my finger frame by frame, watching it in terms of planck time- most of time, it isn't moving. In a minority of those planck ticks- a tiny minority- the movement of sub atomic particles leads to a tiny movement of my finger.

Now here is where I depart from SOME quantum theorists. Because I actually do think, along with Einstein, that God doesn't play dice.
I actually think everything is implicit from the begining. The shape and structure of spactime is ironcast.

Some quantum theorists believe that each time the universe makes its random choices, ALL possibilties in some sense happen. That all those universes where the electrons jumped to other places instead, are equally real- just that this is the one that WE experience.
There's a problem with that.

It ultimately means that the DURATION of the universe is variable. Because it suggests a variability in the routes taken to heat death.
In fact, it even PREDICTS that the impossible universe- the everlasting universe, the universe of perpetual motion, exists.

That cannot be so.

So- conclusion- we experience the only universe that ACTUALLY happens- the one that will exist for the SHORTEST possible time frame.

That's what the laws of thermodynamics ACTUALLY are. The universe choosing it's route, a decillion times a second.
A decillion choices a second.

Conscious? Yes.
But how can you conceive of that level of consciousness? The moving of a quantity of particles that we can't even imagine, a decillion times a second.

So of course it can plan ahead. And now, after thirteen billion years, it has learned. Just as we did. This is what I think, we have lost. the mind of god isn't a human mind. it evolved, as our did. But computers only work, because they follow the same laws of PHYSICS our brains do. And we have only evolved consciousness, because it is POSSIBLE.
If we're conscious, the universe must be. And our short journeys towards conceptual understanding, are a shadow of the journey the universe has had.

So the universe is both random and deterministic at the same time.
The old theological mystery of how pre-destination reconciles with free will, remains the root question of time and space.

Because yes, we have total free will in ALL our choices. WE choose. But the universe chose that we would choose that. We don't experience the universe where we chose differently, because the universe doesn't choose that route.

Seeing the universe in this way, actually does solve a lot of our conceptual problems. But I think it also allows much of the so-called 'paranormal' to make sense.

Things such as synchronicity, sixth sense, even telepathy and telekinesis, they may or may not exist. But in the universe as just described, they fit into the possible framework.
Synchronicity, for example is a direct result of the fact that at times, it suits the universe to make the choices that lie way off the bell curve.

Telepathy and telekinesis, are both things that I can see as things that COUlD quite realistically evolve, the physical basis on which they would work already exists- otherwise mobile phones wouldn't work. I hesitate to state these things are things we are in the process of evolving, and nothing we know of evolutionary biology suggests it is impossible.

It's going somewhere. It never stands still.
Evolution is not just a law of biology, it extends both ways- it is a law of the universe, it is a law of history.

We live in Darwin's universe.

Darwin's universe is dependant on the improbable. The improbable, the seemingly impossible even, happen. What are the chances that enough monkeys should manage to cross an admittedly narrower Atlantic Ocean in the Oligocene Period to found the entire population of New World primates? Unlikely, but it happened.

So our sense that there is a destiny to things correct? I think so. I think much of what we feel in or bones, we do so because the electro-magnetic impulses of the universe tell us when we are going with the grain rather than against it.

How does this help us interpret own lives? Well put simply, everything DOES happen for a reason. You may not, if you knew the reasons, like the reasons, you might feel you have been cheated, because the universe used you as a mere tool, but essentially that's all any of us are.

It may be that the things you think were the great achievements of your life aren't. You may reach sixty and look back at a successful career, a happy marriage, bringing up two children successfully. But these might just pan out to be background noise.

Your great achievement might have been that at seventeen year of age you paid a girl in a newsagents a compliment. You weren't to know it, but she'd discovered she was pregnant by her boyfriend, who had done a runner. Your compliment stops her taking her life that night. She has the child, gives it up for adoption, goes to University, becomes a research chemist, and discovers the cure to AIDS.

The universe does not waste time. Everything that happened to me, everything that happened to you, it all happened with SOME objective in mind. Of the people who read this blog, some will read this post, some won't. Some will get this far, some won't. Some will read it, who've never read this blog before. For some, nothing will come of it. For some, the reason the universe decided they should read it might be totally unconnected- maybe just so they could see a blog on my blogroll that interested them, and there they'd find a post that affected their life. Or maybe the ultimate reasons are more obscure still. Maybe it's what you'll do NEXT that matters.

You might be sitting here reading this squeezing the hand of a loved one. Right now, you hope it will never end. But the universe didn't bring you together to find eachother. It brought you together to find the people you'd ONLY have found, if you found eachother first. The universe tells you both it's the real thing now, because it suits the universe for you to think that. It'll tell you when it really IS the real thing.
Or maybe it hasn't got that planned for you. Maybe when she runs off with the man the universe planned for her, the pain you feel will drive you onwards to achieve things ONLY that pain could make you achieve.

How far does our free will affect things? Perhaps there IS margin for error. Maybe there are a certain number of routes that can lead to the same ultimate ends. But I think the universe won't allow the general framework to be upset too much. Rather than there being an infinite number of possible universes, I suspect the one we inhabit has limited variability, and when we fight against the universe, the universe puts us back in place.
It's us who make life so hard for ourselves.

Every life DOES have a purpose, every life DOES count.
I think we spend much of our lives figuring out WHY we're here.

But trust me, when you feel in your heart of hearts that something's happening that's MEANT to happen, or that something you're doing, you're MEANT to be doing, you know.

Because the universe wants you to know.

Saturday 28 June 2008

Gotta have Faith

We all need something to believe in, something that brings us hope & lifts us up when we are down. Faith is a need and springs from deep within us all. Some people put their faith in higher powers, whether it is called God, Allah, Jehova, Jesus, Buddha, Brahma, Babajee, Karma, Destiny, most of us tend to believe in something larger than life, a power beyond our comprehension. It has been said that God is an evil necessity, created by man to justify the unfairness in the world. I simply think some people have the need to find a greater purpose in life. But there are no absolute solutions, and my needs may not be the same as your needs. As long as we all share the core values and understand bind us all together, have compassion and respect for humanity, we would be able to live in peace and harmony. We simply have to believe in goodness in world.

Faith isn’t about waiting for divine intervention; faith is about realising that life is all about choices which you have the power to make. What differ us from other species is the ability to think and chose the path we walk upon. We cannot control or chose the cards that have been given us, but we do choose how they will be played. Life isn’t always easy, and living it is a one of the greatest challenges of them all. Most of us are struggling just to get by and to keep on running in the hamster wheel.

There is a saying that the road to hell is paved in good intentions, but I have to disagree. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you had imagined, and sometimes we do the wrong things for the right reasons – the most important thing is to have your heart in the right place. Even if your best intentions and efforts sometime fall short, you shouldn’t stop trying or believing that things will get better, even when everything seems to be pointing to the opposite. That is what faith is all about.

It all comes down to choices. Sometimes we choose our action based on what we know, on what seem scientifically logical. Other times we act based solely on our gutfeeling, on what we feel and believe in. It’s about taking a step without knowing if there is a ground below us or not – the leap of faith. If you ever believe in anyone or anything without absolute truth, that’s faith.

The bottom line is, ot doesn’t matter what you believe in – God, Karma, goodness, love, in you, in others, in humanity, in karma, in signs or in dreams - as long as you believe.

Like everyone else, you gotta have faith faith faith…


Quote of the Day:
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” /Rabindranath Tagore

Friday 27 June 2008


Baby is learning to eat.

Isn't she tiny?

Thursday 26 June 2008

How I Shut Down All Emotions- And How They Turned Up Again

I'm going to let you in to the confessional.
Over two years ago. My confession, so I think I can.

Crushed: Father, I said a prayer once. And I think it came true.

Father: Right... What was the prayer?

Crushed: Lord, make me feel nothing. And I think it came true, kind of.

Father: I wouldn't say you feel nothing. That doesn't seem you.

Crushed: No, I feel something. I get up, I get down. I get excited, I get depressed, I get annoyed. That's not what I mean. What I mean is that everything feels dead to my touch. Like I've totally shut myself down. A lot of the time, I really have no idea what I feel, though. Like there is nothing connecting me to anything any more. I feel like I'm the living dead.

I made this prayer shortly after I had left Claire.

I think at this point, I did shut down a large side of my emotional existence. I went to paying for emotions again. Basically, this was always the attraction to me of Ecstasy and Cocaine. You know what the price is. You get every positive feeling that exists, and it's totally under your control. YOU are in total control of EXACTLY how you feel at any given time.
So it's much easier to shut down your natural emotions.

The Love drug and the Power drug.
Designer drugs, are emotions bought off the peg.

The next year was a strange year- ultimately it led to total ruin, but somewhere along the way were signs of a POSSIBILITY I could somehow be redeemed.

Firstly, God decided I didn't need two things screwing my head up. I deserved to stew on the abortion for a bit, but I was granted some closure on Joanna.

I got a letter. And when I opened it, I was shocked to say the least. So shocked I was rolling up twenty pounds notes, before I'd even finished reading.
It was from Joanna.

She was getting engaged it seemed- she was a trainee primary school teacher now- and she just wanted to see how I was.

At the end was an e-mail address.

So I e-mailed her and also included my mobile number.

When she called, I recognised her voice straight away. Soft, warm, slightly hesitant. Always full of a certain anxiety, a slight unsureness of herself. She'd not changed. Got wiser, yes. Calmed down. But she was still the same in so many ways.

I wasn't. She noticed I'd changed. Funny, because you'd have had to have known me really well. Most people I meet even now, that I knew back then say 'You've not changed, not at all. YOU'RE still exactly the same'.

Only the Baker thinks I've changed over the years.
This was several years ago now, and as we shall see I'm not now the person Joanna was on the phone too then. But I wasn't the person she'd shared a bed with either. And Joanna was always incapable of hiding the truth

'Oh, you've changed. I can hear it in your voice. There's a hard edge you never used to have.'

I was honest 'That started after we split up. A lot's happened since. I doubt you'd even like me if you met me now.'

'Don't say that. You must still be that person somehow.'

I don't remember much more of that particular conversation. I remember more of the one we had the following weekend- she rung me while quite drunk.
This bit, was the bit that mattered to me.

Joanna: I haven't told I'm ringing you- it's none of his business.

Crushed: Well, I'd agree.

Joanna: But I do feel guilty. Because you were my first love.

Crushed: And you were mine.

Joanna: But do you think you can love two people? Because I think in a way I'll always love you.

Crushed: Yeah, well, I'll always love you, love you to my grave. I've never loved anyone since, I'll never love again.

Joanna: Don't guilt trip me, Crushed. You make your own decisions.

Crushed: Oh do I? Just like that? OK, we'll say no more about it. It's true, but it doesn't matter, does it? It's not healthy dwelling on it. Would we even fall in love if we met today for the first time? Or were we too young? Hey, I don't know. I'm a bitter twisted Cokehead now, and you sent me off down that path to start with, that's all I know.

Joanna: Well don't be, then.Because I DID love you, and part of me still does.

Anyway, we decided that it probably wasn't best to continue in phone contact, but we would continue to write to eachother.

In some ways, this really did help. Getting to start seeing Joanna as a friend kind of drew a line under a lot of my demons about her. And I felt comfortable still being in love with her. She sent me a passport photo, which I carried around in my wallet. I used it, to remind me. Anytime I was starting to develop feelings for another woman, getting Joanna's picture out and looking at it for a few minutes would always lead me to shake my head and think 'You're not Joanna.'

Most of my letters to her were about clubbing, my music purchases, football, etc. Hers were about her teacher training and her sister's pregnancy.

Yes, she was helping me. Helping me build my barriers up to impregnable levels.

And so things went on.

Until October 2002. October 2002, I met someone I really liked. Lakvinder. I met her at God's Kitchen on the dance floor. In fact it was a wordless meeting, I simply stretched my hand out to hers and took hold of it. It was her eyes. Blue. Turned out they were contact lenses, but the novelty had really stood out to me.

I don't know. Looking back on it, I can see I LET myself fall in love with her- to a certain degree- because it was safe.
Her marriage would be arranged and if she ran off to shack up with a white guy she met in a dance club, from what she said, it sounded like we were in honour killing territory. I could sit there in my flat and discuss with her how we were going to secrete all her stuff back to mine and her family wouldn't be able to find her, but let's be honest, none of that was ever likely to happen. She didn't like the idea of an arranged marriage, but she didn't want to lose her family.

And I always knew that deep down. Or did I?

The decision I made was to buy one last bulk lot of pills- 100 pills, to sort my debts out- and then stop doing so much clubbing, and focus more on Lakvinder.

Ah. Well.
Water under the bridge now.

You know what happened.

With my case going on, I dropped Lakvinder from my life. I also stopped writing to Joanna.

While the case went on, I pretty much just stuck to 'arrangements.'

And yet, here, in this time of my life, I actually saw, for the first time, a kind of glimpse of the girl I really wanted.

She kind of... grew on me.
Someone I worked with. Because she was just nice. Not stunning, not stunning at all. Just nice. A nice person. Lovely smile, not a photo smile, a giggly smile. It wasn't her looks- her nickname was Peppermint Paddy, after the Charlie Brown character.

But one of my colleagues picked up on it, noticed the way I looked at her 'It's not your usual purring look, the look you give when you're mesmerised, it's more a pained look, like it hurts you to look at her. And you don't call her honey. That stands out. You call all women honey, so it stands out when you don't. You make every effort to make her feel you have no interest in her. Which is totally out of character for you.'

Well of course. I gave several excuses to myself 'Not really fair to her with the case going on', but really, the real facts were I still essentially saw looking good on my arm as being the only real attraction of a 'serious' relationship, and at a deeper level, I was just frightened of taking a risk on someone I might actually fall in love with.

Her friend came up to me once and said 'What do you think of Xxxxx?'
I said, I thought she was a good person. Her friend replies 'She is. I just feel sorry for her, because I think she gets unhappy about being single.'
I shrugged 'Well, there's lots of blokes to choose from in this company. She shouldn't have too much trouble.'

Funny isn't it? One of the few women in my life I really did want, and I never even asked her out for a drink.

As I say, water under the bridge. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. I doubt she'd have waited two years for me, and I wouldn't have wanted her to.

When I started off on my holidays, I was seeing a Brazilian chambermaid from the Hilton, who used to tell me lurid tales of the several propositions for sex she received from guests. Seemed to me she did more shagging than cleaning.


Two years is a long time.
And as I said, you miss the sex, but the intimacy more. But you learn to close it down- or I did anyway.
I'd be a liar if I claimed I went all my day releases without popping to a massage parlour, but hey, I'm human.
Twice. And to be fair that's the only time I've ever paid in cash for a sexual service, and given the circumstances, it's not something I'm ashamed of.

It was more when I returned to reality in 2006, that I found a whole world- the world of women- that I was totally scared of reconnecting with.

Basically, I had huge fears that I was a little out of practice. They say it's just like riding a bike, something you never forget. That's what bothered me. Because I had a bike as I kid. But I've not ridden one for so long, I wouldn't dare to now.

Well, it was partly true. It didn't take me long to hook up with someone- admittedly I wasn't aiming high- but let's just say I ensured that during the World Cup I had been waiting so long for, that I had something to do whilst not getting drunk.

And yes, I WAS badly out of practice. I'm not going to get into too many sordid details, but let's just say, I might have forgotten the geography a bit.

For about a year or so, I was a bit like a dog on heat. You don't need to know this bit, you already do.

Anyway, by early 2007, I was starting to come to terms with the obvious;

1. If Crushed is shagging a women, it generally proves that while he might LIKE her, he is confident that there is no danger at all of his actually falling in love with her.

2. Crushed will go to great pains to create safe ways of spending time with people he COULD fall in love with, but is reasonably confident that no romance can ever possibly take place.

3. Crushed is a total slag in some ways, but actually has huge Catholic guilt issues about seeing women he idolises in sexual terms. Or women he feels protective about.

Two situations had kind of proved this. One was that a girl I'd known a while was having relationship problems. I kind of thought she might as well have a fling with me, so I invited her for a drink 'just as friends', but with ulterior motive...

I have to say, that ulterior motive fast disappeared.

By the end of the night, we'd both cried on eachother's shoulders, and I'd lost all interest in her romantically, but gained a friend.

And soon after, I gained a flatmate.

Yes, it's D I'm talking about.

The other episode which was certainly an eye opener, was my brief relationship with an Iranian girl. This actually took place during the life of this blog- right at the start, though you'd have to read closely to realise this. In fact, the chances of me ever stating on this blog that I'm seeing anyone are slim to non-existent. That's one area I WILL always keep private. I do the same in real life, in point of fact.

The problem was something I sussed early on. Two days after we'd starting seeing eachother. Something very crucial about her first sexual experience. And it affected her outlook. She'd been used by a lot of men since, just for sex and it showed in how she thought relationships should be.

When we started sleeping together, I was adamant that initially, it should be in a non-sexual sense. OK, I have done quite a few one night stands, but in relationships, I actually think that sex shouldn't take place for at least a couple of weeks. She took this as a sign I didn't find her attractive. And in fact, she became quite pressuring.
The more she pressured, the more I was put off having sex with her, so the more she thought she was unattractive, it became a vicious circle.

And in the end, I just had to say, I can't do this.

She didn't take it very well.
She kept sending me abusive texts for a month or so. Some were really nasty, in fact.

Of course, as I now realise, the sex- or lack thereof- wasn't the issue. We'd have worked through it, if there was something else to work on. Perhaps a deeper issue was she preferred to spend her evenings watching the TV. I HATE the TV with a vengeance. It really is something you only do out of total boredom, unless it's CSI or football. Or an election. Or maybe a sci-fi/fantasy film.

No, blog and the pub. Let me blog, I'll be finished by half nine, then we go to the pub together.
Always seemed to me to be the best way to spend weekday evenings.

And lastly, and I don't mean this in a nasty way, but intelligent conversation was decidedly lacking. Hell, when we went to see Last King of Scotland, she's never heard of Idi Amin. I think most of you can probably guess the sorts of things I like to talk about.

You'd have thought I'd have learned to avoid Claire type women, wouldn't you?

Seemingly not...

And of course, I still hadn't QUITE got my head round the fact that basically I spend my life in fear of a New Joanna appearing and me collapsing to my knees in adoration.

And here's the funny thing.
I HAVE come to terms with that now.
Through blogging.

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I like to think everything kind of happens for a reason.

Not even quite sure how I came across it. I came across a blog that just mesmerised me. Why? Was it political? Philosophical? No. But it was very well written. Clearly written by an intelligent, thoughtful, emotive and most importantly NICE person. And one who showed their human side to the world. Flawed? Yes, but they admitted it, and in doing so made strengths from those flaws.
She wasn't Joanna. Not a New Joanna. She is herself, not a pale imitation of someone else. But she had that quality, that special quality that Joanna had. That rare ability to turn even her flaws into blessings and virtues. She was pure. No other way to describe it. Not pure as a puritan is pure, but pure in the way Joanna was. Just incapable of being nasty.
I'm really not sure I can quite explain it. But just reading that blog, I had this feeling I'd not had in years.

The story of how I ended up in contact with her is bizarre, convoluted and perhaps it doesn't need going into.

But did it change my life? Yes. Yes, because here I was, protected by distance and so many other factors, yet able to enjoy totally honest conversation with the type of woman that deep down, I see as being the ideal.

And she told me lots of truths about myself. Oddly, she was able to understand my own thought processes and the logic behind a lot of why I do what I do and think what I think, in a way no woman has since Joanna. Excepting D, maybe.
And most important, was how it made me feel. I suspect she had an idea, she's very bright and very good at sussing things out.

The point is, being 100% certain that nothing romantic COULD ever happen, actually meant I didn't have to suppress anything. Free to get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I saw her avatar, without anything in my life being under threat. Free to sit around eagerly awaiting her e-mails, because I COULD actually let myself look forward to receiving them.

I suppose it enabled me to confront my fears.

Or some would say, not really. True, I can have no idea of what this person is like in three dimensional reality. Probably never will, either. But I'm not sure it matters.

What mattered, I think, was that I actually felt more about this person, someone I've never met, and probably never will, than I felt about the vast majority of the women I've been with in real life.
More importantly, I wasn't getting anything out of it. I wasn't responding to an infatuation on her part- there is none. She has a perfectly happy satisfied life on that score, I think. We always kept it on simple friendship terms, because essentially, that IS actually how I see her. A friend who allowed me to privately project certain emotions on to her, but kept that to myself, and as long as I did that, I had a good friend in her.

I thank her for that.
Because in a very real sense, I think she allowed me to escape from a lot of baggage.

Of course she's the type of woman I fear. But I've found a way NOT to be frightened of women like her.

Of course some would say it's not healthy that I'll only allow myself to get close to someone I might actually like when protected by the impossibility of it turning into something.

Maybe there is a fair bit of Mariolatry involved. Only in this case a real live Mary answers the prayers.

Is that enough for me? Maybe.

She started to heal me, and that's what matters. Since last October, I think I've started to be able to FEEL properly in that way again.

I think I'm still pretty fragile.

But I have more faith, I think.
And more importantly, I know now what it is I have faith in.

I believe there are women out there worth loving.

And I've also realised that I'd rather have a woman of the type I've just described as an e-mail buddy-nothing romantic involved, then a real life relationship with the wrong type of woman. I actually find the e-mail friendship I've just described more rewarding, more pleasurable than ANY real life relationship I've had since Joanna.

And I wouldn't be able to have that sort of relationship with that person in the flesh, I don't think. I wouldn't be able to let my barriers down.

I don't know where this leaves me. Right now, I'm happy with things as they stand. It's one of the things I like about blogging.
I do find it far easier to let bloggers in, in a way I can't with real life people, except close friends, friends who were close before 2004 in most cases. There are a few exceptions, well, one, D. I've erected my barriers that high.

There you are. Entry after 2004 is only possible online. Hmmm.

In fact, I'm in IM now with another blogger and I think the conversations we have are way more frank and honest than I'd ever be comfortable having with someone in RL. Again, purely platonic. But I feel safe with them. Trust is something I just can't do in RL.

I don't know.

Right now I don't think I'm QUITE alive again in RL. Not still the living dead, but maybe the living semi-resurrected. I think I'm fully alive as Crushed. And I think Crushed IS bringing real me back to life. I kind of live THROUGH Crushed. We're kind of Siamese twins now. Not sure we'd survive the separation.

Maybe one day someone will get past that huge wall I've erected. Not here on the net, in Real Life.
Or maybe I'll get a dog.

The dog is probably still the more likely option.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

I Am Uncle Crushed!!!!

Baby is here.

Baby was born this morning. Don't ask me how much it weighed, I don't know.

Baby is a girl. Baby HAS been named, I know some of you will be aware this subject has been the topic of debate.
If the baby had been a boy, then there would have been a problem. No consensus at all on that subject.

But the fact it is a girl, has made things easier- there was more agreement there. So Baby has names.

I'm dead chuffed! :)


Baby is six pounds thirteen. That surprises me, Baby being ten days overdue. I was FIVE pounds, and I was a miscarriage that somehow survived...

Yes, some of you already know Baby's name.

Baby carries the middle name I selected as a first name. Baby has an Irish first name too, so I can't complain.

Before new readers might get prickly backs about the deference in name choice shown to me, let me just say, this is MORE than JUST a niece.

Some would say, not even my niece.

Do I share genes with this new life? None.
Is it my niece? Of course.

Is her father my BROTHER?
Of course he is.

Is her mother my SISTER?
Of course she is.

She's my niece. And my god-daughter. And I love that baby to bits.

Fragile like paper.
Tiny, soft, vulnerable. D's face, but what we can see of the hair tells us, The Baker will prove his paternity in her hair.

The Baker and I have just had a few celebration beers. It's just hit him. And to tell you the truth, I'm glad it has. The man is a proud father. I see the tears in his eyes, he loves his daughter.
And so do I.

I already love my adopted niece, love her to bits.

Update Update: Babies are the best things ever. My niece is amazing.

Tuesday 24 June 2008

The Wrong Love- How I Ended up With Claire

Although I DID start that series on science (and have indeed written the next post on it), I thought a break might be due to expand on the last post.

I think maybe it's time to expand a little on my love life history, because maybe, it might prove enlightening.
And hey, it's sordid gossip, so you'll love it!

I'm really not going to give you the full novel treatment. You don't need to know it. But key events, maybe.

First, the fact that I often refer to my first true love, Joanna.
But let's be honest, we're not just talking first. We're talking first, last and ONLY.

She isn't the subject of this post. She's the hole around which the subsequent history of my life on that front was written.

And which twice in my life I ALMOST escaped from. But never grasped that chance properly on either occasion, for reasons which will become apparent.

Let's just start by saying that post-Joanna, I didn't really have what you'd call a love life. Sex life, maybe, love life, no. This continued for almost three years.
During which time my general behaviour was pretty appalling.

Summed up best by this nadir of a line to a woman I was sleeping with 'Was you thinking of coming with us? Only me and (Chimney Sweep) was planning on getting laid, and that's going to be kind of hard with you tagging along'.

This all ended when I met Claire.

When I met Claire, I had been out of University a year. A factory job, a stab at tax consultancy, a few temp jobs.
One of which resulted in a permanent position. For a marketing company. I found I actually enjoyed it. And no one SEEMED to notice I was high half the time. And after a few months, I was advised to apply for a job in Business Development.

This necessitated a kind of transformation. The role involved actually meeting people a fair bit. Out with the long purple hair, the goatee, the black t-shirt depicting Elvis smoking a joint.
In with the look I've had ever since- though in fact I'd had it before a few times. The previous few years had been punctuated by regular transformations, experiments in styles of facial hair, hairstyle, clothing style, etc.

Anyway, my desk faced Claire.
Claire was not my type. Not really. She was due to leave in five weeks to become a college lecturer. She didn't drink, didn't smoke, went to a Unitarian church. She had modelled bridal wear at one point and had been her home town's carnival queen. All these things meant there was a certain enjoyment in flirting with her, but to be honest, I didn't take it too seriously.

More serious, in my eyes, was Megan in Accounts. We'd been to the pub together before- we had the same interests in many ways. Meaning dance culture and all that went with it. She was extremely slender and although not aesthetically perfect, had a lot about her I related to. Only one down side.
Her five year old child.

My new job meant that Megan only worked in the office opposite. And of course, unlike the floor staff, we could smoke when we wanted. So Megan and myself always took our breaks together.
Anyway, I wasn't really paying overmuch attention, or perhaps let's be more honest and just admit that I was being very blase about the whole situation, but in retrospect the two certainly developed a certain competitive dislike for eachother.

There was an added dynamic that my new boss knew Claire outside work and really got on well with her boyfriend. Me, he couldn't stand. He'd had to take me on, because I was the best candidate and while he thought I was good at my job, fact was, we'd met at a barbecue long before I suspected I'd ever work under him, and I was smoking a LOT of Marijuana that night. And getting off with more than one fellow employee.

So my continually flirting with Claire and her biting, was winding him up something rotten.
Claire later told me that while they car shared during the petrol strike he said to her 'I don't want you getting too close to that Crushed. He's a good salesman, good for the department, but he's way beneath you. Love 'em and leave 'em sort, him. And he's into drugs. You leave him to that Megan. She's more his sort. Birds of a feather.'

Anyway, this fatherly advice had the reverse effect. Claire most certainly WASN'T going to leave him to that Megan. Not of course, that I'd picked up on any of this.

After the petrol strike, Claire began to offer me a lift home every night. Even though it wasn't in her direction. So I just got her to drop me at the pub. One day she was mock complaining in the office 'I drop him off at the pub every night, and he never invites me in!'
So I shrugged 'I never stop you coming in. You never said you wanted to. OK, tonight we'll have a drink together'.

It was a strange sort of drink. To be honest, by this point I knew I'd only be working with her for three more weeks, and I still saw the flirting as play flirting. I think I saw it as an opportunity to unwind, find out what my boss thought of me so I could plan my tactics, and lastly, set her clear on a few points.

It turned out she had a poem she wanted to show me. She said she'd been inspired by some of my efforts (I used to write song lyrics in my lunch break). Yes, you've guessed it, it was about love. Something about holding you tight in their arms. I've still got it somewhere.
I won't say I wasn't uncomfortable reading it, I was. It seemed a bit personal. And it seemed hard to believe it was written about her boyfriend of two years, with whom I now knew, they were going through the death throes.

Anyway, I deflected this possible line of conversation, by telling her about Joanna, how I never thought I'd stop loving Joanna, how losing her had made me cynical about the whole thing, and that now, I'd prefer Coke to Love any day- at least Coke couldn't hurt me. I told her what I essentially told all of you in this post.

And she started to cry.

'That's so sad- but so romantic! Oh, I understand, XXX, NOW I understand.'

I remember smiling sadly and thinking 'No you don't. How can you?'

During the next week, the game kind of changed. Even I was starting to notice the puppy dog eyes. Though to be honest, I still wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been.
There was one occasion when I made a rather crude joke and she responded with 'Not with him, I would with you.' and I actually looked up in shock. NOT what I expected from Ms Strait-laced at all.
And I continued to while away much of my lunch hour with Megan.

Anyway, mid week I remember asking some question about her boyfriend and her saying 'I think we're splitting up. I've got feelings for someone else.'
I sucked my pen for a bit. 'Not Andy?'
She looked shocked 'No! Of course not! Tell you what, are we going to the pub again on Friday? I'll tell you then'.

I shrugged 'OK. Don't see why the mystery'.

The reader is probably slightly more on the ball here than I was.

Anyway, on the Friday she brought up the topic again 'Still OK for that drink?'
I slapped my forehead 'Totally forgot. No, I won't be getting a lift tonight, I need to go over to Operations and do some work on this college recruitment campaign. I'll be here till eight.'
'But you said...'
I shrugged 'Work, Claire, work. Another time. It's no biggy, after all. Next week some time, eh?'

I thought nothing of it.
Till she turned up at my door on Sunday.
'I thought we could go for that drink now'.
I was a bit gobsmacked, but grabbed my coat.

Anyway, we sat at the pub and made smalltalk for at least three pints (her on cokes, obviously), before I broached the topic 'Why the urgent rush to drag me out today? Is this about this thing you wanted to talk about? Your secret bit on the side?'
She looked embarrassed 'He's not a bit on the side. In fact I don't think he's interested in me. I think he likes someone else.'

OK. Even I have a good idea what's coming now. But hey, we might as well play this game to it's conclusion. 'Who is he then?', I ask with all the naivety of Baldrick.

Didn't stop my downing what remained of my pint when she answered. Christ. Now what? She looked like she was going to cry. So I just took her hand in mine and stroked it. And smiled at her. To let her know it was going to be OK.

'Let me just grab another pint.'

Whilst I stood at the bar, I watched her huddled up at the table, clearly writhing in embarrassment. She'd blurted her heart out and now she wanted an answer.

What was I going to say when I got back?

I looked at her. And I wanted to put my arms around her and kiss it all better.

I felt responsible.

She left her boyfriend that night.

I often think how life might have panned out, had I opted for Megan.

Four months later, we got engaged.
Two months after that, we got a house together.

I tried, I really did. Gone the Saturday afternoons spent in clouds of pot smoke. In with putting up shelves and walks along canal banks.

I think by the time we got engaged, it had already run its course. Certainly, living together, we had nothing in common. We argued about something most weeks. She continually complained she never had enough time with me and that was the root cause of our arguments. I felt exactly the opposite. Any excuse to stay at the office to avoid going home. And she didn't like me spending time with other people. Jealous of my mates. I used to invent little lies just to get me out of the house, and of course she then thought I was seeing other women, and of course with her continually accusing me of it, eventually I started to.

Thing is, these things are never black and white. Of course I remember the rows, the screaming, her threats to kill herself if I walked out.
But I also remember the fact that we used to go visit National Trust properties most weekends. We both loved history and it brought us together. She always said that the main thing that attracted her to me was when I went into full flow. She loved listening, as I would explain the history of the persecution of Catholics, or rotten boroughs, or the Plantagenet succession.

And I remember the picnics in the country, the spontaneous love making in not-so-secluded places, romantic dinners, our holiday in Devon, etc.

And I remember she aborted my child.

We were together a long time. And it ended very nastily.

And what lay at the root of it?

On her part, infatuation initially, I think. Had she not been so devout and 'prim and proper' in the old fashioned sense of the word, I think she'd just have seen me as a rebound fling, a sampling of someone a little bit darkly fascinating, before she went to find what she was really looking for.
Instead she tried to turn me into what she was looking for.

And on my part? A misplaced sense of duty, maybe. A sense that somehow or other someone was in love with you, and if you COULD try love them back you might as well. Because I really believed I'd never love anyone again like I loved Joanna.

I still dreamed about Joanna, and I know Claire knew I did. Because one day she said she dreamt she caught me in bed with Joanna (even though she had never met Joanna). Well, I had dreamed that night of being in bed with Joanna. It was too much coincidence. I MUST have said her name.

We weren't nice to eachother a lot of the time. Her temper was pretty nasty and at times her grip on my arm resulted in bruising.

But I could be as bad in other ways.

Two points to me sum up our whole relationship, exactly what it ended up being built on.

First, was after she'd had a car accident. A&E had given her tranquilisers to sedate her, but she refused to take them. To calm her down, I took her on the Severn Valley Railway (We lived in Kidderminster then).
It seemed she felt this was honesty day, or rather she didn't because she was pretty much delirious. She always claimed to remember nothing of this day, though I think she did.
It was like talking to someone possessed, but hypnotised. A bit like the Exorcist.

I can remember sitting in the old Nineteen Thirties railway carriage looking out at the scenery when this conversation took place;

Claire: Do you know WHY I hate you?

Crushed: Do enlighten me. I'm fascinated, seriously.

Claire: Because all my boyfriends loved me. All of them. I've only had three, but they all loved me. And I never loved any of them. And they were good people.

Crushed: And I'm not, I suppose. Because I didn't walk into a job my Daddy gave me. Because I'm just some druggie bit of rough you picked up at work?

Claire: That's right. That's what you are. I could do so much better than you.

Crushed: Go on then. I'm not stopping you, am I?

Claire: No. No you're not. That's the point. Thing is, I DO love you, but I don't know why. But one thing I do know, you don't love me. THAT'S why I hate you. For making me love you, when you don't give a damn.

I looked right at her. What did she want from me? Pity? Is what she just said supposed to make me feel good?

I muttered under my breath 'Hurts doesn't it, loving someone'. And Joanna flashed through my mind. Then I looked back at Claire, feeling in my guts I somehow owed her something. And I patted the seat next to me. And over she came. I kissed her forehead and ran my finger along her lips.

The second incident that hammers home to me a huge dynamic of why we stayed together is this story. Another argument in the tiny terrace property we called a house, voices raised, nosy Anne from nextdoor ear glued to the wall no doubt.

It had got the stage where I had my jacket on and was 'Off to the Boar till you sort your head out'.
Off she darts to the bathroom and comes running back in, bottle of sleeping pills in hand. Usually this trick worked- I'd dive towards her, wrestle the bottle out of her hand and in the tustling we'd start embracing and end up kissing. But today I was beyond that.
'Oh, the pill scare again. Come on Claire, you pour most of them down your top. It's not like you actually want to die now, is it? Go on, swallow them. Then ring A& E and tell them, because I'll be in the Boar.'
She winced. Off she runs again, to the kitchen this time. When she returns, she has both hands tightly gripped on the carving knife, the blade touching her windpipe.

I laughed (fake laugh, obviously) 'God, you LOVE the drama, don't you? Go on, I dare you! Go on, do it!'

I watched the expression on her face. There were tears in her eyes. She really was squeezing that blade. My senses returned. She really was that wound up, and she wouldn't back down. If I pushed my hand down on that door handle, she WOULD put that blade through her throat, to prove her point.

I lifted my hand off the door and walked over to her and took the knife from her.

I held her close and we went upstairs.

After it was all over, I really did hate myself. Mainly for the abortion, but also due to the appalling way we'd both treated eachother.

I still think I accrued a lot of negative Karma over that period, and whilst I don't think I deserved things that later happened to me in the strict sense, maybe in a Karma sense I did.

But here's the honest fact. Claire just stands out as the classic example. Because it was such a big thing. Engagement, living together, abortion.

But the fact is, a lot of my relationships since Joanna, have essentially been modelled to the Claire pattern. They happened, not because I loved them, but because they were there. The only other model, has been the 'arrangement', people you see for periods of time with a clear no strings proviso.

And me? I just carried on without thought, carried on regardless.

Twice in my life since this point, I've come across women I genuinely could have loved, I think. Maybe three, if you count Angela- though I think that was actually a rare example of an infatuation on my part.

Blew it in all cases, obviously. Possibly intentionally.

And of course I've only recently come to understand any of this. And oddly, it's only blogging has allowed me to do this- finally face the fact that there ARE women I purposely avoid for a reason.

But I'll come to that.

Monday 23 June 2008

In Answer To Heart of Darkness

Heart and myself had a kind of debate the other day, and since she thought it worthy of writing a post on, I though I'd expand on it.

To be honest, I find myself in broad agreement with much of what she writes, there are only really a few small areas I disagree on.

But this is ultimately because I believe ANY form of love must serve a CONstructive, not a DEstructive purpose.
It cannot be treated in isolation, but only terms of whether it actually achieves anything.

Someone else said something to me recently, which resonated, in fact it's something I've kind of been grasping at for a while, but they said so much better.
'You can love, or be in love, but not always both at the same time.'

And this, of course, is the problem. This is the deadly legacy of the institution of marriage.

Love, yes, love is a good thing. Love is about sacrifice, wanting what's best for the other person- and yes, Heart, feeling protective towards them. It asks for nothing in return.
But don't you feel that for a dog, Heart says?

YES! Not a stray dog, maybe, but YOUR OWN DOG. Fact is, dogs make it easy for us to love them. People try less hard. Dog knows if it gives unconditionally, it gets it back unconditionally. People don't seem to grasp that.

Except we do. We love our children that way- or some of us do. I love my mates that way- and I don't mind saying it, I love them. Of course I do. The close ones. I feel protective towards them, I sacrifice time and money for them and I treat huge areas of my life as essentially, matters that THEY TOO have a right to have a say in. Because of how our lives intertwine.
If I planned on moving, I'd consult them.
If I was thinking of applying for a new job, I'd get all of them to read the terms and contracts.
If I was seeing someone seriously in a romantic context, I'd run her by ALL my close friends, all of them essentially possessing veto powers.

Because what I do with my life affects them. After the years we have spent together, our paths through life will march together to the grave. Anything new in my life, is something new in theirs, and ultimately, I will not do anything with my life, that doesn't meet their approval.
They mean that much to me.

Now of course, the ideal that I THINK Heart is talking about, the TRUE ideal, is a friend of that closeness and quality, with all the rest thrown in. The platonic friendship, plus the intimacy.


Thing is, for a few thousand years we've botched the whole thing. Why?

Infatuation. Fact is, we've got these daft hormones running round and they fool us.

It's this whole idea of 'chemistry'.
Fact is, a man and woman can collide and some 'chemistry' is set off. They think they're soulmates. Think that fate drove them together.
Crap. Yes, you might click immediately. But do you at this point know how?

Because True Love, is platonic at its root. Its based purely on a connection of the mind. Quite obviously, it's much more than that, but WITHOUT the platonic root, it remains, it stays, just an infatuation.
And infatuations wear off. They wear off once the soil washes away, and with no platonic roots beneath, they collapse and die.

Thing is, you can't always tell at the start. The hormones are busy talking. They'll keep talking for a few months or so, by which time, in nature, they've assured successful copulation and the passing on of genes. And then they've served their purpose.

Now this is the reality of why most relationships tend to last that period. It's also the reality round the sheer misery of most working class marriages of the past few hundred years.

Boy meets girl. Boy has tumble with girl in the hayrick. Everybody knows. Boy feels compelled to marry girl. Boy and girl have babies. Boy and girl discover after the novelty of copious amounts of sex has worn off, they have nothing in common.

But are we to blame? No, our genes FOOL us. They WANT the successful copulation. So they just override our logic. They weren't to know that humans would invent marriage for life and tie people into it before they'd discovered if it was lust and infatuation, rather than a genuine platonic unity that they felt.

Quite often these infatuations turn into something nasty- they can't actually stand eachother, but feel they own eachother, so won't let go of the other.

That of course, is the proof it isn't love.
If you truly loved the person you say you love, yes it would hurt if they suddenly turned round and said they loved someone else.

But you'd LET them. That old piece of wisdom 'Do you love them enough to let them go?'

You see my view is, if you TRULY love someone, you strive to be a positive part of their lives in whatever way is best for the other. Without conditions.

Perhaps the true proof of love, is when it is taken away. Do you hate them, or would you rather stay friends, because that keeps you in their lives, in a good way, to still care for and protect them?
Would you still love them for life, even though they've chosen someone else?

Love is a gift, and a gift confers no rights on the giver.

That's love, I think.

True Love is capable of objectivity, it is the ULTIMATE objectivity.
Infatuation is purely subjective.

It's kind of been a dominating thought of mine since last October, when various events happened to effectively force me to decide what my position on all this ACTUALLY is.
And put bluntly it's this.
Were I to collide with someone I DID fall in love with, even if I was pretty certain she felt the same, the chances are, I'd reject it.

There you go.

Wouldn't stop me loving them, just I'd be BETTER able to do that as a friend, than as a lover.
Fact is, accepting their love and making a commitment, is almost certainly a recipe for disaster. Love isn't enough in itself, not to force two people into a situation which would satisfy neither. Which is what it would be.

If I truly loved someone, why would I try to sell them such a shoddy deal? I work, I blog, I go out with my mates. Don't REALLY see much room in there for anything else. That pretty much fills the schedule. Hell, I've not seen my own grandmother for months and she only lives ten minutes away. And that looks like how it'll be for the foreseeable. Quick flings are feasible, but if I really care for someone, I try steer them away from me, in that sense. It couldn't do either me or them any good.

A few weeks ago I was out for a drink with Dizzy, and I admit I'd had a few and was getting all emotional. Because the funny thing is, I do KIND of love Dizzy. And I think she kind of gets it. We flirt at work, but it's only play flirting. As she once said and I smiled in acknowledgement 'If I ever turned round and said 'Yes xxx, come on, let's do it!', you'd run a mile, wouldn't you?'.
Yes, is the honest answer. I like to stroke her hair, I like to hold her hand, sometimes I even want to kiss her, but the idea of having sex with her just seems so WRONG, even the idea would appall me. It would feel like incest. She's a mate. I just want to protect her.

And yet...
Here I was, after eight pints, my hands in hers, tears in my eyes telling her 'If ANYONE. EVER. Hurt you. I'd hunt them down. You know that don't you? Dizzy, if anyone ever hurt you, you mean so much to me. You're good to me, that means a lot. I just want you to know I care, I mean, not like that, but I care, right? I never want anything from you, except for you to know that.'

That's how I feel about her.

I guess if a woman doesn't inspire a certain sense of protective instinct in me, I find her hard to even LIKE, let alone LOVE.

If her man hit her, I'd intervene. If our boss shouted at her, I'd intervene. But I'd never presume to desire her for myself.

And in point of fact, she's not the only woman I feel that about.

I've always looked back on the moment I lost all respect for Claire. You could say, it was the moment that whatever I thought was love for her, just died.

I came home an hour late- I'd been for a drink with work colleagues. We were supposed to be going for a meal. The fact was, the place we were going still served for another hour at least, but Claire wanted to use it as an excuse to bicker. No, she wasn't going out now. Too late. Eight Thirty is too late to go to the Wetherspoons which serves food till ten.
So I just left her to it. I went to the pub.

I was chatting to Erica the cute Lithuanian barmaid. About Claire, obviously. Not in an especially deragotory way, just trying to make some sense of her more illogical mood swings. Erica's opinion was that Claire was way too possessive 'She hastes me, you know? When I come over, she looks death at me if I even come near you. She thinks I'm going to take you away.'
I nodded in agreement, because Claire thought that about all women, one of the features I most dosliked about her.
Anyway, in storms Claire. 'Well? are we going now?'
I looked up 'You should have been reasonable back at half eight. They HAVE stopped serving now. Do you want a drink?'
'NO! I'm not staying here!' She glared at poor Erica.
I shrugged 'Well, I've got a fresh pint.'

Off storms Claire.

Erica leaned forward 'See? See what I mean? You shouldn't let her speak to you that way, she has no respect for you. You really should consider if you want to be with her forever!'

At this point, Claire suddenly reappeared, as if from nowhere. She grabbed me by the arm and said 'WE ARE GOING NOW!'

And poured my pint over Erica 'And that's for you, you cheap foreign tart!'

And as she dragged me out of that pub, all I wanted to do was run back in and comfort Erica.
Claire lost every tender sentiment I had towards her in that instant.
And she never got it back. She couldn't. Because in that instant, Claire DIDN'T need protecting, another woman did. And the whole reason I stayed with Claire so long, was a gut feeling she needed protecting- that without me to calm her down, she'd just have a nervous breakdown.

So to me, yes, a huge part of love is wanting to put someone under your protection.

So in answer to Heart's post, my view is this.
If you love someone you always want what's best for them. That means protecting them, yes.
It means always acting in the way you think are their best interests.

It means that if you can see that their interests- plus those of the wider human community- are best served by you being their lover- then fine.
But if not, you'll instead make sure you are their true and loyal friend for life.

And I'll finish with the clip Heart did :)

Sunday 22 June 2008

Our Generation

What sort of person am I?

I'm a kind of mystery to most of you. Those of you who comment with me via e-mail, or via IM always comment on how different I come across to how I write.

Well of course. Because I'm not the sort of person you'd expect to have a blog.
But I do.

Because I belong to a whole group of people, a whole social phenomenon, the kids of our generation. A subculture grown amongst us Thatcher's children.

You know of us by repute. You don't expect to see us online.
People seeing me in RL, wouldn't suspect I was the type to blog. We're not the sort who find computers interesting.
Yes, but we ARE the sort to love media. And whilst our sole interests in computers ten years ago was that you could connect a playstation to them, now we've noticed the internet.
And hey, we mastered decks, so why not the internet?

I don't know if you've noticed, but the sort of views I hold on matters political and economic represent a substantial subculture of the western world.

Let me tell you who we are.
We are the children of the Yuppies.

You brought us up listening to the soulless values of Capitalism, after Capitalism had forsaken the moral highground.
YOU claimed the moral highground in the sixties, then sold out.
And we grew up listening to you try to justify your sell out.
This justification was called 'Thatcherism'.

And we grew up learning this 'Sell. Just sell. That's the rules. Everything has a price, even consciences.'

THAT was the morality you sold us as children.

And we thought, we'd better find a morality of our own.
And we went out to find it.

We went to university, the device you designed to process us into the crucial organising class to administer the Capitalist system on behalf of its slave drivers. And we paid it lip service. Hey, it didn't matter what we did. You were going to give us those degrees anyway.
So HELL, did we experiment!

By the time we'd graduated we'd excelled your experiments in the sixties.

Difference is, we didn't do what you did.
You protested, then you sold out.

We just think, yeah, you were right on both counts. This system sucks, that's where you were right first time. You can't change it, not right now. You have to accept what it offers you, that's where you were right with the message you sold us as children.

So we sell out, but not like you did. We sell out by day, to live the values you sold out on in our free time.

We wear suits, use PCs and get excited by the euphoric buzz of serving the corporate world by day.
Then we go home and live lives that to most people, are the lives of a subculture.

When we go to parties, we meet our own. They work in both public and private sector, they are usually graduate educated, tax paying people.
The parties are often extreme, by the standards of the moral majority. People meet, take drugs, have sex, listen to music, discuss world politics, philosophy, music, etc.
Kind of like, educated orgies, if you want to adopt the position of the moral majority.
But we're usually rounded people. Rounded in the sense, that down the pub, we'll tend to talk football, music and women. All of which will lead people who meet you in an ordinary setting to assume that in fact, you're just another shallow salesmen, only interested in beer, football and women, who probably has never even READ a book.

You see us everywhere, and you don't realise it. We form most of the salesforce of this country, much of its lower managerial classes, much of its young professional classes.
Most of us vote for one of the main parties. Our political beliefs don't affect how we vote- we see all that in fairly cynical terms. We'll vote for whatever party offers US the best deal. But ultimately, we're sick of the lot of them. We play the game because we have to.
Right now, I think pretty much the whole subculture is behind Cameron.

I wonder if Cameron realises that the overwhelming majority of Cocaine users in this country will probably vote for him? Of course they will. Cocaine is an expensive substance- used essentially by people who can afford to do it. The average Cocaine user wants Brown out.

No, it's the bigger picture that sickens us. It's just we've learned from our parents.
We're sickened by the obvious lies about the war on terror, the execution of Saddam Hussein, the stoking of Islamophobia, the increasing Big Brother policies, the increase in Police powers, persecution of immigrants, invention of a moral majority to justify persecuting subcultures, dumbing down of the mainstream media, pandering to the lowest common denominator, manipulation of our popular will, expecting us to sit around all day wasting our lives moving your assets round for you, when you don't even have the respect to listen to us.

What we say is the you do not give us 'Government of the people, by the people, for the people'.

And you might fool MOST of the population, but you don't fool us.

We don't think your 'democratic franchise' is worth the paper it's written on. WE THINK, WE FEEL, WE LIVE IN A POLICE STATE. Unlike our parents, we aren't naive enough to think we can beat you.
We adopt the Julia approach to you. We don't fight you, we avoid you. We try as hard as we can to live the way we want to IN SPITE of you.

But we do what we can. We talk, we discuss, we share ideas. Exactly what you don't want us doing.

The Rave Scene taught us something. We learned that we all basically felt the same, and we've carried on with that. Just as our parents learned the values they sold out on in the Summer of Love, we learned ours in the vibrant feeling of goodwill in a dance festival crowd.

Follow the trajectory. When the Hippies reached our age, they sold out.
And over the last ten years, they ran the show.

The Blair government was Britain governed by the Hippies, turned Yuppies, turned, well, you decide.
That's what happens when people try to govern by principles they only accepted because they were bribed to do so, then try supplement them with the ones they forgot.

Ethical foreign policy?

So look where OUR generation are in the cycle.
I think we're holding firm.
We haven't sold out, we just render unto Caesar, what is Caesars.

And we're proving we CAN live perfectly viable lives without your beloved nuclear family, or any of that.

I think, I FEEL, our generation are starting to look beyond just the hedonism of our twenties. And look to getting more political. I think there is a general breeze in the air, that we either do something with what we feel, or we might as well just sell out completely. And we don't want to do that. Some time, it WILL be the turn of our generation to take the helm. And when that happens, we want to cut the strings completely with the baggage of the past.

We're READY to change things, when our turn comes.

That's basically it. We're sitting here, millions of us, in the Western World, chatting subversively in pubs, at parties, on the internet, spreading ideas, so that we know what needs to be done.

We didn't make the mistake our parents did.

We still believe.