And so we watch and so we learn/With eyes wide for our dreams to yearn

Posts tagged ‘humanity’

Handprints

When I was in Rajasthan I stood in a temple and held my hand against a print on a wall. The village had been abandoned for centuries, lost and forgotten, save for the story of their disappearance, tourists clambered over old stone houses and posed amid the ruins. All we knew now, was that the village was haunted. 

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But I stood. In that temple. With that handprint. It wasn’t the only handprint, but this one was in my reach, close enough that I could stand on tiptoes and press my palm to match hers. I knew it was a ‘hers’. Another woman, just like me. 

But she was a woman of long ago. Who’s language I could not understand, even as today words stood carved on the pillars of that temple. Who’s life and culture differs from mine so greatly it takes whole books of ideas to understand. A woman’s handprint, henna red against sandstone. Bu I had been told, I knew what that means; a woman condemned to die. 

In my world, our world, we tell stories to each other, to explain feelings and ideas and what mere facts can explain. We share lives and fantasies as easily as the sun shares sunlight, as the breeze shares coolness with our vividly alive skin. Just think. To be alive. We weave our stories as immortality, armour against our world of fleeting life, held onto with every passing second. Because without them, we forget. What can we remember, but the stories we spin our lives into? Does this make us more substantial, documenting every moment of our existences, with diaries and momentos, Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. Clinging to our nows and making them forever. 

But we forget. 

We forget that lives happen, lives are lived and loved and lost in the hopes of so many, desperation and joy repeating like the seasons. That a woman once stood where I was, and grieved. Not just for the loss of her husband, but the loss of her life. Having tied all her worth to a mere mortal, her life was to be cut as surely as his was, be it by her jumping or being pushed onto his burning body. Cremation for two, because surely love burns eternal.

The real forever lies not in our tweets and saved MP3 files. It lies in handprints, scattered across the globe. It lies in carvings, not in rooms of wood and stone, but in time. We are as old as the universe, truly, and each moment we breathe merely adds to the compilation of time we barely know ourselves. 

Every inch of our planet is layered with the past, of stories and lives told over and over again. Searching for something greater, never knowing if we’ve found it. Will we find it? Maybe, one day. But until then, we can only feel. We can only remember.

We remember for those long gone, what their worlds would have been, when lives ran so alien to your way of now. They weren’t as different as we imagined. They felt wonder and curiosity and fear and pain and joy, just  the same. They died, just as their forefathers did before them. And as feet tread this well worn path, again and again, baby steps of change incrementing us forward imperceptibly, blinking under the sun, one handprint comes to mind. Red, small, thin. The handprint of a wife without a husband. The handprint of a woman about to die. A piece of humanity amid the wreckage ensued by time…more than what is left for so much more if our past. As obscure as our future and as alien as martian life…and yet, her handprint fitted mine, so perfectly, perfectly…

Elemental Extremities

They say when you’ve reached
The farthest constellations of despair, just breathe.
They say when you’re stuck, improvise.
Get creative, do something new.
There I was, knowing every variation of new.
I thought I could understand it all, before this began.
Life made sense – it did!
I fit in the world.
Live it all now. Grow, change, explore.
The greatest achievements are the ones expected by no-one
I suppose by my rules, that makes us spectacular?
Except, by you
You play by a very different game.
Dedication and sacrifice, focus and discipline.
You knew where you belonged, where you were going.
Achieve, fight, thrive.
Stone when I was air,
Fire when I was water.
Work hard and plan, you say
Smile and laugh, just live, I say.
And I’d warn you, of your pride too proud
You’d chide me in return, my ideals to loud

Between a rock and a hard place
A roaring, clashing chaos, the ocean met land
Swirling water and unforgiving stone
We were always two worlds, fighting to coexist.
I puzzled over you, fought for you
Fought with you, in excess
Too much, hours of time
An avalanche and an onslaught
Clocks struggled to stabilise, as with the rising of the moon
The tides would turn,
The sea would rise to meet stone again
As new ground, old ground
And ever changing terrain was swept over

“Never healthy”, you said
“Don’t care”, I said
If opposites attract, then maybe we are the same?
Magnets of the same polarity
Drawn together inexplicably, pushed apart violently
Too close and yet not at all
Each bound to their tethers
Never truly meeting
Never truly parting
Alien textures of the other, explored with curious fingers
Of words, snatching what we can in each interaction
Taking and giving and sharing and baffling…

You are more than I ever imagined was possible to exist
And you are less tangible than any cloud to sweep my horizon.
I am too different to function in your world,
And you are too defiant to function in mine.
But I know, that one day
You will burn your name onto every stone on your path
That ever lead you, to greatness and power
Just as, in my own way,
I will seek to weather and round the edges of my paved journey of curiosity
Just a hop, skip and a jump away
Along softened stone, my feet will tread
A very different path to yours, this we have always known

So yet,
Even if we never speak again
Even if I never hear your voice, or shake your hand
I think maybe, just maybe
I’ve helped, to smooth out some of your edges
To soften your path, no matter where you go
Just as I know you have helped forge me
And
Your name will always be burnt, on the inside of my skull
Long after you have left my present and future
Each taking a piece of the other with them
Long after the ocean leaves the rocky shore.

Portraying Men on the Big Screen

So after watching this TEDx talk, I may or may not have had a thought:

What if someone made a movie, using a young poc man as the eyes and ears of the audience, as the lens with which we discover the world – and he ends up working with some kickass modern version of the amazonian warriors, or among a society that is unquestionably, powerfully matriarchal. He’d only be permitted to be a part of their ranks because he knows the outside world better than they do/his sister is one of them, of course – so he’s merely a consultant, a passive participant in their crusade. Sure he’ll contribute as much as he can, but the final glory goes to the leaders and warriors and brilliant women in the tribes.

Because why do we even need the camera’s perspective to be the centrepoint of the plot development? Why not portray a revolution or upheaval from a perspective that doesn’t get to see everything?
Why do all the major plot points need to be of Great and Dire Importance – why can’t there be small victories and ordinary life? Because life is important.
Every story is important, your life and mine, don’t you think the adventures of your life, even if you’re never the true centre of a major event, deserves telling? Not everything has to be on a grand scale, not everything has to be world-changing pivotal choices and dramatic music

Character development exists everywhere, we all believe our own existence is significant – we’re not reactive beings, we’re proactive. (Well, mostly) This guy in my movie-idea-thing, he could be fascinated with their culture and way of life, he could spend weeks, months even, getting to know and finally earn the trust of the women who have stood proud beyond the shadows of men, as he is used to in his western/other world. He can be a fully fleshed out character, admirable and determined and human and intricate. He can lust and love even, why not a world where a man used to being alpha is suddenly navigating a social system that do not merit his importance merely by his genes?

And the women, they would be independent and interesting and strong in so many different ways. There’d be the thinkers and the planners, the fighters and the hotheads, the women who just wanted to stay home and look after the little ones, and they’d all be considered important. Because battle strategy requires finesse and intelligence, and the fiery eagerness of the warriors would be quelled by those that valued life and stability, and that matters.

With our guy all amid that! His preconceived notions would all be questioned. And he would challenge their preconceived notions too.

And of course, there would be some sort of battle or climax of development -but he wouldn’t be a major player in it all. Why would he be? He’s a man unfamiliar with their ways. James Cameron’s Avatar was flawed in that respect – making the newcomer the biggest and most important endgame player? And allowing the endgame player to supersede all previously established amazingly skilled participants whom he had learnt from?

Nopenopenopenopenope.

Give me vivid characters who don’t fall to their feet at the arrival of a strange and unfamiliar alpha male, please.

Let him be special because he earnt their trust and respect, by trusting and respecting and learning from them. Let his story be one of a human, a man who sings, who misses his home and shares the stories of his childhood with women who his old world would have labelled as barbarians and sluts. Let his perspective change, let him change the the opinions of theirs.

Let that be the pivotal point of this movie’s plot.
Not the battle. Not the conquest.
Of course he helps where he can with that. But that’s not the point of this story. The point of this story is to highlight a journey, and when the journey ends he is not a legend or a superhero or a battle-scarred victor, but a man, still a man.
And in being so, he will be so much more human, so much more relatable and admirable and real.

Let these kinds of films, shows, stories, be the ones we are nurturing, so that we can rekindle and nurture this way of thinking and living for our entire society. Our values and our gender roles are laid out as clear as day, in the cinematography and scripts of our consumed media. What does that say about us, and how we expect the world to work.

And more importantly, how can we use the platforms to reshape these ideas, towards something better?

Lost & Found

Reaching out to the stars, I am eternally minute
My spirit filling all, the empty ache fully grown
Embracing the universe
Reaching out to my loved ones
Emotional connection without words
Parts of me across the spinning earth, bound by memories, lingering in emotion
Tales told of them and then and what has been – strands of the universe
Spun together, I am the spindle
Tightly wound, insubstantial and strong
Made of all I hold dear, the impressions of scattered stars marked where only I see
Constellations made by my own journey across the universe, invisible to the world
The lives of everything dance in silent symphony
Of stories many will never know

The glimmering of the past flickers across my eyes
Blurring the now with all that was and will be
Destabilizing my presence, I am pulled, a leaf in the storm
Swept up by the winds of time
Screw the orchestra, let me only conduct
To view and witness and carry with fullness
The lives of others, so much greater to feel
Greater to know, such vividness that is to be
Very human, oh so human
Wicked, benign, careless – deep, impromptu, flawed
Take my life, let me only watch!
To grasp the movement outside all keys
Feel the universe in every fibre of my being
Drifting along the strands of time
Finding any and all which glow

The lively life of the living
Has never been so
Alive

Welcome to the World

Welcome
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to
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our
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wonderful,
ef
beautiful
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world.

Equality

Its a big thing these days. Especially with so many countries making the motion to have rights – ones previously ignored and shunned – made legal, open, okay, free. The world needs to be applauded; so much has been improved in the last 100 years. Slavery, sexism, racism, homophobia…we’re getting there. Slowly, surely, with many fumbles and regressions along the way, but it’s undeniable to even the most obstinate. Look around you! As an australian I can say, at least for us, if not the rest of the world – we’re living in a multi-cultural society now, rich with differences that make us better. It would be unthinkable to discriminate against the jewish family next door, or the chinese lady in the shop. Looking around a regular school classroom, I can count israelis, indians, japanese, eastern-europeans among us – italians, latinos, malaysian, pacific islanders, chinese. There’s barely 7 in a class of 27 that would be considerable in the old stereotype of the light-haired golden generation 50 years ago. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Proto-Aryans 😛

It seems so strange at times, how people can dislike or judge another on factors they cannot control. On their skin or background, sexual orientation or their physical or mental health. And looking at that, we should rejoice! Change cannot be in solely the laws and leglislation – but in the mentality of the people. And it is. Our generation has been brought up with the open-ness of the internet, the mindset of change, of acceptance, of freedom and of course people should be allowed to love who they want, why would anyone want to put down the foreign dude? He’s so cool, he speaks 2 languages! Granted, there will always be arseholes and bigots in the world, but screw them! 😀 We are so much more than that, there are so many more of us than them, and we are winning. Need proof? Look at Glee, on of the the most mainstream and popularly consumed television shows on air. The main reason people dislike it is because of the cliched songs, dances and plotlines. Nobody seems to notice the ethnic differences, the sexual differences, the races and beliefs and cohesion of the entire cast. And to that, we say Bravo!

Bravo world, for leading us to this.

Minds; Across the Universe

(A/N: Dug this out from an old draft and thought, what the hell, I’ll post it anyways.)

“So. I’m on this bus trip across southern Patagonia with 20 or so people right now, and aside from the spectacular sights and stuff to see and experience (we haven’t gotten to that part yet) its rather interesting. Just because no one aside from the bus driver is over the age of 30, 95% of us being between 15 – 18 and the same percentage having grown up and lived the majority of their lives on other continents. There’s 2 chicks from Canada, some Kiwi’s, 2 Swede’s, some from Switzerland and Finland, and a whole bunch from Deutschland. I am the only Australian – in fact I haven’t met a fellow countryman since I left it in February, which is…an experience. And all this is fascinating from a socialistic viewpoint, in the way we’ve all grown up in completely different worlds. And yet we’re all together, 3 continents, worlds, lives, united on an alien one. (We’re all exchange students, in case you need pieces put together.) For one thing, they say plenty beforehand how many people you’ll meet and bond with, people in another country, but dude, you sorta assume it’s gonna be the locals they’re referring to. 😛 Because you don’t realize until you’re eagerly chatting with other travelers, how easy it is to connect with other people who are doing the exact same thing as you. Who fly, see the world, have adventures like you do, and know in person how truly fantastic it is too.

The socialistic part I mentioned before though, was about how you may be going along a similar journey in life, but all of our paths are so completely different it’s quite fascinating, for me at least, comparing all the differences. You read about these things, get it in theory, but until you really Get Out There, your mind doesn’t realize there are those who live their lives, childhoods in a world with as little as 4,000 people, or as many as 4 million. Farms and mountains and israel and moose & penguins & bears & whales & koalas being commonplace – the bare environment affects a personality more than you’d think. Especially when said environment is completely alien to the environment theyre currently in. For many of us, seeing the wide glittering blue ocean after 4-9 months, living in what is about as hilly and dry and as inland can we get, was quite an emotional experience. This is when we start to really sympathize and understand the lores and poems of our forefathers, when they spoke of their love for their country, the lands and landscape of their home.

But I’ve rambled. What the main idea of this was more about the culture, and how much influence you don’t even realize is there. You don’t see these things when you grow up in the same 100 sq kilometers all your life, everyone has the same influences and life habits. That’s great, but we need a wider scope for comparison. Many of the things that define you, haven’t even been realized consciously. The food, the manners and habits that are polite or expected, the holidays, the languages spoken, the immigration rates, the music and brands common…your family and lifestyle is one of the huge and yes most important but, like I said before, your environment and the world you adapted to has adapted you to fit it, quite subtly and deeply.

My case and point sit in the seats of this double decker bus around me. (To those who are a part of this trip and read this, I honestly don’t mean to offend I’m taking a purely intellectual and detached viewpoint here.) There’s over a dozen of us and it’s funny how patterns follow unconsciously in these social groups.
To start with, clearly those who are of the same country have a bond immediately. Even if it’s as far apart as east and west coast, or even if they’re completely different types of people, there are some things which can only be known or appreciated by those in your home country. And naturally languages too, the german and austrian and swiss have a fantastic time talking in very fast German to each other. [Icht ferurun nicht – I understand nothing] 😛 But it’s more than that, subtler and deeper – beyond countries and languages. Because the Canadian chicks get on great with the Kiwi’s and no matter how much the South African girl had laughs comparing the similarities in languages with the Germans, she and moi the Aussie chatted so much more. There was a Brazilian girl and a girl from New Zealand who became incredibly close friends in a short amount of time. These are entirely different continents, far and away from each other, but something in the similarities draws them together, isn’t that interesting? Because then you get a girl from Montana, USA, who has an entirely different way of being to the girls just kilometers above the border, and then there’s the differences in the French and the Italian and English, the Indian and Chinese and Russian. Haven’t gotten them all in the same room together though… 😛 This is why its extremely difficult bordering-on-illegal to experiment on people, right?

I do hope you’ve seen some patterns in my musings on human nature, to do with how interesting patterns form, how we’re unconsciously drawn to people like ourselves in ways, how even sharing an ocean or common immigration patterns can make another foreigner feel closer to you. Obviously there’s buckloads behind the personality and presentation – a particularly funny guy from Sweden laughs loads with the Canadian-French girl. So it’s a mix really, of minds and worlds and such subtle influences it’s hard to see where patterns end and imagination begins 😛 But searching and trying to figure out why and how and more, oh isn’t it fascinating? Humans never change but, why do we, there’s already so many possibilities and intricacies in the variation we have!

Afterthoughts: University is going to be a killer
😛 I could study this and half a dozen other subjects that are equally as fascinating (anthropology, languages, physics, music, biology, engineering) for the rest of my life in bliss. Hey, this is my blog, I am allowed to express as much lifescience as I like 😛 Sure it could be a type of diary about every day things, but I’ve already got 4 of those that I’ve written in!”