Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Observations in Commerce 25; The Market of Western Civilisation and First-Order Preferences

25.

The Market of Western Civilisation and First-Order Preferences

It has now become very apparent to me that 99% of every available product/commodity that you can purchase, is marketed towards your 'first-order preferences'.
A first-order preference is based on a snap-decision, or impulsive behaviour.

'Following the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, David George points out that only animals consistently act on the basis of their first-order preferences. If an animal wants to eat; it eats.' - Clive Hamilton

What differs man from animal therefore, is man's ability to rationalise between first and second-order preferences (the latter being preferences that we prefer because we have taken the time to rationally deliberate the outcome of choosing such a preference - the majority of cases studied via research show that choosing and acting upon second-order preferences leads to greater, long-term satisfaction from life).

The marketing and advertising giants are fully aware of our weakness as a species to become susceptible to our first-order desires.

The 'Instant-Gratification' age that we currently live in has spawned from man pursuing a path that aims to satisfy his first-oder preferences; a somewhat viscious circle.
I say viscious circle, because a first-order preference is only able to be satisfied temporarily. When the dissatisfaction kicks in, pursuit of more satisfaction seems to be the only answer. The result - 'A gnawing discontent that seems remediable only by having more, although more never satisfies.'

This relentless pursuit for more, is exactly the motto of Western Civilisation.
It is no wonder we are now the fastest we have ever been as a species.
How long until the burnout?



25B. Choice VS Freedom

It's important to understand that more choice doesn't equal more freedom.
'A cat might be able to choose between 6 different types of cat-food, but that does not make it free, it simply means it has a choice.' - Clive Hamilton

As slaves to the system, we are inundated with a choice of varying first-order preferences, none of which are able to make us free, but all of which illude us to think 'because I have so much choice, I must be free.'

'I am only free if I have the self-control, the will and the intellectual capacity to choose my preferences.'- 3 factors which I feel the majority of humans are deluded into believing they already possess.



25C. They are one step ahead


'The danger for people who are unable to control their immediate urges [or 'animal-instincts' or 'reactions to first-order preferences] is that they become subject to manipulation and exploitation'. - Clive Hamilton

The advertisers and marketers know this, for sure.

'The head of planning at a global advertising agency has said "Most people don't have a sense of self-worth. Buying goods makes us feel special and successful. They make us feel valuable in a world that tests our self-worth,".

And that's what Hazardous Pioneers stands for: figuring out your self-worth! Have some self-respect! Learn to distinguish between first and second-order preferences and which ones will benefit you, both physically and spiritually.

It's no surprise that YOU are the only one that can make such decisions. Thus, YOU are responsible for which routes you decide to take.
Anarcho-Spirituality in a nutshell.



25D. 'The Modern Obesity Epidemic and First Order Preferences'

'Most obese people would prefer to be thinner; they prefer to prefer less food. It is the objective of suppliers of junk food to pursuade us to allow our first-order preferences to prevail.' - Clive Hamilton

Important to note;

1. They can only persuade you. Granted, such persuasion can be so strong that it makes one feel as if they are being forced to a decision, but at the end of the day, it is you and only you that makes the choice to succumb to the first-order preferences.

2. You could argue that we are forced into the monetary system, and not persuaded - but upon closer examination, you do have a choice to not participate in the monetary system at all, however the result is a little tricky - leading most to conclude that we are forced to live in this system.


25E. The 3 Factors of Freedom


Self-Control

By giving in and choosing to act upon first-order preferences, you create impulsive behaviour.
With repetition, this becomes compusive behaviour, which undoubtedly forms habits.
These habits then condition you out of the practice of self-control.
It is no wonder why the average human lacks self-control in so many areas of life.


Will

Reduced practice at self-control can resuce one's will power. An example might be someone who eats to the point of obesity from a lack of self-control. As a result, over-time it's often that when the person eventually decides that they want to lose weight, their will power has been weakened so much, that they rarely stick with their weight-loss regime for more than a few weeks, before reverting to their old ways.

Intellectual Capacity
Through the Western Civilisation 'educational'-institutions, it is in my opinion that intellectual capacity has been somewhat shit upon.
Through institutional set-ups, a small group of intellectuals can decide exactly which common syllabus or curriculum should be taught.
It then becomes quite easy to stifle the intellectual capacity of millions of people, by filtering them through institutional 'education', especially if the few at the top decide that the truth be stripped from the selected teachings.

Looking at our present state as a species, it is evident that the above 3 factors are pretty much absent from most psyches.


25F. Temptation and Free-Will


Look up any ancient religious text and search for a parable to depict temptation, and you'll find it.

Whether it be Jesus in the desert or Buddha and the 3 Daughters - there are countless examples of prophet-figures and religious icons being tempted by the 'ways of the world' or 'animal instincts of man' or 'first-order preferences'.

But one thing that all these stories seem to have in common, is that resisting these temptations, and instead going with the second-order preference, would appear to provide a truer sense of satisfaction and meaning to one's life.
It appears that due to man following his first-order preferences more so than his second, he managed to get himself into the mess that he is in today.

'The Fall of Man' I suspect is an explanation of man acting upon his first-order preferences, enough to cause an imbalance between those and his seconds.


Is it worth taking a hint from these ancient spiritual texts and striving to take the 'straight and narrow', second-order path of preferences?

Observations in Commerce 24; Living Life through a screen

24.

Living Life Through A Screen



How much of your system-based life, would you say you have been experiencing through a screen?

When your death-day comes, will you look back and wish that you could have had the real substance of life, instead touching it, feeling it, smelling it and tasting it?

It seems that much of present day, system-based life is experienced through a screen of sorts, whether it be a computer screen, television screen, wind screen etc, thus transforming the experience in question, into a mere event, engaging even fewer of the 5 senses at any one moment.

One asks, 'How much can one really gain from life, when experiencing it through a screen?'

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Obervations in Commerce 23; Protests and the Law of Attraction

OIC 23

Protests and the Law of Attraction



This might piss a few people off.

This observation concludes my current stand on protesting.
And that is that protesting against the system is utterly pointless, if your intended result is gain freedom.

'What you resist persists' - Carl Jung.

And it's true. The more you try to resist and fight the system, the more energy you're feeding the machine - which is exactly what any machine needs - fuel.
Now I'm not advocating acquiescence either. Because apathy and just going along with our system is just as bad in achieving a result of freedom for all.

But if you're looking for a greater standard of living within the system, well, that very concept is a fallacy. How long will a 'greater standard of living' last within an unconscious reality?
In a similar light, if you're trying to collapse the system by fighting it; that's just as futile as acquiescing.
I don't know of any buildings, especially pyramids, that collapsed because people threw enough stones.

I do however, know of plenty of buildings, that have collapsed due to their foundations giving out. In pyramidic terms; removing the corner stone.
The pyramidic nature of our fairytale relies on we, the people, the prop it up - to be the cornerstones.
You take away enough people, the system collapses.
I'm not talking about killing off the general population.
I'm talking about a population that genuinely wants to take responsibility for their own actions.
Pulling out the foundations of the system I think would mean people pulling out of the system. Not people trying to fight it and collapse it.

John Harris mentions pulling out of the system, and from what I have gathered, it is possible. But as I have also figured, doing so is no easy task.
Pulling out of our system has a much greater probability of resulting in freedom, than does throwing rocks at a pyramid, hoping it will fall.

And so my attention is now focused on how one achieves this 'pulling out'. I have no idea how it could work for everybody on the planet, or even how it could work for me just yet. But hath no fear.
As now I am beginning to consult with those consitute themselves as 'the others' in my life, so that we can all come up with some practical ideas for achieving freedom outside of the system.

Obervations in Commerce 22; System-based 'Solutions'

OIC 22.

System-based 'Solutions'


I have now concluded that I approach any theory/remedy for freedom which is based within the system, with a high state of caution.
The very prospect of a 'system-based solution' to acheiving freedom, seems to me to be the epitome of paradox.
Freedom knows no structure, knows no system.
So to claim you have a solution geared towards getting free within the system, wreaks of paradox and disillusion.
This doesn't mean I will ignore your solution though. After all, your theories might just make the time I am in the system a little more bearable - I just won't be taking your message as gospel.

Obervations in Commerce 21; Comfort eating and the Fairytale

OIC 21.

Comfort eating and the Fairytale.

'Eat to live, don't live to eat'

Well, in the system, one's ability to 'live' is somewhat stifled, so eating becomes more of a priority. Is it no wonder why people binge on unhealthy foods that cater towards the egocentric-taste-centre of the brain?
People search for their serotonin release, their sweet-tooth ache relief, because the system doesn't permit one to live freely. If free living were possible, do you think the average person would even give unhealthy food a second thought? Or scrounge desperately for their synthetic dopamine release?

Obervations in Commerce 20; Charities and the Fairytale

OIC 20.


Charities and the Fairytale



There are thousands of charities in our system.
I say that because right now, as I'm being swallowed back in to the system myself, I'm looking around charity shops for my costumes of commerce. And for that, I must say, I am thankful, because charity shops are much cheaper!
However, this observation spawns from the idea that 'have charities really solved anything, (socially)?'
This might be a touchy subject for some, but I personally feel that charities are a great example of 'nursing the wound', but not such a great example of finding what caused the wound in the first place.
Charities have done some great 'wound-nursing' within the system. Working with the homeless populations across the globe has taught me that. And I think for a short time, it can be a healthy thing for one to volunteer their labour for a charity. If anything, to put your own issues into perspective and realise that actually, you haven't got it so bad afterall.
But as a long-term solution to the world's problems, charities, nor donating millions to them, are not going to solve them.

And so, I don't feel it's productive in the long-term, for one to dedicate their energy and attention to the Charity Industry in hope of a global solution.

Obervations in Commerce 19; Alcohol and Responsibility

OIC 19.

Alcohol and Responsibility


Lightbulb moment; today I read 'That's why people get drunk, so they don't have to be responisble for their actions.'
And so it hit me.
No wonder alcohol is just one fine example of a 'soma' for the masses.
Due to the chemical-effects alcohol has on the human body, you the consumer can feel at ease that your actions are no longer your responsibility whilst under the influence.
We live in a fairytale constructed upon the foundations of not taking responsiblity for our actions.
Is it any wonder why so many people drink to get drunk in Western Societies? And why alcohol is socially and legally accepted so widely through civilisations?

Obervations in Commerce 18; Same shit, different place

OIC 18

Same shit, different place.


Worked a security shift the other night - my first night's work in 4 months.
Here in New Zealand, I observed something perhaps quite expected, but important all the same. And that was that the people I met in that job, were exactly the same as the characters of the people I had met on previous jobs back home in the UK. Their outlook on life, their health-conditions, their topics of conversation etc, all the same. Other side the enormous planet, and all the same.
Evidence of civilisation and it's universal homogenising effect on the human race.

Obervations in Commerce 17; Capitalism and the 'You'll grow out of it' Complex

OIC 17

Capitalism and the 'You'll grow out of it' Complex.


'I'm sure you'll grow out of it,' is a phrase I'm sure, we've all heard being said to us when we were kids. Especially with regards to some of our hobbies, passions etc.
This observation came from looking round a musical instrument store the other day, and links Capitalism as being a culprit, when it comes to committing the crime of influencing the 'growing out' of a passion or hobby etc.
I graduated from music school in 2008; a 'Professional Diploma for Drums', apparently.

Looking around this musical instrument store, I realised that it would have been 14 months since I sat behind a drum kit and played a beat.
14 months of not doing anything related towards your passion, would be classed as 'giving it up', or at the very least 'growing out' of it.

But rhythm has never left me since the day I discovered it. So why 14 months? Why do I no longer have the drive to sit behind a drum kit and play away 'til my heart's content and my arse numb?

I am partly to blame in all of it, for sure. After all, it was me that sold my drum kit to pay for an air ticket to Thailand at age 19.
However, I feel now, in hindsight, there has been another force at play that has contributed to my musical disheartening; Capitalism.

$4000 read the price-tag to the beautiful drum kit in front of me. Immediately my mind's eye scaled a short montage together, showing me what exact forms of corporate torture I would have to endure to be able to afford such a beast.
Then came the cymbal rack. $400 here, another $250 there. Not to mention all the hardware the kit would need, the protective casings, the actual ownership of some property and thus capital, to be able to store the whole lot.
Following my mental-montage, the disheartened feelings of deception.

Once I found playing drums was something I couldn't live without doing. Now, buying a drum kit is something I don't think I could live with.

Musical instruments are a category of objects which are some of the finest examples of craftmanship. And it's not the craftmanship that gets to me, after all, that is a form of true self-expression. As is making and playing music.
But where the chain breaks for me, is at the link we know of as Capitalism.
Every instrument in that store was being sold at a horrendous profit. Combined with the soul-selling actions I would have to commit to own one of those beautiful wooden things, I figured I could manage without one.

And it's that attitude of 'I can go without' which I think has been forced on to many of us via Capitalism.

Many of us stop our childhood activities because we're told to, either by authority figures, our social circles or even society in general. We'll call that group 1. Group 2 consists of the few of us that keep up these activites. Whilst doing so, the activities provide some sort of release - a method of venting all of the shit that stores up within us. And usually, to be able to do these activities, we have to sacrifice our time, our lives, so that we can sell our labour and thus our souls - only to try and claw back at our fragmented hearts in our own 'leisure time.'
Group 3 consists of the even fewer numbers of us who have come of age, and still wish to partake in these activities. I would say it is we that have it the hardest.
If we don't do our activity, part of us dies.
If we do get to do our activity, we've had to kill a part of ourselves to do so.
The cause of said duality being Capitalism.
I ask, is that right? Is that spiritually liberating? Is that fair and just?

In my imagination, I think if Capitalism didn't exist, group 1 would reduce in size. People wouldn't shun each other's activities as childish; we'd all be doing them.
Group 2 numbers would increase, because people would realise that they could still do their activities without having to sell their soul.
And group 3 wouldn't even exist, because their wouldn't even be a system from which we felt we would have to break out of.

The presence of Capitalism meant that my outlet, that was once playing drums, has now been converted to another activity. I listen to music daily to get my rhythm-fix, air-drumming furiously to let my body know that my rhythm-centre in my brain is still alive.
But do I think that's fair? Fuck no. There are still plenty of times when the dreams of playing on stage and touring the world with my band enter my head.

However, I feel that right now, the only solution I have, to remain integral to myself, is conversion. By converting my previous outlets into different areas of self-expression, my sanity and dignity can remain somewhat intact.

17b. The Art of Movement and Capitalism

Self-Expression via music isn't the only niche that Capitalism has infiltrated. I'm sure upon closer examination, we could find hundreds of niche activities that have been invaded by the C-word.
However, there is light at the end of that C-shaped tunnel. And that light comes in the form of movement.

One of the many pluses about the art of movement is that it is relative to you and your surroundings. The important part of that sentence is you.
No company, no capitalist agenda, can strip the you from you, not unless you allow it. But when you extend your self-expression into something unconsious, eg a skateboard, a drum stick, even clothes, etc Capitalism has access to those unconsious things. Which then confronts you with the task of assessing how you will go about expressing yourself via an unconcious medium, whilst not giving your soul away to a company. And that is a very tricky thing to be able to do, especially in today's Capitalist-infiltrated world.

Observations in Commerce 16; Student Behaviour - The Global Pattern

OIC 16

Student Behaviour - the Global Pattern

The attitude and general behaviour pattern of students on a night out here in NZ, is exactly the same as back in the UK. It's a little sad really - the modern-day student is altruistic and universal in his activities that are classed as 'having fun' - the term 'homogenised' comes to mind. Of course the irony being that leisure time is a time to get creative, and the student attends a University - an institution that was once classed as 'encouraging Free-Thinking'. One only has to look at the output of the average Western University to realise the falacy in the above statement.
I made this observation during Fresher's Week here in Hamilton, NZ. Not that I was really expecting anything that different from back home, but it was interesting to observe just how the same it all was. And also how self-destructive, too.

16b. Student Health Patterns

Maybe on a health level, universally, it's self-destructive to do what the average student does each average weekend. But perhaps socially, this observation that their behaviour was self-destructive, was really only destructive to me, as it was I that had to put the mask on (much assisted by alcohol, I must admit) that I was actually enjoying my time as an intruder in Freshers' Week. Really, all I could summon to think was how average it all was.
However, for someone that might not see the system for the fallacy that it really is, the social behaviour that is present on a night during Fresher's Week, might just be socially beneficial to them - I mean, 'University social-life' these days, is surely at the top of young people's lists when going through the selection processes in making decisions towards which Uni's to attend?

Observations in Commerce 15; Police and the Global Behaviour Pattern

OIC 15.

Police and the Global Behaviour Pattern

All pigs are behaviourally the same, whatever their physical geographical location. That isn't necessarily all their fault, but more the institution we know the world over as the Police, and the training that they are given.

Observations in Commerce 14; Ignorance and the Law

14. Ignorance and The Law.

It's somewhat cliche, but the system, really, really does depend on people's ignorance of the Law and Legal System to be able to function as it does. And by ignorance, I mean (if you're not a lawyer or have the capital to provide with access to a good one), everyone.
If you're not a lawyer, or have studied the law is as much depth as a practicing lawyer has, then I would have to say you are at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to existing within the system.
If you have a lot of money, then that just keeps the system ticking over, because cash-flow is precisely one of the largest fuels that the system has.
So just because you're loaded, doesn't necessarily mean you're at a complete legal advantage (the average rich man is probably just as ignorant of the law as is the average prole), it just means you're less likely to end up in prison.

14b. Ignorance, The Law and The Proles.

Is it any coincidence at all, that the vast majority of the people I observed in the courthouse today, were people with very little money to their name?

14c. Ignorance, The Law and Education.

This was the realisation of it all, whilst I was sat in the courthouse waiting room, observing everybody around me.
In our fairytale, if you are classed as 'educated', it is supposed to mean that you're less likely to get fucked by the legal system. You're more likely to have 'seen it coming', if you like. Well, that's bullshit.
Technically, I'm classed as 'educated', yet look where I was when I made this observation; in the courthouse. Granted, I committed a 'crime', but it took me to commit a crime for me to realise that although I'm 'educated', I don't know shit about the law!
To conclude, there's a MASSIVE Newspeak factor in play here.
The system manages to tick over because:-
a) There's people with no/little money, driven to commit crimes due to their poverty, and don't know the laws in depth - what we would call 'uneducated' perhaps.
b) There's people who are classed as 'educated', but really know fuck all about the law too, myself included. But, these 'educated' lot are more likely to have some cash. So when shit hits the fan in the courtroom, the courthouse (and the system in general), will benefit financially from the ignorance of the 'educated'. 'Oh, I'll just pay the fine,' he says, dismissively. You can say the courts would benefit more so financially from the 'educated', than they would from the 'uneducated'.
But in reality, the level of (lack of) legal knowledge between the two classes is the same.

14d. The bigger picture; Proles and The Rest

Therefore, to keep the prisons full, you need the uneducated to keep committing crimes and getting caught and prosecuted for those crimes. And you do that by keeping them in poverty stricken conditions.
But to keep the system ticking over financially, you need the 'educated' - the people with the cash but without the legal knowledge.
Thus, keep telling and labeling the 'educated' as such, and they won't want to learn anything more, will they!
Oh, how Orwell really knew his shit.

Observations in Commerce 13; Drugs

OIC 13

Drugs

Drugs seem to be a common ground in the land of conversational topics, especially with most people I meet on the road - specifically ones that I would usually not get along with on any other level of common interest. Are we all really so highly-strung as a species, that we need an external input of chemicals to give us our release? I think so - and you soon find that you're not alone on that front, not alone at all.

Observations in Commerce 12; Money and the Invasion of Privacy

OIC 12

Money and the invasion of Privacy


Money has literally invaded my dreams. A recurring dream of an animal biting you is said to be an explanation of a certain anxiety within you and your subconscious. For me, it has been snakes. The anxiety; cash flow, or lack thereof.
And so, such a fuck up is the cash system, that the fear of not having money, combined with the fear of what one would do when they don't have money, is that apparent that it has worked it's way into a realm which I thought would be immune to such fictional shit - the dreamworld.
Granted, it is a choice whether or not you have anxiety towards cash flow, but it's hard to avert yourself from that choice when you've been conditioned to have such anxious responses for the last 18+ years!

12b. Jobs in the Dreamtime
Money isn't the only fictional invader that's wormed its way into my dreamtime; so has looking for a job! So much so, that I even dreamt one of my relatives had turned their house into a bar, and that I was applying for a job there. That, is rude.

Observations in Commerce 11; Health vs Anxiety

OIC11

Health vs Anxiety - a comparitive study


I would have to conclude on this observation that your level of health and your level of anxiety towards your money situation are pretty much inversely proportional.

As your anxiety towards your financial situation increases, your level of health seems to decrease (stress being the catalyst).
I've found this the past few days with my diet. As soon as I'm taking into account the idea that I have to save as much money as possible, my diet turns away from my original intentions of eating healthily.

It seems that healthy eating, even paying attention to food, is the first thing to be discarded, especially when saving money is at the top of the priority list.
I noticed this from people who were spotting how healthy I was eating during the first couple of days of my arrival in New Zealand. As I write this, it has gone to shit, and this is only a couple of days later. Interestingly enough, no one has commented on my plate of rubbish food, only when it's healthy.

It's interesting how easily food and health are cast aside into the shadow of financial anxieties, yet without proper attention to food and health, your life becomes shortened, and thus the possibility from getting long-lasting satisfaction from the money that you have saved/acquired is also greatly reduced. Oh, the irony.

On a slightly darker note, that's also a great way to keep a population of a mass-civilisation in order - have money in circulation and restrict financial access, so that people's number one priority is getting money. If that's the case, food/health aren't going to be as large of a priority - thus overall health of the population deteriorates. Cue the pharmaceutical and medical industries etc and BOOM! Billions! How convenient!

Observations in Commerce 10; Social awkwardness at a zebra-crossing

OIC 10

Social awkwardness at a zebra-crossing

Next time you stop at a public crossing in a busy town/city centre, just look at everyone around you and observe their body behaviour. Notice any twitching or unsteadiness? Did you feel any awkwardness within yourself? Could this be due to the fact that the pace of modern life had just come to an abrupt halt as you stood there waiting for the lights to change?

Observations in Commerce 9; Western Medicine; a Commodity

OIC 9

Western Medicine; a Commodity

Even your local pharmacist is a salesman!
Good old Western medicine - hand in hand with capitalist structure itself. Medicine is just a product, a commodity - something synthetic assigned value of no actual substance. 'Bullshit' is another word you might use to describe it.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Urban Survival - A Shoplifting Experience

Event of events - A Shoplifting Experience

It’s Wednesday afternoon. T asks him if he wants to join.
T is a fire-protection installer, and his job called him out to the local shopping mall.

‘Sweet,’ he says, ‘I need to try and rack a heart rate monitor. I’ll have a look and see if they’ve got one in K-Mart.’

At the shopping mall, T says they better part ways if he’s racking shit, just in case CCTV sees them together as they enter the store. ‘Fair enough,’ he says, ‘Give me a shout when you’re done.’

And so the mission began – Buddha bag for the rack-ups.

First stop – K-Mart.

No heart rate monitor. Balls. But, they did have a skipping rope and a training vest to tempt him. And tempt they did. No cameras insight.

With pockets filled, he exits the store. Easy.
He smiles at the lady on the way out – ‘tout sweet’ he reckons.

‘What else can I rack, whilst I’m here?’ Unknown to him at the time, this thought process would be his downfall.

He cruised through another few stores, and then, ‘the golden calf’ appeared.
A blue checkered shirt, size – small. Perfect.

He picks up the winner, and a second shirt to not look too mac. Off into the changing room to ‘try them on’ – all good. The shirt fits better than ever, ‘I’m swiping this,’ he thought. And swipe he did. He bites the cardboard tags off of the shirt. He puts the now spare hanger inside the second shirt, ready to put back on the rail. He looks over his shoulder whilst still in the changing room, and sees that there is a camera, looking partly into the shop, partly into the changing room.
‘Shit. There is a camera,’ he realizes, one he didn’t spot upon entering the store.
Thinking nothing of it and not panicking, the shirt went in the bag, the other shirt back on the rail, and away he went, calm and collected.


Signs for the food court appeared – genuinely catching his attention. Not because he was hungry, but because he actually wanted to see for himself what kind of shit food they were trying to sell in this fabricated, neon-lit hell hole.

We all know the saying ‘Curiosity killed the cat.’

He leaves the mall looking for a food court entrance. No luck. So he walks back inside the mall.

Whoops.

As he does, a feller in a white shirt and tie approaches him – ‘Excuse me mate. We’d like you to come with us.’

At this point, he knew. He knew why he was being asked that, that it was all over. Really, this was just the beginning of it all.

Thinking fast, he made the fake-phonecall reception.

‘Sure, no worries,’ he said. ‘Let me just answer this call, hang on.’
He knows that security guards in New Zealand can’t touch him – a useful piece of advice T gave him earlier in the day. He also figured that he’d have to get off the premises as fast as possible – especially with all the racked gear in his Buddha bag. If he went back to the security office, he’d be fucked.


Still ‘on the phone’, he walks through the car park – partly making an attempt to make a fake conversation and the while, trying to figure out just what the fuck he’s going to do!

He gets to the edge of the car park. He sees a grass mound. Then a freeway. And then beyond that, what looks to be…..freedom? He looks down at his feet – he’s wearing bloody flip-flops. Freedom + flip-flops = not possible.

Flip-flops come straight off, then the sprint comes straight on – Up that fucking mound, across the 3 lane freeway, as fast as barefoot on loose gravel will allow.
The chase was on.

After dodging the cars on the freeway, there came a train track. Blocking the track from view of the car-park and shopping mall was a super long line of pine trees – nature’s fence.

He starts bolting it down the train tracks, his heart pounding so hard he can practically taste it in his mouth. ‘Ditch the gear. Ditch the fucking gear!’ is all his mind is telling him. As he runs, he casts the array of rackings into the bushes, slinging them as hard as he can.

The goods were out of his possession – first stage complete. Until his wallet flips up and out of his bag, money sliding out everywhere. ‘Bollocks!’. Hastily collecting his $50 notes, and with no time to count, he bundles the wallet back into his bag, just hoping he picked up every piece of paper worth something.

As he ran further down the tracks, 2 security guards come round to face him at the bottom end! ‘Ah, leave me alone you fuckers!’ he curses out loud. A sharp U-turn shortly follows, only to see one more security guard that had been following him the whole time, somehow pursuing him across the freeway. He looks to his right – golf course. The only thing stopping him going in (and the balls from flying out) is a netted fence.


‘Looking for holes. Looking for holes,’ his brain ticks. He finds one, looks over his shoulder to see the first guard getting much closer. He scales through this miniature hole, just like a British fox during hunting season.

Now he’s in the golf course. He thought he just had to get to the other side of the driving range and he would have been sweet. How wrong he was.


In hindsight, he should have taken a right, and ran into the golf course. It was massive and full of trees. But he didn’t know that at the time, being a foreigner and all. The oldies playing golf were probably enough to put him off – all that sag on show. And it wasn’t like anyone was going to help him anyway – not many people help thieves.

Back over a barb-wire fence and he sees the first guard, again. ‘Relentless. Fucking relentless,’ he gabbers. He realizes it’s time to step this shit up. Not only that, but in that succinct moment of clarity, he calculates that it would be only a matter of mere minutes before the police showed up. Assisting the imminence of a pig road show were the security guards. They were literally the eyes on the scene before the pigs showed up – the whole time radioing through his current location.

He shoves his flip-flops into his bag, the pace picks up. ‘Time to lose these fat fuckers!’

He charges barefoot down a grass alleyway, that looks like it would lead to a park. He was right. A few hundred meters later, he looks over and can still see the triple-trouble security team coming into the park behind him.

He thinks on the move as to what exactly he should do – ‘Hide in someone’s garden,’ comes to mind. As he’s running along, looking at all the gardens backing on to the park, he’s calculating which fence to jump over and which garden to hide in.
But then he realizes – everyone is at home in their houses! All the windows are open, patio doors etc. Not a chance.


At this point, he could hear the sirens coming closer. 2 minutes, tops.
‘Trees,’ he thought. He began looking for one to climb. Whilst he’s searching, he spots a white car in the corner of his eye – it had been following him since the charge into the park. 3 ladies were following him the whole time, laughing at the nature of the situation. Free entertainment no doubt.


As a result, they end up witnessing which tree he decided to climb. They point at him, laugh some more, then appear to drive off. Or so he thought.

Immediately after, a screech is heard. Upon pulling up to the edge of the park, the meat-wagon spots the 3 ladies. He figures they’re asking the ladies where he is. They say he’s in the park, but not specifically where. Piggies pull up, and one rushes out of the passenger door. They are literally right below him, as he’s sitting in the canopy of the tree, gassing for breath. He was pretty annoyed at himself for being so puffed for running the distance that he did. All that was running through his mind at that stage was the scene from ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ where Bourne is training on the beach, running flat out. And how he should really incorporate that training, too.


One pig stays in the car, calling out possible locations from his window. ‘Check over the fences Murray,’ he says. Sitting in the canopy, he can see all of this, thinking ‘Shit, if you only looked up, you would probably see me.’
‘I’m going round the other side,’ says the pig in the car. As the wagon leaves, it comes past the 3 ladies again. Predictably, he asked them for a specific location, probably with the threat of arrest if they failed to comply. And of course, they told him which tree.

It was at that moment he knew the whole showdown of the last ten minutes, was about to come to a very abrupt ending. The pig in the car points up to him sat in the tree. Within a few seconds, the fatties were scaling the tree. They could smell blood. And there was anger in the air – they had been called out, off their arses, for a chase! That meant doing work and they were not happy about it.

Due to their obesity, they were snapping lots of the small branches they were trying to use to haul themselves up to his level. It was quite amusing really, although not registered as such at the time.

‘Fucking spray him!’ Cop 1 shouted. As they climb up to him, he just sat there, deliberately ignorant of their existence, oblivious to their escalation of effort to try to catch him.

After what must have felt like an eternity to the pigs, Cop Z623 pulled out his pepper spray. Obviously his patience had reached the limit, and he was ready for some brutality. Pepper-spray – in- the- face – at the- top- of -a- tree - brutality.

Not a good look.

So he put his hand up and signaled he was ready to come down from the tree, preferably facial features intact.
As soon as he placed his feet back on the grass, the pigs commanded him to be seated on the floor.

The questions followed in a bombardment – ‘What are you stealing? What you doing mate? What’s your name?’ etc etc.

He kept silent. That was the only strategy he knew that might keep him from prison. But, inevitably, that pissed them off a whole lot more.

The cuffs were put on super tight, causing as much of a scene as possible, of course.

• He was marched passed the dog unit that had just arrived, just for intimidation. His arms were tugged around and screwed with.
• His face was slapped around in the car – of course slapped, not punched. Z623 wasn’t an idiot.
• The forearm of Z623 was ground across his face whilst he was seated in the car, still cuffed, defenseless. ‘Very cleverly executed,’ he thought. ‘Prick.’
• He received a text from T whilst he’s in the car, and somehow, whilst cuffed, he managed to open his zip pocket, take out his phone and read the message, then put his phone on silent, all whilst the piggy was driving. Z623 knew he was fidgeting around, but not what with.
• Note – there was no search made upon arrest. He wasn’t even told he was under arrest until he was in the car being carted off to the station. It was a poor execution on the pigs part.

At the station, Z623 boasts to the other officers about how he squealed ‘You’re hurting me officer. You’re hurting me!’ when he marched him to the cop car. Z623 really loved the attention, trying oh so hard. He sat on the bench and smiled to himself as he witnessed all of this. And then he has a light-bulb moment – ‘All cops are the same. Everywhere.’ His realization doesn’t surprise him, so he lets out a smile.

What happened next is somewhat of a saga for ‘Him’. I will abbreviate it as best as possible.

• He is strip searched by Z623, with his back turned to the pig. He wasn’t sure if 623 was try to get a look at his balls from underneath or not. 623 probably got an eyeful; his balls were so sweaty they were like Newton’s cradle.
• Had his mug shot and fingerprints taken at force – regardless of his expression that he did not consent to such proceedings.
• Marched to the cells. He switched his mindset to ‘off’; for sanity’s sake. He wanted to conserve as much energy as possible.
• The cells stank of piss. Covered in swastikas, surprisingly. Not a nice place.
• He would count his breaths, for the next 22 hours. His sanity would remain somewhat intact that way.

In the cells he ran through all the info he had learnt from the AntiTerrorist and the like, as began to get disappointed at the situation it had gotten him into. Then he realized that he was in there for committing a ‘crime’. The info he had learnt was to get you out of a situation where you were truly innocent. He had been stupid, and he figured that out pretty fast.

The next few hours and evening to follow, were not pleasant.

The following day he was taken to court. He really was clueless as to how it all worked.

But, that didn’t matter in a sense. He got off not so bad. The charges were dropped, in exchange for $150 donation to Salvation Army. All he had to do was show the receipt the next day to the judge, and he would be free. Plus a court fee of $130.
$280 later and he was out of there. Free.

His time inside, although brief in literal time, was an eternity with regards to thinking about the fairytale.

‘Reality is an illusion. All be it a persistent one.’ – Einstein.

And it’s true. Our fairytale may be built on an unconscious premise and be fictional in nature.
But ask him how real it was once he was locked inside. He was treated like shit. He was a nothing. He realized that when you’re in there, you are a nobody. Nobody gives a fuck about you, what happens to you, where you end up.

And it was that realization that led him to decide that for now, he has to re-enter the fairytale, keep his head down, and earn cash; just like everyone else.

That decision annoyed him ridiculously, of course, but did he really have a choice? He doesn’t think so.


Oh, and no points for guessing who 'He' is in real life...

Saturday, 6 March 2010

In relation to OIC 8

On a broader perspective, you can see how Western Civilsation is gradually phasing out the true experience, living in the moment.

We're getting faster and faster as a rat race. Our brains constantly chatter to us whenever physical activity ceases, and even when it doesn't, there's still a voice in there somewhere.

I wonder how anyone so caught up in the system can claim to be 'living in the moment' at all.
The system's very set-up opposes the above statement entirely, because if everyone was living in the moment, a system would not be necessary.

Which leads me to announce that I have had to postpone my 'Diaries of Preparing for Death'.

I have been somewhat forced into becoming a temporary part of this system, for reasons I will explain shortly. And what I have found is that I cannot begin to live in the moment whilst being so caught up in it all.
I tried and recorded my first day of the experiment, and found that it was so lame and my day consisted of such menial and monotonous, systematic bullshit, that I was somewhat ashamed of claiming that that would be my effort at living each moment as if it was my last.
I am a little gutted that it's futile to continue for now.

My understanding has led me to see that you need finances to free yourself from the system. Then you can begin to live in the moment. Right now, I'm trying to accumulate those finances so I can get the fuck out.

'Why finances?' I hear you ask. 'There are other ways?'
There are, of course. But some of those require illegal activity. I don't have the money for a good lawyer, and a recent experience clarified that I don't want to spend my short time on this planet in prisons.

That leaves me with one option - Keep your head down, earn cash, and once you have enough, then get out.

Observations in Commerce 8 - Travelling; Event vs Experience

1. Travelling - Event VS Experience

This is a big one, so bare with me..

“So an experience is not simply something which has happened to you. Your state of mind during the experience will determine its lasting value.
I use the term ‘event’ to describe that which happens to us, but has no lasting value.
Experiences are events which have been prepared for and which can be digested and understood. Experiences can change you. Events wash over you and are easily forgotten.
Most of what happens to us each day is in the event category.

(So for those of us who are unprepared, or who do not digest the events of our lives, are there no experiences and do we remain the same?)”
Christopher Ross

Today, life as we know it within civilisation, is of such a fast pace that there is very little time left for digestion.

In fact, on a literal level, vast areas of ill-health can be linked to the intake of bad food resulting in very poor digestion, which ultimately has fatal results.

Metaphorically speaking, the visual events that take place throughout our day aren’t digested, pondered upon, or even given a second thought.
Granted, reflecting upon everything that happens throughout your day would take a great level of discipline, time and clarity of mind. It would probably drive the average person crazy if they even attempted such a task, or more likely, attempted to even find the time to try such a task.
So you could argue that to contemplate the events of your day would be a relatively futile action, if we’re suggesting that the outcome was varying degrees of dementia.
And perhaps letting a certain amount of events go by in our day-to-day life, undigested, is a good thing. Especially if our sanity remains intact.

But where this Observation in Commerce is focused, is upon man’s self-deception, specifically; the man that says he has a collection of ‘experiences’ when in fact, upon closer examination, his collection is merely a stack of events.

I think there lies a real danger in telling oneself that you have had the ‘ultimate collection of experiences’. Why? Because from this, spawns the illusion of self-change.
“So for those of us… who do not digest the events of our lives, are there no experiences and do we remain the same?”
The above would lead me to answer “Yes. There in fact are no experiences and we do remain the same.” Yet we still tell ourselves that we’ve gained a collection of experiences, and that we have changed.
When one makes this habit of convincing oneself of positive self-change, all that can result is a reality constructed from a foundation of disillusion.

And in no other field have I seen such a greater presence of this pathology, than in the field of Travel.

As I write this, I am staying (temporarily, thank God) in a trendy, flashpacker hostel, (all be it the cheapest option) in Auckland, New Zealand. No surprises, the place is full of flashpackers.
Day after day, each flashpacker reels of their list of ‘ultimate experiences’ to me (usually at a very high-speed, record time, I might add).
They do so in such a way, that when they hear themselves retell their stories aloud, it appears as if they show signs of relief. Relief that spawns from self-assurance (albeit misguided) that they really have experienced what it is truly like to travel.
It’s almost like if they don’t tell their story aloud, then it didn’t really happen.

And that led me to ask this – ‘What does the above behaviour suggest about how deep their experience really affected them?’
If repeating the synopsis of the event is the only method one has to make the (not so) magical event come back to life, how on earth can that lead to positive self-change?

A prime catalyst for such a deception, in my opinion, is the Facebook culture we now live in.
I think that Facebook is a vital tool for diluting people’s experiences into mere events which are then disguised collectively as special experiences, under the labels of ‘ultimate’ this, or ‘unforgettable’ that.
(Oh the irony of calling something ‘unforgettable’, only to upload it to a database so that you don’t forget about it and to make others aware of it.)

Hours on end, I would sit in front of Facebook, looking at photos of other people’s events. The layout would suggest that these people were having an incredible lifestyle, full of unforgettable experiences. I would then believe that the way to have such experiences myself, would be to capture them then upload them to the site, as I too would now be one of cool-crew, and perhaps, one day, someone else would be sat in solitude, hoping to be as cool as me.

Which brings me to the accomplice of our Facebook-fuck-up culture; the digital camera.
‘Oi, let me get a picture of that!’ he cries. ‘I can’t wait to put this up on Facebook.’
In this hostel, and throughout our flashpacker community worldwide, these are the conscious and sub-conscious thought processes plaguing their heads.
(I’m all for photography capturing the true moment, the real experience. But photographing events and labelling them to yourself and others as amazing experiences in dangerous.)
And so when one’s head is full of such thought processes, how on earth does one find enough space in their head to digest their event at all? The child who fills his stomach with bland bread and water before a mealtime, has no appetite when they reach the table. No wonder.

This somewhat pathologic process of ‘capturing the moment’ in such a rushed, ADHD manner, can only mean that the ‘moment’ is lost, not captured. Perhaps we should rename this process, ‘Capturing the Showment’.

Taking the above behaviour into account, imagine yourself repeating these actions daily, for a period of time such as a gap-year, or even a 6 month package-tour, and you should be able to predict the negative effects that would result.

Travelling was once an action that created self-change. ‘Nothing happens until something moves’.
It seems now for the most part, however, travelling is a great catalyst in providing the illusion of self-change.

Plenty of people I meet on the road, including friends of mine truly believe that their ‘round the world experience’ had a changing impact on their lives. Yet, to return to their box, and continue life as they had before, can only suggest a hint of disillusion.

Worst of all, returning to their box convinced they are now free. And we all know ‘None are more hopelessly enslaved that those who believe they are free.’
Better to realise one is in a box than to return to one believing in ignorance that it doesn’t exist.

En masse, it doesn’t seem like travelling has helped in making this realisation.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Observations in Commerce 7

7. Unconsciousness and Toilets

You know the unconsciousness of city-life is having an effect on you when: you walk into the hostel’s toilet, the light is already on, you close the door behind you and then for some reason, whilst on autopilot, you turn the light off, not being able to see shit.

Observations in Commerce 6

6. Jobs and Human Potential

Looking around at the various job-filled positions in the fairytale, I notice the actual staff members – the humans.

It appears to me that the man/woman in that position is really being robbed of their full potential. Fully robbed bare.

Instead, in order to survive (i.e. earn money) in this model of civilization, you need to /are forced to fulfill a role in the fantasy, aka a position in commerce, also known as a ‘Job’.

And it’s these jobs that seem to me like they require around 2% of someone’s existing capabilities as a human being – essentially, robbing them bare of their unlimited potential.

My goodness, a system that has figured out how to steal something of abundance.

Now that is sinister.

Observations in Commerce 5

5. Possessions

Having many possessions only tangles you to the fear of losing them.

Attachment and acquisition are two factors which are a burden to my training, and travels in general.

This came about from looking at some advertisements in the city – adverts catering towards the ‘Flashpackers’ – fancy bags and accessories etc, pushing products that are only going to weigh you down, literally.

Oh the irony.

Observations in Commerce 4

4. Money Talks

I noticed today that the number 1 thing on people’s minds (including myself a lot of the time) is MONEY. Straight away when you come to a new location, cash is at the forefront of thoughts.
Not too cool really, because immediately your consciousness shifts to planning out just how you’re going to acquire something synthetic, of no real value whatsoever (which will lead to causing harm for the most part,). One wonders, can thinking of money so much, whether subconsciously or consciously, be of any benefit to one’s health!???

(Since writing this, my cash flow has become minimal, super minimal in fact, with an inversely proportional affect on my ability to forget about cash. Right now, it’s on my mind nearly all the time. Not good.)

Observations in Commerce 3

3. Hostel Living
Auckland, New Zealand – for $140 a week you can live in this hostel. Same location but for your own place, you’re looking at $160 +. I’m thinking about it.

(Good job I didn’t. That hostel and the people in it would have driven me nuts!)

Observations in Commerce 2

2. Caught in the System

Speaking to 3 lads in my hostel today, and whilst conversing, I made a conscious effort to observe their catchment within the system – mainly by their reactions to certain topics and by the way they chose their topics of conversation. What struck out to me the most, was that these boys were ‘travelling’, but couldn’t see through the system, the fairytale, whatsoever.

However, they were pretty good company…for a little while.

Observations in Commerce 1

1. Women, Make-up and Marketing

Even in the hostel where I write this, there are (Surrogates – style) posters with airbrushed chicks on them, smiling at the cameras as if the switch on the lower base of their skulls might be switched off if they didn’t smile that hard.

As I walked around Auckland city centre, it really hit me. Virtually 98% of every chick I looked at was wearing make-up, trying really hard to get their ‘fairytale costume’ correct. Blimey, what an effort.

Recently, walking around and flicking on the TV, I can see how in your face, literally, this Surrogate, plastic-style make-up thing is pushed on women. And what’s funny, is that for the most part, I have been socially conditioned to find that attractive.

Perhaps now, I’m starting to literally see through the fa├žade, and notice that underneath all that shit, these women are suffering.

The concept of painting our identities on to our faces each day seems hilarious, does it not? The concept ‘just be’ seems to be far long gone, and I think the whole make-up thing is one massive culprit in that loss.

Just an observation for the day…

Urban Survival - 'The No Money Man' Video

At last, just when my hope-stash was reaching a bare minimum. Thanks to my bro for sending this to me -

Here is a video of a dude who has refused to spend money for the last year. Watch it, think about it, watch it some more. There's a good bit on the end of the vid with regards to dumpster diving too (note how the reporter is quite shocked - I reckon everyone would be shocked shitless if they came out on a DDive sesh with the HPs!).

I want to write a lot more about this idea of living without money - right now I'm finding myself drifting back in the system, due to various reasons, and sometimes I can't help this fact and am being forced to do so.

More about that later.

For now, watch this shit -