Monday, December 31, 2012

paul sheehan from the herald writes this interesting piece today, thought i'd share it with you seeing it's the end of the year, i think it really is a great piece of writing and nialll furgurson is right on the money, pardon the pun!

The future is accelerating. It is racing towards us faster than ever in our collective lives. How can that be known, you must ask, given that the future hasn't happened yet. It hasn't happened but a long-term pattern of accelerating life-cycles of societies is established.
''This is a deep trend of history,'' writes a futurologist, Michael Lee, in a new book, Knowing Our Future. ''It would be foolish to believe this [deep trend] can be easily reversed … Civilisations have life cycles, too, and their durations are shrinking over time.
''The lifespan of socio-political empires averaged 2000 years for a period of four millennia, but then more than halved with the next 1000 years of history. This sharp decrease in the lifespan of civilisations accelerated yet again in the following 500 years of history, dropping to a little over one-tenth of their average duration in ancient times.''
Lee's study of this deep trend was in part based on the work of Robert Samet, a civil engineer and futurologist who traced the duration of societies over history. In Long-Range Futures Research (2008), he described a striking shrinkage in the longevity of empires and cultures: ''The earliest civilisations between 3500 BC and AD 500 last for an average of 2000 years … In the period from AD 500-1500, the average duration was 500 to 1000 years … since AD 1500 … the average duration has been 200 to 500 years.''
Signs of an accelerating pattern of vulnerability and decline in our own western model of society are offered by the world's most famous economic historian, Professor Niall Ferguson. This year he used the Reith Lectures to chart the elements of decay in the Western civilisation. He gave his lecture series the gloomy and arresting title, The Great Degeneration, just released as a book.
He argues that advanced Western societies are developing sclerosis, manifest in the envelopment of life in bureaucratic and legal red tape. The most advanced economies are also becoming increasingly mendicant societies, evidenced by the unsustainable growth of social welfare spending in the European Union, the United States and, in a longer-term trend, Australia.
Among the telling low-lights offered by The Great Degeneration:
  •   The advanced nations which have created public and private debt larger than their gross domestic products confront a narrow range of options. They must raise the rate of growth above the rate of interest. If they cannot, they must default on a large proportion of public debt. Or wipe out debts via currency depreciation and inflation.
  •   The real rate of structural unemployment is concealed by the mendicant state. In the three years from June 2009 to June 2012, the world's largest economy, the US, created 2.4 million jobs but 3.3 million Americans were awarded disabled worker benefits. ''Unemployment is being concealed - and rendered permanent - in ways all too familiar to Europeans.''
  •   The financial crisis in 2007 had its origins in over-complex regulations not just misguided deregulation.
  •  ''All political systems are likely to succumb to sclerosis, mainly because of rent-seeking activities by organised interest groups.''
  •  The rule of law is increasingly being superseded and displaced by the rule of lawyers.
If this lecture series could be summed up in a single sentence it is this: when a majority of people vote for a living rather than work for a living, democracy, freedom and living standards are all in a lock-step of decline.
Ferguson is also a noted critic of casino capitalism but even his concerns about the emerging dominance of the vast financial derivatives market pale when compared with the details provided in another book published this year, Dark Pools, by a Wall Street Journal reporter, Scott Patterson.
The accelerating cycles of capitalism's creative disruption have reached a new velocity with the basic form known as stock trading. Sixty years ago, the average stock trade involved buying and holding a stock for four years. By 2000, that average holding period had shrunk to eight months. By 2008, it was two months. By 2011, it was 22 seconds. It would be even less now.
Patterson describes the global financial market as ''a worldwide matrix of dazzlingly complex algorithms, interlinked computer hubs the size of football fields, and high-octane trading robots guided by the latest advances in artificial intelligence''.
''With electronic trading, a placeless, faceless, post-modern cyber-market in which computers communicated at warp speed, that physical sense of the market's flow had vanished … Regular investors, of course, had little idea about the massive transfer of wealth that was taking place.''
The transfer of wealth upwards over the past quarter-century is well documented as a byproduct of global capitalism.
Then there is climate change, an encompassing process of accelerating change and disruption. The ideology of manic economic growth, driven by the false wisdom that technology can conquer problems caused by technology, is clearly having a global impact on the environment caused by the reality that 7 billion people now live on the planet and the average person is consuming far more than ever before in history. That this must significantly affect not just the environment but the global climate invokes the most basic and self-evident commonsense.
The world's scientific community has presented a compelling case that the acceleration of global consumption is in turn accelerating the much deeper natural pattern of climate change.
If you feel like life around you is speeding up, especially the cycle of invention to obsolescence, it's not you, it's everyone and everything

Sunday, December 30, 2012

when i was a kid i was sick and had to stay in bed for a week, my mum went to the library and brought me a pile of books to read, i always loved books and reading and this is a very early memory of one of the books that first bewitched me. i was about six or seven and the book was, the hobbit, the original version with the colour plates.
i don't know, i escaped into that book, it was the first time i think a book just opened up and swallowed me up, as i recall.
the strange characters at the beginning all invading poor bilbo's home, the mysterious wise gandalf, it was so funny and quaint and these songs they sung, landscapes just branched from this book, trees were alive, everything had conciousness and most of all it was joyous and funny, but then to gradually to really notice the serious side of the story kicks in, and suddenly bilbo is fighting trolls who are arguing about how to cook dwarfs and there's that terrifying element that creeps in of a mysterious dark force operating somewhere in the world.
i loved the book, i read all of them but stopped at the simirillion, i think i'd done my tolkien dash by then.
i did see the lord of the rings trilogy by peter jackson and i liked them a lot but i always felt the story had jumped ahead of itself and should have started with the hobbit. 
jackson has just released the hobbit, it got really bad reviews  the media said it was to long, to lingering and slow. australian reviews are always out of whack, they seem to follow some political agenda, if the film don't meet the reviewers memetic value then it's trashed. batman rises is a classic case, but i have always found australian reviewers to be way of the mark and when they trash something i usually goo and see it. the film transposition of the hobbit is nothing short of brilliant, i loved it, i absolutely loved this film, for it met all my expectations of how tolkien should be filmed. don't take my word for it, go see it in 3d and make your own mind up, i am so looking forwards to the next in the series because it appears jackson is filming the novel as a trilogy, which is fine by me, the book the hobbit was in three parts originally.

Friday, December 28, 2012

it's going to take a week before my telecommunications kick in, i have infrequent access to the net, phones and world at large, so instead i work on the garden, removing dead things, hacking back at the wild, shaping and taming it into some sort of pleasing aesthetic. this is new for me, gardens, i usually just let them do their own thing, i will find some sort of harmony point, i like the wild trees behind me, i love the knowledge that it's there but in my own garden i need to reflect something of myself.
i use tools i have never even picked up before, hacking, chopping, pruning,cutting things, blades. the garden is filled with leaves and debris, branches and strange red bark peeled away from huge tree limbs and curled up into giant shavings, they are everywhere. 
in the front garden i have to crawl around the pond and clean the pump, cutting away at some roots that are draining the water away, scooping up dead matter from the water surface, carefully making peace with the water dragons that float in the water, just their eyes above the surface peeking out at me curiously. we have an understanding that they can stay and be guardians of the pond as long as they don't bite me or my dog. my dogs not convinced and he watches from a distance. 
the huge palms have lost a number of fronds, they hang caught in the tree stuck up high, so i pull them down, it's an endless task, dragging them out. the heat kicks in, it's back breaking work, i'm covered in sweat and slowly it's beginning to take some sort of shape.
the front garden is more advanced than the back, it's going to require maintained, and the pond needs a professional clean but the back garden may take a few years, i do have a plan, i can't execute it all at once, but i've begun the process. while there are no telecommunications i may as well get a start on this. and when the rain comes again, there's always the rest of my books to put away.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

it's xmas, the rain falls non stop, my home has a leak, i spend the day attempting to stop mt floor flooding, i wonder if the river will burst and flood my home, i wonder why i spend so much time being anxious about fire, outside it just looks wet and waterlogged, the deck is like a water pastel, the skies are black, i place a bucket under the leak and crawl back to bed. i spend the whole day asleep, i get up once to skype a few people, i return to bed, outside the rain hits the pond, i hear it splash as i sink into a dream or two, xmas day is washed away.

Monday, December 24, 2012

the drive these days requires a stretch of highway, massive rocks either side of me, always changing depending on the suns movements, sometimes it's blazing red rock, sometimes white, sometimes brown or green, and there's always the water stretching out, clouds and blue skies, i love this road except for the cars and trucks, night times it's dangerous as super trucks whizz past speeding and rolling, my car gets knocked about in their vortex, i always feel slightly anxious as they zoom past. 
tonight the heat burst open the cloud and storm comes out of the dark, rain falls heavily as we clock 120ks plus, lightning flash thunder clap, it's rendered the skies open, a crack in space, the rock just a dark shadow suddenly reveals surface, portals open and close, i weave in and out of traffic, slowing down to match the rhythm of an internal clock, sometimes i have to slow down and let people overtake me, other times i am a speed freak but my concentration is unbroken, my eyes focused, my mind is everywhere and on the two parallel lines ahead, awareness and some sort of meditation, part hypnotic, i plant my own suggestion. all this rain, it will grow.
heat closed in, oppressive gravity, skin soaked in a layer of viscose slime, just like the moment we crawled from that plasmic soup at that other point on the evolutionary ladder. complex cellular entities forming new organs, for new challenges, the physical form is adaptation, this is what intelligent life does, it adapts, we are not separated from other life forms, for connection is what we are not separation.
i reach out, i stretch across time and space, i reach through meme, i reach though caste i reach through belief, i reach and my fingers p[ass through skin, touching deep into your heart, your soul, bigger, thief, criminal, fool, whore, terrorist, i don't care, you are what you are, but now is the time for letting it go, let it all go, leave your mind, leave it behind, pay no heed, it's all background noise, hope and despair, love and hate, just pinpoints on a map we can't read, it's not the territory, the territory is deed, action, now.
christ was killed by a bunch of guys who didn't know what they were doing, a bunch of kids at skool were killed by the same force, it's not evil, it's us, our desperation, our fear our ignorance. only love will save you, not that wishy washy love that we all want, but that immovable force, the one that stops tanks, the one that bends time, the love is coming.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

smooth transition into new operating systems, space control are set for the heart of the suns, we have full integrity, we have full intent, we are travelling faster than it feels, moving in directions our instruments cannot even comprehend, we are leaving this time space for something slightly more interesting, yeah peace and love baby, peace and harmony, rain forests spurt out information, oceans currents move in mysterious ways. 
we detach from this system, it has no influence, no control, no hold, no method, no guru, there are detractors who say it's not the end.
i tell you, there never was an end, it's cycles, just movement, dimensional shifts are not endings, we just left a global consciousness for a galactic one, next cycle will be universal consciousness, a few hundred years away for most humans but some will get there sooner, some already are, it's located in the heart man, not the mind, the brain or the eyes, the heart.
the thinking mans heart, beats and pumps but it also intuits information.
don't suscribe to the morons in the media cycle who pump out doomsday cult blues, don't subscribe to the idiots who party like it's the last day, don't subscribe to anything you don't feel in your heart.
and if it's closed or shut, then you ain't feeling nothing. 
logic and reason, left hand tools, for the civilisations rise from reality into illusion, we all want something pure and real, it's not just an idea made real, it's not the shape of the building or the layers of paint on canvass, the arrangement of words on paper, it has to be more than numbers, i'd say it's laying in the beauty, for that's divine. you can give a monkey a typewriter and over a million years you may get something, but it won't be driven by a need to meet the divine. but good art, that's what it is, an expression, a plea, a yearning. 
the song block by the church captures this i think, i don't know how or why but there's a power in this song, a healing, it's a strange lyric as steve sings about scenes from the city of sydney, and then the chorus kicks in, everything slows done, stripped down to the simple truth, 'if you hold still, i'll make you beautiful.'
the intent is there, it's beautiful, the song is rich with intention, the guitars have intent, as they rise up into that powerful driving force, the drumming has much intent as they just keep that beat and then with guitars made visible the beat gets louder and louder, pumping through the song and fading out back to the beat, and then we hear tim's graceful simplicity and unpredictability as he once again comes back with all power, weaving this song into form. the effects on the vocals are brilliant, a harmony, it fills the world and then back to the chorus, and again a little space rock touch and blast off we are in some new area now, guitars crash, drums roll and pound, those power chords splice through, chop and some magic lead outro, it's just a perfect song to describe a new reality.

Monday, December 17, 2012

i'm officially out of the loop, news feed gone dead, it filters through, little snippets of tragic humanity, but no political analysis, it's detox, dieta, gotta rid myself of the human condition and find my human condition. 
yeah obama, you get out there and rid the usa of guns and i'll vote for you forever. any society where children are shot at skool is terminally ill, there's no doubt about that. so mr. b, do your thing, don't just talk the talk brother, be a man and stop the fucking rotten gun people. you're the prez man!
but america is a strange place, contradictions abound, you're free to carry a gun cos that's what the second amendment says, but that was written when people were saner, there was no tv or media glamorizing death dealers. these days, it's a glamour industry, girls fall in love with violent men, write letters to mass murders, movies and tv shows pour our murder and violence, but dare to breast feed in public and your fucking controversial and indecent.
yeah i'm detuned, out the loop, the human race is run baby, it's time to grow some herbs and plant some dreams. at least for a few weeks. 

stillness greets me this morning, it hangs in the atmosphere like a blanket of fate, it fills the doors and rooms like an invisible cloud, it does nothing but linger, such is the immovability of stillness. i'm wandering through it, the zen me, each step considered for i want not to disturb its slumber. outside i can hear the morning, the birds zip around, the dog scratching its ear, the river running, the breeze blowing through the gardens. i gaze out through the windows, i gaze at the movement, and feel as though i am in a bubble, in the centre of something, the eye of the hurricane, the tooth of a tiger, something peaceful and protected. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

at the down syndrome disco i am assisting with the hundreds of extra chromosoned people as they wait to load up on beer and food, some of these people have already had far to much to drink but it's xmas and i'm not one to spoil anyone fun. there's the usual hanky panky as the guys chase the girls, the girls shriek and cavort like imps set free from entrapment, it's getting messy, and i attempt to chat up one of the other volunteers  she's got a book so i ask her what she's reading. 
'it's about the people who have near death experiences.'
'wow, i've had a few.'
'oh this author says they are related to the occult and therefore are intrinsicly evil.'
'well that's just wrong' i say feeling nervous that this crazy lady is probably a born again christian and now i'm stuck with her for the whole night. 'well maybe the author never ever had a near death experience, i would have thought that the consideration of life after death is highly scientific, after all energy can't be destroyed only changed.'
she's giving me that blank expression, the one that born again people have. i shake my head, never fails to amaze me how people can reject the idea of reincarnation, it's fucking obvious to me.
anyway's the downs syndrome people are all sitting around waiting for something to happen, they all look happy and joyous, hugging and kissing, shaking hands, it's a good atmosphere but no one is dancing. the dj plays all the classics, springsteen, prince, the rolling stones and then, at the first note of dancing queen, abba these little people are up and doing all the moves, my my, i've never seen anything like it, the place comes alive as disco lights flash and glitter-balls twirl, we are on the abba express, it's abba non stop now, and i feel very left out. why don't i feel this type of joy at the sound of 'waterloo' and 'money money money.' 
am i missing something?
i am the only soul sitting down, even the born again girl is frocking around in her pink dress looking like she's just snorted some pixie dust. i really feel outta place, it's saturday night, i should be at home writing my book, a song, or at least in a coffee shop chatting to a sexy norwegian backpacker with nice eyes and a soft unearthly voice like an angel. these downs syndrome people know how to have a good time, not like me, miserable old fool!

sun going down here, i fall into soft bliss, a remote detachment, i see only the birds, the bees, the trees and the flowers bloom. i hear only the sweet sound of running water and fish jumping, i can see the movement of invisible strings everywhere and it's all perfect, old vishnu and jehovah, old alien from planet xy, the universe itself is filled with wonders and magick and there is man. such a paradoxical entity, struggling with this and wrestling with that, building structures that touch the face of gods, creating music for them, writing works of poems and doing healing, dealing in love and all it's limitless qualities. but there's a strange glitch in the program, don't dispair, it's beyond our control for we can only be masters of our selves, no one else.
and some whacked out kid in a skool steals his mums weapons and shoots up his teachers and some little children. his mum didn't love him, his teachers told him off, his peers may have pushed him, his voices may have goaded him, his heart must have closed up, his ears tuned in to radio death, his eye must be fixed on the cross-hairs and his mind must have snapped. who knows?
all we know is some children who were in skool were killed, some brave teachers saved lives, some were shot, a lot of people died.
the gunboy even shot his mother and then the police shot him.
it's the flip side, it's the stuff of decay and anti life, it's the entropy eating away at the innocent. what does it mean?
it means nothing, it's just bad news, really bad fucking news. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

in their infinite wisdom the universe created beauty, and this is where i reside, the gentle breeze crosses through the trees straight into mission control, the sound of water running and the stillness all add to the tranquility. 
i take a drive with pan, we have to explore the area, i take a left at the x roads, head down a winding road, discover the dog cleaning place and take pan in for a clean, we buy some dog treats and i ask the vet about a place called buddha garden which i heard is someplace i would like. it turns out he owns it, plus he's a reader and reading a book we discuss. i'm impressed by how friendly everyone is up here, so very different from sydney.
the drive to the buddha garden is lovely, a country road on a beautiful day, we pass wineries and farms and when i walk into the gardens, wow, it's balinese influence is gorgeous, immediately i am at home here, i talk to the lady who runs the healing centre, i see some visionary art, i discuss music and plants and drink a perfect coffee. oh yes this is a fantastic place, i'll post pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

i'm walking pan when we get caught up in a huge rainstorm, everything gets wet, we stand by a river that looks ike a monet painting, the skies are black, rain keeps falling, down down. i see my town has it's very own happy high herbs shop, in my local shopping centre, i pop in and say high!
the next day i watch the river roll by, i watch the strange animals swoop into my garden, the sound of natural things is perfect, no humans, no machines, no noise. i moved here primarily because it was quiet and i need some peace, the old place was noisy and loud, it interfered with my thoughts, i require tranquility these days and i find it here.
the pond man comes, he looks at the pond, the big fish is ill, some sort of infection, it will kill him. this makes me sad, i like that big fish i even named him thoreau. staring at the ponds surface i notice lots of babies swimming around, that's good, and a huge water dragon slips in making a splash. 
we check one another out, i tell him he can stay, he grabs an insect that strays to close to his face. pond life is all action.

Monday, December 10, 2012

slowly things fall into place, one small step at a time becomes one giant leap, one leap crosses a lot of ground, i move fast when it comes to moving, yeah just like any time traveler i get there before i leave.
my new place is beginning to look like home, books find their way into their new places, it's slightly chaotic now, no real system anymore, random just appears to work. 
sofas are moved into a reasonable spot where they can be used, my computers are set up and i am online wi-fi enabled, tv works although i'm in new territory with all these strange new channels. the garden gets a soaking from the downpour, it's growing before my eyes, the grass is getting longer, even pan watches bemused, our garden looks good but needs work. inside things find their home, a natural place, i think by the end of the week i will have moved most of my stuff to where it needs to be.
the second book cull is massive, it's quite incredible as i fill up a hockey bag with so many books i can't actually lift them. oh well, i cull without mercy, i'm a culling books now like it was in my blood, it's painless and liberating but i doubt i'll repeat it again.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

two nights, the church play a blistering set filled with classics and obscurities, exquisite interplay between the guitars, some masterful jewels for those with discerning ears, the little bit at the end of 'appalachia' between peter and marty was beautifully executed and the bass and drums as usual with the energy that young bands would kill to possess. down the front the sound gets a little distorted, but i want to be up close, it's been a long time between drinks and i need my fill. the best band in the universe, what else can you say!

second night the band is support to devo and simple minds, they play a short and blistering set of old classics, even the devo and minds people who half fill the ent. cent. are impressed.
devo didn't work for me, i don't like them much, i don't like the devolution concept, i think it's probably to american orientated, a concept which fits the united states but not me personally, i don't like their songs that much, the drummer is a robot, mesmerizing but generally i am bored. 
simple minds, a band i do love are a dinosaur from stadiums and arenas but they drifted from art rock to showmanship and i think something is missing, even though they play a good back catalogue jim kerrs audience participation is not my cup of tea, i think i'd prefer the church as the main band and simple minds as support, that would be justice. however it's a good set list and it's splendid to hear 'love song', 'the american', 'somewhere in summer time', 'promised you a miracle' again.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

exhausted from packing, shifting boxes and driving up and down the coastline, working long hours and dealing with crisis after crises, friends let me down, but there's kindness from strangers, sydney in the middle of some weird heat wave, temperature rising, tempers fray, the mercury boiling, i'm sweating now 24/7, it's just the nature of living in this heat, it's heat that eats you up, burns you, it's more than tropical, it's post tropical, i love it, i like the way i stop eating and just drink cold water, i like the way my sweat is clear and clean, i like the way i shave my face and head, no more beard, i feel free but weighed down none the less. 
the new place is, well it's empty, soon to be full, i have to buy things i never really thought i would, a broom, a hose, a pair of gardening gloves and some fish food for my koi. 
in the blistering sun i stand upon the bridge and feed the fish, they must be hungry, a big mouth surfaces and grabs the food almost before it hits the surface. i watch the fish eat, they seem grateful, tomorrow is the big move, i sit in the empty house enjoying the space and peace, i just want to sleep for a thousand years but there's so much to do, and two church gigs to see this week.