Download Me

Although I find the idea of downloading an entire brain’s consciousness into a machine for eternal use a little creepy – and pointless because presumably it is only a copy of the consciousness and therefore the individual will actually die and his/her doppelganger will survive. Not the kind of immortality most people look for.

I find it even stranger that AI is scanning people’s emails, social media and online ways and preferences so as to imitate them when that person dies. Happening now in a small way it is gaining ground and means that a year after someone dies you could receive an email from ‘them’.

I don’t know how good this will get but if they can add spontaneity and humour that actually works, millions will sign up for this. Me? I intend to not die in the traditional manner *g*

Where Leaps the Flame

If this poem was an element,
It would be fire –
A million scarlet tongues
Would be its flame
Each hot flicker to proclaim
A martyr’s name.
Not martyrs of the Cross
They are re-born in stone
But martyrs of camps of hell
All unknown, un-named
Shall in this poem
Be crowned with flame
The atoms from each soul
Will fly the unknown tombs
Fire and flame raised from bone
Even beyond eternity –
Free to the outer-rim of space and time –
Sings the martyr’s cause
Now yours and mine.
Each name spelt out from fire
This poem not of desire, but honour
Mercy, love, where leaps the flame.

Shänne Sands

From ‘Moonlight of Words’

The Essential Atheism

There are many reasons for people being agnostic and / or atheist. I actually quite like the Gnostic way of thinking thought it was seen as a heresy by the early Christian church and believers were hunted down and killed. Nice.

But in the main by atheism is heavily reliant upon what religions tell me their god is, because it is obvious such a god cannot exist. That a god may exist in a metaphysical sense cannot be disproven or proven,  but when people start to tell you what god is, that is when their foolishness becomes evident.

If you believe god is all powerful and all good, you are wrong. No all powerful, all good god could make it a principle of nature that life feed upon life, with all the bloodshed, pain, sorrow and death that such a principle necessarily embraces. And this is one of hundreds of flaws in the arguments of those who presume to describe what god is and what god thinks. If you are going to believe in a  god, stop making it into a religion. That is your big mistake.

Drugs

Money is a drug. The whole world is becoming or is, addicted. It gives value to vanity and ego and destroys the need for any talent other than its own increase.

I am wary of drug induced artwork. I see it has a worth but the taking of chemicals to enhance in some way the chemical make-up of one’s own mind seems to me to be artificial. Some say they need to get to the next level to improve their perceptions and focus. This is obviously true but it does not detract from the fact that an artist who reaches those levels without taking these drugs is more in charge of their minds and talent.

So I approach money as I would any other drug. It is dangerous. It takes over the mind, it gives excuses for behaviour, it traps and makes its own demands and it threatens sanity. For surely it is insane to argue that making money it more important that protecting the natural world. Without the natural world we are all dead, without money we simply have to find another way to engage populations in the making of society.

The money drug, like all drugs, becomes a part of the personality, the necessity of taking it an achievement, and ultimately it lies to us. We are always worth more than what any drugs make us.

Strahova Monastery, Prague

The Strahova Monastery in Prague holds a celebrated library. Two rooms filled to the ceiling with books on philosophy and theology. The ceilings are painted, heavily influenced by the Roman tradition, and not well done.

Because I had not booked prior to going, and had no time to gain permission which takes three days to a week, I was not allowed to walk around the library proper but had to look at the rooms from the corded doors. And here I was given the first real visual experience of a library as a pure expression of shapes.

For as long as I have known libraries exist, they have been places to go and only find a book, smell books en masse and enjoy the learning in them which, hypocrite that I am, I can wax lyrical about, knowing I will never know a tenth of it. But here, for all the world I could have been looking at a painting for its brush work rather than at objects. Enjoying perspective an an odd flatness created by staring for a long time.

The shelves were all regimented and in the lines one would expect, except one towards the floor that slightly bent with the weight of the books along it. One small curved line in a forest of straight horizontal ones. The books were vertical strokes of a brush finely worked over with the titles by a careful eye. Above the books, the space between the top of each line of books and the shelf above, were black lines. I thought of geometric, abstract art but they were not uniform.  A library is a Modernist masterpiece.

Book spines of dozens of colours, differing thickness, running deep into the room more like beautiful drapes hanging down and along a wall, than books. Decoration. Here, in a place were books were filled with ideas that are supposed to challenge ones assumptions about almost everything, I was challenged to understand a library in a whole new way. The visual landscape that I was enjoying had nothing to do with knowledge, nothing to do with traditional reading although I was reading, and with my eyes. A library is its own kind of visual expression of a truth – everything we create has its own aesthetic but the aesthetics of everything we create are connected to all our senses. And reason, the place where we deal with the information from our senses, marries them all together with an interpretation that starts off as reality but becomes as we become adults, interpretation. I was no longer assuming this was a library, I was altering my perspective. A library is an artwork of its own.

Humans and Dogs

My dog, a rough collie, has been for many years of her life perfectly happy and very sanguine. In the past two years, for reasons unfathomable, she suddenly will go for another dog with serious intent. Why she chooses the dogs she chooses is hard to define but it has to do with access to me, enclosed spaces and certain times of the day.

I think human beings are much the same. A friend’s daughter befriended in Truro, the county capital, a Syrian refugee family and the people in her road have belittled her, abused her, even attacked her to the point the police have been called for the threats made. It seems strangely easy to make people into attack dogs as if just below the surface the desire to attack is always there.

I have bought a muzzle for my dog for peace of mind and to be used at those times I have learned she is most likely to become a problem. would we had the same for people.

Hugging

Last night I went to see my friend and as I was leaving his six year old daughter made the decision to come up to me in the hallway and hug me goodnight. For the first two years of her life she always hid away from when I visited preferring to be behind her mother’s legs than say hello. I kissed her head and said goodnight. Four weeks ago a friend I had not seen in three years ran from her room and leapt into my arms to say hello.

I always hug my friends in preference to, and sometime with, a kiss on the cheek. Hugs are a closeness children understand often better than adults as they are a bonding of friendship and a recognition of closeness. they are also the social equivalent of a recognition that someone else exists and is important to you.

To open one’s arms to the world is one thing but to wrap someone in your arms is to hold the universe close and show you love life.

The Infinite Divided by the Fantastical

There are an infinite number of worlds and they all exist inside our heads.

The exercise of imagining possible worlds where things can be true that are not true in the world we experience has been a useful philosophical tool. It does expand the range of thoughts and helps to itemise for the library that is our thoughts, the possible reasons why we have the world we have. It is an exercise long superceded by scientific method, if it wasn’t so when Leibniz first discussed it.

But in the world of literature such thoughts have been the mainstay of writers since the beginning. Because every world is actually this world, the forms and conceits that make us think truth and reality are one and the same are only the default positions we take because we are taught to. There are an infinite number of truths and those underlying our experiences have yet to be discovered.

Neo Nazi

The neo-nazi movement in America, colloquially called the alt-right, has learned how to win. Admittedly this time round they got a semi-idiot into the White House but make no mistake, they have his successor lined up and he won’t be an idiot and he will be a threat to the Republic.

Not that the Republic isn’t a threat to itself. The unremitting drive to be all-inclusive and do away with the natural inequality of talent within the human family has lead to the ridiculous fear that drives people into silence about being critical about anything social. Cohesion is destroyed when we cannot ague with each other.

But that aside the neo-nazis do not want in any way to undo the liberal fears, the want to play upon them and use them to their advantage. If liberals don’t actually start to be less inclusive and stand and fight, America will be divided in exactly the way the Confederacy wanted. And the split wont stop there. There is a potential for America to subdivide into several countries. Be aware.

Power

A sour-air hangs over this tower –
Bitter-herbs are brewed with poison as litter-bins
Hour by hour are filled with the dregs of power.
Stings of hatred burn against the people, winning
Only voices, millions endless millions ever lonely
Voices, in history’s pale indifferent winds of no-rejoicing
Only deep black whirlpools suck and spin around a stoney
Joyless humanity trying in desperation to hoist
Their battered souls above their votes, trying to care –
The world’s song is a marching-song against the wise –
Bare are the breasts of dying dreams and where
Skies are storm-torn and cruel, men tell lies –
Beware! Climbing the stairs of this tower –
The staircase narrows, spirals, suffocates by the hour –

 

Shänne Sands

Modern Hotels

There is something about the modern, automated hotel. I thought I had a reservation at Premiere Classe, and rang the bell, the woman who came out just pointed to the machine. It said I didn’t have reservation but could have a room anyway. So I chose, paid and received my key card.

I am not going to complain. I am in France three hours from Calais and my ferry home. I am just going to note the room is tiny and fits three sleepers. The entertainment is the motorway and the digger in the garden outside and my preferred evening is to sit and write this and other things on the free wifi. Which comes at the cost of giving them my email.

I really must start using the use once email services.

I wonder if I will sleep at all tonight.

Loneliness

When my mother told me many years ago I didn’t know what loneliness was I was argumentative as I thought it meant being alone, an I knew how to do that. I knew how to be alone for long periods of time. But being alone can be a choice and the quietness of being alone can be a book to artists.

On 11th I hugged goodbye a friend I had spent two weeks with, cementing our friendship, our love of the arts, and being easy in each others company to the point of long periods of silence. We asked each other questions, tested our views, adventured out of our comfort zone up mountains and I swam in the sea more times than in my whole life.

Watching her walk away to her plane made me realise saying farewell to someone you care for is true loneliness. My mother felt that every time I went away to school. The only thin that lightens this feeling is the knowledge that, all being well, we will hang out with each other again. I have sometimes wondered how many people one can care for in this life. I now know the answers would be the number that doesn’t leave one saying goodbye all the time.

That would be unbearable.

For J B

There is an ambience in my lover’s
Room which even in this stillness feeds my
Imagination, seeds the bed covers
With anticipated motion and lies
The floor with nakedness, enticing sounds
Only our ears hear to reverberate
Around the walls, till energy abounds
And two bodies moist and insatiate
Taste the air, feed on eyelid closeness, cap
The rhythm of the turning earth and turn
In time around the sun like an hour wrapped
In living, which is able to affirm
That souls may kiss and minds like limbs entwine
And time decant like any other wine.

Night Driving

In a right hand drive on Austrian roads is not the easiest thing to do. It is not the most difficult. The most difficult seems to be putting up a tent late at night with only headlamps to light up the pitch and no clue what pole goes where.

The overall image of the tent was more useful that the intimate instructions but even so when a tent comes out the bag in five pieces you know you are in trouble. I really should have done that at home first not when high in the mountains in the rain.

That said, the car was comfortable enough 🙂

For CK

So much of nature loves and loves so much
So much of nature loves and loves so much
May I love you? As the moon moves the sea
Timing tides and seasons without a touch;
As the sun sweeps the earth with the deep, free
Warmth of life; as the clouds bless the breeze to
Give it purpose and seeds seek the rain which
Moistens their growth to flowerhood. If you
Allowed I’d love you with a love as rich.
I’d be another moon, sun, clouds and seed
To your sea, earth, breeze and rain and we would
Love and from our love, a world we would feed
With happiness, if you but said we could.

The world’s turning, like a ballet dancer
Caught in her flight, waiting for your answer.

from The Love Poems of Daniel Nanavati\published by FootSteps Press

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