On ginger nuts

“I want to take a stance ’cause we are not free

And then I thought about it, we are not “we”

Am I on the outside looking in, or am I in the inside looking out?”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (White Privilege II)

These lyrics are dancing at the forefront of my mind, but whether they have any relevance to the following information is yet to be seen.

Hello 2018, I hope you’re nice, although I can never believe that whimsical positivity about a date change can prevail against the historical proof of human weakness and failure. But it’s true, since the new year, I have been assessing many of my fundamental values. This is the start of a list, with no definite end, and an unclear order of priorities –

1. I like tea

2. I like ginger nuts

3. I like dunking ginger nuts in tea

4. Ginger nuts are the best biscuit to dunk in tea

Point number four was contended by an outrageous claim in a family quiz that fig biscuits were in fact superior. This has since been debunked as a fact, and labelled “fake news” by all other parties present.

While on the topic, one measurable lifestyle change is that my controlled intake of four ginger nuts per day has mysteriously been redefined as four ginger nuts per cup of tea. While remaining delicious, this throws in question which of my other strong disciplines will unravel. I’m still committed to refraining from dancing on public transport, for the greater good.

Moving from sustenance to another major aspect of my existence; the arts, and more specifically film. Early on in the year, I realised an over indulgence in martial arts movies was weakening my grip on reality, and also distorting my perception of how the laws of physics actually work. Several brutal thrillers later, a sharp increase in how frequently I checked the doors at night was noted. While there is no scientific record, estimates land at an average of “around ten checks per night, maybe more if the subject were to fully admit his subconscious terror.” A temporary balance has been restored, by only viewing movies rated 12 or below, or with spontaneous singing.

5. Ninjutsu is beyond

6. I am not beyond the control of gravity

7. If the door was locked, and I haven’t unlocked it, it is still locked

8. GET IN BED YOU DAMN FOOL

I wish I could say I’m working towards a logical conclusion, but unfortunately you’re catching my brain at the peak of its processing power, and also its helplessness. All this is the result of an epiphany I had almost two months ago, which was the realisation that a career in music therapy may be the next best step. This gave rise to an unfamiliar element to my life: purpose.

Since the start of my degree, I’ve always felt distinctly uncomfortable in my native environment, meaning I’ve not belonged in the place I’ve spent the most time. So my goal has never been what I’ve been physically doing, but what I’ve been spiritually seeking: a constant, Holyspirit shower.

But now my destination is situated somewhere removed from the immediate present, or his presence. It has physical form, which changes my brain chemistry, and more significantly, the chemistry of my relationship with Jesus. Is it acceptable to find satisfaction in a dream, or is that too far removed from him? It’s the most diabolically metaphorical love triangle imaginable.

Now my life is beginning to resemble a cliche, and my eternal dental floss has just run out after six months of use (I was convinced it was being replenished supernaturally). I’m slowly beginning to question my previous approach to his presence. Was there ever a “me and him”, where there was enough separation for the concept of an “I” without “another”? Or was it always “we”, with his spirit inextricable from my life, regardless of my focus or desires?

“I want to take a stance ’cause we are not free.

And then I thought about it, we are not “we”.

Am I on the outside looking in, or am I in the inside looking out?”

Patterns

Over the past few weeks, I’ve discovered one of my favourite pastimes is finding patterns, something I’m so fond of I can find little time to do anything else. Every experience, thought and feeling I have undergoes rigorous testing and interrogation, in the hope of answering the question: “Why has this happened, to me, right now, and how should I react?”

This enquiry is so inherent in my thought processes, it’s taken me ages to realise that it exists, and also that such analysis is not carried out by every member of our species. Recently, measuring how my future spirituality, career, friendships and relationships should pan, and trying to draw them into a coherent entity has taken up almost all my energy. As this has been mostly internal, it’s been extremely difficult to communicate this externally. How can you tell someone that you’re assessing the fundamental values of everything you hold dear, when even your preferred methods of communication are being thrown into doubt?

The other evening, I asked myself for the first time, “What if there isn’t a pattern?” It’s true, many things that happen to us are meaningless, at least in the sense that they had no positive or negative intent. I don’t believe in a supernatural, micromanaging deity, or people are always trying to exert influence over any other person or situation. The majority of the countless actions and gestures that are enacted each and every moment of every day, are no more than random occurrences.

But such a train of thought can only lead to apathy. However trivial day-to-day life may appear, I want to capture every possible moment of beauty available. The mundane can be constantly surprising. Even though I walk the same route into town every time, I am consistently surprised and overwhelmed by small details: facial expressions, the curves of roads, building aesthetics, and the sun shining through trees.

Conversely, I have also found times of artistic immersion, such as trips to the cinema, and album listening sessions, to be not only enjoyable, but essential. Such periods allow me to realign myself to what is most important. In the same way it’s important not to live in a fairy tail, I don’t want to stop hoping for the perfect ideal.

The world is not corrupt

I’ve spent the last few days visiting home and relatives, trying to fathom if a satisfying existence is possible with intermittent internet connectivity. Still undecided, but heading back to the 4G soup of the north, so shouldn’t suffer any long-term damage.

Visiting my Grandma is always an experience, as she’s now staying in an old people’s home, and suffers from some of the classic issues associated with that stage of life. Don’t worry, this isn’t an emotional splurge of confusion, but rather a heartless examination of the human lifecycle. 

My main struggle with these trips is not having the patience to converse with someone with a few less marbles than average, but dealing with the complete lack of priority the physical realm has in these environments. In these pockets, it’s perfectly regular to sit in a chair all day and do nothing. Apart from contradicting society’s busyness, it also forces me to ask: “Is what I base my life pursuing, beauty, nature and form, worthless?”


Examining the human life cycle, I’ve found it quite symbolic. Starting in purity and simplicity, we grow older, and start overcomplicating and losing touch with the real. But before this gets too out of hand, we regress, forgetting all but a few of these details, and becoming more simplified.

At life’s beginning and end, being over doing is not so much a conscious ordering of priority, but a dictum of nature. Close to the milestones of birth and death, attachment to the physical, individuality and defining character traits seem weak, superceded instead by and intuitive understanding of the spiritual.

The traditional approach to the real-world is therefore to label it as corrupt, inherently evil in some way, as if it distracts from any kind of purity. But I’m convinced that art, nature and music all provide handholds on to intangible truths. It must be possible to process life, and assimilate what happens, in a way that enlightens instead of pollutes. 


Brahms said, “It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.”

Having attained revelation by watching Naruto, listening to Lady Gaga, and starting endlessly at the sea, I can vouch for the fact that these art and physical forms are jot impure, but refer to something eternal. But it’s easy to reject something thoughtlessly because it offends what we think is right; a swear word, or alien concept.

Instead of drowning in an overindulgence of experience, we can assess each one, and hold onto anything they carry that can edify us.