The golden squid relinquishes the stranglehold of a thousand sunsets!

“The golden squid relinquishes the stranglehold of a thousand sunsets with the birth of one lonely star!”
I like motivational quotes.
Actually, no! Occasionally I love them.
The wordplay— Clever imagery and a few thought-provoking snippets can be enjoyable!
But I often deconstruct them as well.
I’ve seen thunderclouds that transformed into downright ugly beasts before they were swept away by cyclonic winds.
None of them had the chance to be turned into cute and inspirational fluffy “silver-lined” analogies for imminent good fortune!

How are quotes working for you in real life?
Just when you thought it was safe to cross the street a Hollywood-styled typhoon hits but you’re prepared!
You have a quote!
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Unfortunately, the storm doesn’t care about your quote and you’ll have time to reflect on the wise words while you’re erased from existence.
I’m guessing you’re not going to take a defensive stance and mouth off to the storm.
In all probability, you’ll run away or start praying!
Are “words of wisdom” therefore worthless?
Of course not!
Quotes can be inspiring though— They can kick you in the gut or prod you to try a different approach to thinking.
Quotes and things from self-help-motivational books can be quite entertaining if nothing else?
But I guess the main idea here is that inspirational words are as useless as vapid insults if they don’t become catalysts for action.

Forge these self-help snippets of wisdom into a proper sword and learn to wield it— Then it becomes valuable.
The trick is to make the words part of your armor.
You can’t search for the correct weapons during the fight— You should already have something in hand.
Words and wisdom are the same!
You need and understand that stuff before you go into battle.
If you’ve not assimilated “words as weapons” into your very fiber you can’t go scuttling about and anxiously searching for the “right thing to say” when push comes to shove!
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When does living “start?”

“Wait until you reach my age!”
I guess I’ll need to wait then? Because there’s no other way in which you’re going to divulge the secrets of the universe you’ve amassed by living a longer time than me?

“Aging” does imply the potential for constructing a holistic view of the universe by mere virtue of having access to more information and the ability to see trends.
But what if you read the same book for 30 years?
Is “time” the only prerequisite for arriving at the temple that houses the holy grail called “wisdom?”

A discussion about the “validity” of teenage love sparked these thoughts about youngsters “not always knowing anything” about life.
Does the fire burn any less if it only consumes you partially?
Can we claim to understand the fire within any emotions that aren’t our own?
We’re quick to dismiss the vapid emotions and experiences of youth, but yet we adhere to religious scriptures that extol the virtues of seeing life through the eyes of a child.
What if the “wisdom” we so easily ascribe to our “well-lived” demeanor happens to be nothing more than filters that obscure the way life was meant to be experienced.
Our cynicism, complacency, hurt, jaded righteousness and tired souls may not be the fruits of wisdom, but merely the results of fruitless repetition.

So when does “living” start?
Is it the first breath we take?
Is living only legitimate once we’ve reached that arbitrary yet mythical and mystical milestone set by someone else— “Wait until you’ve reached my age!”

The opening notes of a song may not be representative of the epic middle part of the same song.
And the closing credits may not be indicative of what a movie was about.
Any age carries the potential for acquiring wisdom, even if only within a context that others could never understand.
I believe each perceived “stage” of a life has meaning.

I’ve read thin books that contained vivid imagery.
Even though the plot was often equally wafer-thin, the excruciating and beautifully-conveyed honesty made up for lack of bulk.

I recently reached the “age” someone “warned” me about 20 years ago.
And I’m still waiting for a revelation that will crack open the sky with incandescent pearls of wisdom.
But truth be told, I don’t give much thought to what I was supposed to be “waiting” for.
Life is happening right now, this very minute, and so is the truth and wisdom we might choose to notice or ignore.

Do you have “free will” or do you simply like monster trucks?

Slap your face!
If it hurts, then you’re rooted in reality.
Or not!
Because these days all reality is subjective and everything is a construct of our imagination and our experiences are merely chemical reactions and we’re plugged into The Matrix and life is meaningless.
Maybe all of that is true!
But whoever slapped my face made it hurt!
Was it me, or was it a temporary manifestation of my other self from a parallel dimension?
Living is tough these days, it’s hard to separate reality from imagination.

And then along comes the Free Will debate as well, lumbering forward like the “Higher Education” Monster Truck!
I don’t think it serves a purpose, but it is entertaining.
It’s a big thing you know! We need to take notice!
It makes a big noise and can crush stuff, but does it serve a purpose?
Don’t know?
You can decide.

Let’s suppose we have no free will.
We do stuff automatically.
Our lives are run by scripted algorithms and predetermined chemical whatnots and thingamabobs.
I’m not a scientist, but that’s apparent from my dismissive attitude towards the “latest studies” about free will.
Because someone studies something the findings have to be true?
When stuff is written in a book it’s also true!
Quoting someone gives you authority to be a guru yourself?

I’m not a complete savage though.
Many scientific advances are overwhelmingly brilliant.
And I can acknowledge that.
But something about this “we don’t have free will” debate seems a tad off.
A few random cool and great people I admire now spring to mind.
Leonardo, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Rembrand, Hendrix, Frank Lloyd Wright, Asimov, Einstein, Turing, Madonna, Hedy Lamarr…
And a thousand others as well— Far too many to mention!

If “they,” those people were merely automated scripts responding to external prompts, chemical stimuli, and whatever else, then I’ll be damned, I want the upgrade to my software!
I want to be able to “automatically” do what they did!

Even If I’m only a delusional creature on “autopilot” I want to be able to build a ship I can pilot to Mars and invent the perpetual motion machine!

[Photo: Owned by]

The courage to draw a line!

Matthew dropped by earlier this morning.
He told me that he had forgotten how to draw.
I made us some coffee.
But I knew he would’ve preferred a beer.
A friend would’ve offered him a beer.
But then again we weren’t really friends.

He said he didn’t have the courage to even draw  lines anymore.
I knew what it was all about.
His stories of being out among the stars and looking for traces of his footprints on the moon meant that he felt his universe was broken again.
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The Dictator and the DJ. Thoughts about power!

My childhood synonym for “power” was “Superman.”
The red tights and cape didn’t really inspire me as much as the ability to lift a mountain with
one hand while holding Lois Lane with the other.
At least Superman wasn’t only a muscle-bound knucklehead.
Many of the stories pertinently emphasized his superior alien logic.

I often think that society teaches us that power lies within the ability to generate explosive force.
Movies and stories about powerful beings feature lots of action and pyrotechnics.
That is definitely one interpretation of “power.”
Power can be subtle.
Occasionally we tend to forget that power only becomes apparent after centuries.
The river can carve up a mountain although it takes centuries for a valley to form.
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You won’t be happy today!

Happiness isn’t your “default” setting and I’m sure you know it.
It isn’t mine either.
In fact, “happiness” is a fabrication, a fake word designed to motivate people to take expensive holidays to utopian holiday destinations.
“Happiness awaits you the minute you set foot on golden beaches and dance to the pulsating rhythms of the greatest adventure you’ll ever experience!”
Sure, it might be true but that adventure will shake your pocket!
Financial woes after the holiday will kick you right back to where you were before the trip!

Happiness is the motivator that you always prop up in the fudged-up recesses of your subconscious to justify most purchases.
Just wait, when you get that Mustang you’ll be happy!

Reality is harsh mistress though… One that constantly strives to kill your illusion of happiness!
While you were on that beach you stumbled and dropped your cocktails on an unsuspecting sunbather.
You didn’t see any of the sexy people they paraded around in the seductive advert.
The kids were bored because they didn’t have their tablets with them and you were still worrying about a missed call from the office!

Before you decide to wallow in despair just consider the age-old concept of “awareness” for a minute!
You can actually make that fake word called “happiness” work for you.
Despite the embarrassment with the drinks, nobody got hurt.
The chat you had with the victim was quite pleasant.
His perspectives about the island made you notice things you would never have seen otherwise.
You relaxed, you laughed, you took notice of the balmy island breeze and the texture of the fine sand underfoot.
If you combine those elements into more comprehensible languages you can stitch them together and you’re
actually experiencing “happiness.”

What was your morning like today?
Cold, too hot, stressful?
But you had a nice coffee, didn’t you? You enjoyed it.
I really hope you did!
Life’s too short to have bad coffee!
Your office chair was quite comfortable.
It’s not something you really think about!
There’s enough money in your bank account for buying a pie at lunchtime.
Ok, before it sounds like I only pursue “happiness” through eating I’ll stop there.
But you do get the gist of the above.
Make a pastiche of the positive words in your day… “Enjoyed, content, satisfied, comfortable, fine, looking forward to something!”
When strung together in context those words push you towards the elusive idea of happiness.

Ever so often I get the idea that we’ve taught ourselves to think that the negative cancels the positive.
That’s far from the truth.
They actually exist in an eternal symbiosis.
But just like the way you rephrased “happiness” you might consider rephrasing the “bad” as well.
Spilling your drink wasn’t “bad.”
It was unfortunate… An accident, a mishap!
The word “Bad” is abstract.
“Mishap” sounds manageable.

And when you start using proper sentences it all clicks into place… “If you hadn’t cooled off someone with a ludicrously expensive drink you might not have experienced one of your more memorable holiday moments!”

The value of receiving a good insult!

I love receiving a good insult.
A well-constructed insult is indicative of a creative spirit.

Trite regurgitated generalizations and pre-packaged little bags of vitriol
aren’t to be dismissed as useless information either!
Receiving unimaginative insults can truly speed up the process of getting to know someone.
Condescending tones, forced sarcasm, and overbearing obnoxiousness
almost makes it too easy to pigeonhole those I needn’t waste energy on.

If you still feel the need to decimate me then challenge me as a new red wine would.
Interrogate my perception of reality with smoky undertones and smooth delivery.
When the sour aftertaste hits it’s going to be a surprise at least.
For the opportunity to be enriched by a learning experience I would
tolerate the intricate micro cuts and bruises and perhaps even view you as an
acquired taste.
I will always give a sophisticated red wine at least one more shot!