Silence: a Thinker’s Worst Nightmare?

“A thought a day
keeps the madness away.”

I often wish I could switch my thoughts off just
for a whole day so that I could take a breather from all the thinking: the
planning, the hypothesizing, the worrying, and the projecting. I am a thinker,
as compared to being a feeler or a doer, which means I more or less spend most
of my time in my own head formulating the ideas, the themes, the scenes and the
melodrama that is my life.

This can be quite harrowing at the best of times as
any thinker will tell you. Most of the time ‘inside your own head’ is the best
place to hide, far from the clutches of the public reality, behind a veil of
cynicism scoffing at the unsuspecting world, drawing sharp conclusions about
all around you and feeling fully nourished by your own decidedly unique
personality.

But then there are those times when your own
derision – which is often your most natural weapon – ironically turns on you,
in an insane act of cannibalism, bludgeoning you for some mistake you have
made. These are bruising times for any thinker when your own thoughts make a
mockery of you while you are fully aware that it is you who are just attacking
yourself and sardonically laughing at the morbidity of it all.

So it seems that
what once was the safety of your own inner world, where you would make scathing
– largely ineffective – attacks on everybody else, is now more like a bunker
full of clowns blasting bazookas at each other.

I really sometimes wish I could shut them all up
these voices in my head that at times are the board members who assist me in
making executive decisions and at other times are the popcorn throwing peanut
gallery.

But the question is would I really want to do this? Shutting down the
thoughts of a thinker would be equivalent to sacking the blue collar labourers
of a factory: production would come to a complete standstill. And what then?
Without the manpower to continue production a factory loses its purpose just as
a thinker without thoughts loses his/her definition.

My greatest fear of shutting down my thoughts,
whether permanently or temporarily is not that I will be without definition but
more a fear of what will surface from the void left by the banished thoughts.

There are those sticky and nasty little things called feelings, which are the
bane of any thinker’s existence, the kryptonite to good reason, and the giver
of fuel to irrationality, uncertainty, outer chaos and inner madness. Yes,
feelings are definitely that part of human nature least understood by most
thinkers as thoughts and feelings seem to be as compatible as bubblegum and
hair, a Play Station 3 and manicured hands and nails, and pink bunny slippers
on a hulking, oily and phallic mass of a tensing male bodybuilder.

And what of all those other unspeakable things that
rattle, hiss and grunt from the murky corners of the subconscious? Don’t these
very things like to rear their bobbing heads at that exact moment when the
thoughts are silenced? All these things that don’t speak any language known to
man, that make sounds that aren’t always defined by the standards of man’s
world. All the images real and imagined, the desires fulfilled and unfulfilled,
the dreams realised and shattered, and of course all of the ghosts recognised
and ignored.

Oh yes, the silencing of the thinker’s mind is the
invitation of a whole cast of subconscious abominations, least of all the
silence itself.

The silence.

Silence.

The absence of thoughts, the emptiness,
the nothingness, the…silence.

Yes it is rather tempting when it promises to
be the real thing where the thinker doesn’t need to fear an invasion of his own
inner world by all the other faculties less used and yet just as important.

Perhaps that is the greatest lesson to all us thinkers out there (and in here
he he he), to learn to create that peace that we avoid so much, to silence the
voices and the thoughts and allow nothingness to take over.

 Perhaps in that
nothingness the genius of what we could possibly be will shine through defining
us as something greater than mere thinkers…

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The Death of a Black Rose

Cold
Whispering Shivers Tickle the Spine of Life

Free-Flowing
like Shimmering Rivers that Trickle Out of Sight,

The Might
of the Tremors is Felt in Distant Lands

Like
the Raving Murmurs of Gods with Tears of Sand,

A Gigantic
Hand on a Shoulder couldn’t Steal Misery Away

Not when the Loss of a Black Rose is the Cost of
Each Passing Day,

Finding a
Way through Waterfalls of Crystal Clear Waters

Anywhere
on the Planet where Comfort has no Borders,

Unnatural
Tortures the Body Endures While Donning Brave Armour

Endlessly
Encouraged to Live Life and Die with Vain Honour,

To Take Each Trauma with a Toothless Smile

To
Give Each Hurt Cause by Remembering it for a While,

Who can Find Fault in the Perfect Day of Searing
Sunshine

Or
Make the Mind Jolt In the Perfect Night of Dreaming Sublime?

Walking
the Line Ignoring Both Sides with Foolish Agility

Time
Vanishes Each Dying Second With a Deliberate and Fluid Ability,

During Dark Nights When Fears Abound in Perpetual Flux of Uncertainty

The Flickering Memories of The Black Rose Rain
like Ashes from a Bonfire of a Life Lived Fervently,

With an
Aura of a Colossus Towering Over Kingdoms of Strange Beings

And
Brawny Roots That Descended Straight to the very Core of the Earth’s Feelings,

She was a
Doorway to an Ancestry that Defined the Finer Things

A
Captivating Force Undeterred by the Lies Others Think,

Her Shadowy Velvet Petals Absorbed the Pains
Others Dreamed

Her
Veins Thick with the Venomous Ink Bulging until they Gleamed,

And
so it was Written: The Succulent Poison the very same Blessing

The
Death of The Black Rose Our Subconscious Confession…

       †

The Gargoyle’s Beauty Pageant

 “Imagination is
the food for the soul. Feed it and feed it big.”

I am First Princess

Imagine a mammoth colossus of a monster with tight bumpy skin covered
in dry ashen scabs, a bent uneven back resembling a shoddy cliff, impossibly stretched
arms protruding from equally impossibly lumpy shoulders. Imagine a shadowed
face pasted into the never-ending folds of a neck of muscle, fat and excess
skin, just hanging badly, sadly, screaming of abandon, odium and disease. From
the shadows of the gravel face are two glowering lambent eyes like dying
blowfish at the bottom of an abyss in an ocean even godless sea pirates would
fear to sail. The nostrils are mere asymmetrical slashes like fresh war wounds
rendered with no precision, above a mouth of shrivelled lips flopped inwards
like the lips of a geriatric with dentures.

I are beautiful-er

Such a monster would be a sight hard to take in such is the
hideousness and contempt that is invoked by such a sight. But there is a
certain magnetic power, an enchanting seduction, an internal uncoiling
slithering of sensations to creatures so cruelly disabled, twisted, wronged,
almost punished by nature for untold sins of a life perhaps once lived
unwisely, in another time in another form. It is hard not to be captivated by such
ugliness if not for the obscure aesthetics that confuse the eye, or perhaps the
mind, then definitely for the feelings and sensations invoked in the eyes of
the beholder. Comprehension becomes painful because one cannot fully fathom
such a thing, such a creation that at once seems a waste, glut, unacceptable
and fearsome.

Just call me Handsome Ugly

It almost makes the onlooker mad at themselves for perceiving of such
a thing, for if one took their eyes off of it, would it cease to exist? Well at
least in the eyes of that one onlooker that gave in to the shame of looking
away there would be the illusion of making the thing, the monster, the
abomination go away. But the denial of such an act is as ironic as it is
reprehensible because to look away and pretend such a thing does not exist is
to reveal the inner monster within the onlooker, the inner critical, clutching
egotistical, fundamental characteristic of being a human being. It is natural
and it is socially acceptable although not spoken. Strangely enough, although
it is what most would do it is still frowned upon by the majority, because in
principle humans shouldn’t do that but in reality they do.

So would you kill such a monster or would you lend it a helping hand?
Ignoring it and looking away doesn’t do much for making it cease to exist as
this grotesque caricature of divine judgement will always leave a searing
imagine in your mind’s eye, burning rich molten red, messily attaching lead
weights with hooks on your conscious and exposing you to your own
dishonourable, yet especially human reactions. There is no avoiding contact
with such a phenomenon because it is like a haunting, a collective haunting of
humanity. Lending a helping hand doesn’t much help either as how do you lend a
helping hand to something you fail to comprehend? Did it in fact ask for your
help? Or are you trying to serve your own worthless sense of fulfilment, trying
to wash away your perceived sins, the effects of social conditioning?

err..won't you lend me a gun?

Well I am that monster that filthy fleshy beast, that poisonous
existence that penetrates all levels of sensation. Don’t pity me or try to
understand me. Look or don’t look it doesn’t much matter to me.  I will continue to scour the surface of
forgotten worlds, and like those worlds themselves I am quite content to be
forgotten. What you don’t like will be my legacy and what you don’t teach will
be my doctrine. Every step I take every breathe I take is in recognition of my
pilgrimage. I will get there without your help I will get there with the powers
you do not see. I am what I am and I would not or could not be anything else.
From the nothingness you give me I create an existence that satisfies my soul.
But beware and know this: my soul is always on the feed…

The Baboon Mechanism

“Be who you want to be how you want to be where you
want to be and how you want to be.”

Men are very
simple creatures being amused by very few things: women – preferably naked
women, sports (including anything that can be called a game), food and gadgetry.
Being as simple as they are men often have simple conversations that involve
nothing of importance and yet go on for extended hours (especially where
copious amounts of alcohol are consumed) with the participants vehemently
protecting their side of the conversation or argument, even to the point of rabid
intensity.

A boy being a boy...

But everybody
knows this, men are men, boys are boys and well, more times than not men are
boys. But the great question is why is this? Why should men be allowed to carry
on the way that we do? Most arguments steer towards socialisation (nurture)
with the assertions that men carry on the way they do because society allows
them to while others tend to favour biological arguments (nature), so that the
old nurture vs nature debate rages on until our mouths unhinge from yawning so
much at the banality of it all.

The point of
this piece is not to explore that debate for any measure of time but to focus
on some of the topics that arise when men are allowed to do what they do best
far away from the prying eyes, ears and minds of women. There is something very
“tree-house-ish” about the way guys get together over some beer and have these
discussions. By “tree-house-ish” I mean that men of all ages seem to descend to
a level of childishness when there are no women around (all things that don’t
involve women are childish right?) and in the very manner that things are done
it is as if there are holding up large badly written signs saying “NO GIRLS
ALLOWED!”

Anyways, as a
guy myself (the last time I checked anyways), I have been privy to many of
these small scale guy rallies that occur at an alarming frequency almost twice
weekly and undoubtedly every weekend. These guy time sessions or cheap option
therapy sessions are successful because they involve no personal emotions or
intelligent debate and therefore allow an environment where any and everything
goes.

Standard food for thought for men

The interesting thing is that more often than not the environment created
allows guys to descend to a state where feelings and serious thought become
irrelevant thus freeing the men from the constraints of their personal lives
outside of the guy circle. But the sad reality is that guys don’t really allow
other guys to cry in front of them, discuss their real feelings or share
anything that really matters and so this escapism is really a false reality
that defeats its own ends.

Anyways, I have
once again ventured far from where I intended to go with this discussion. A while
back I was in one of these guy sessions when the topic of The Baboon Mechanism
came into the discussion which one of my intellectually impaired, beer imbibing
mates defined as the mentality that many guys have with regards to women. Simply
put The Baboon Mechanism refers to the mentality of not appreciating women as
unique individuals and basically going from one women to the next, discarding
them as easily as the pips of half eaten fruit.

If you know anything
about baboons you will know that they are impish creatures that cause many
headaches to farmers, suburban dwellers and even tourists all over Africa. Throughout
the continent they have a reputation of being farm raiders, house breakers and
in more recent times even car thieves who target unknowing tourists. The tell
tale sign of their larceny is that where crops, fruit or vegetables are involved they
have the nasty habit of biting into each piece just once and then indifferently
tossing them away before moving onto the next one. One can imagine how this can
be infuriating to farmers or poor suburban dwellers who have had their sea side
home pillaged by ignorant flea infested baboons – shame.

Yaaawwn! Yes, I am a thief and the whole nurture vs nature debate bores me too...

Now from
understanding this behaviour of baboons one fully understands why the mentality
of some men towards women is referred to as The Baboon Mechanism. I have to
admit that I thought it was quite shrewd of my inebriated mate who at the time
came across as a varsity professor delivering his thesis.  Who really knows why some men have this
mentality? I bet it probably has something to do with the male ego which has
been known to be as brittle as uncooked noodles. I’ll leave the debating to the
professors…

The Rain

What but a kind word in a moment can
compare

To a confession not there but said
like I’m not scared?

What, if not chance, can make
uncertainty so fair?

So readily open it’s hard to
prepare?

Is it not through dialogue that I am
most exposed?

Even though the perfect sense I make
is culturally clothed?

Am I not what I speak because I’m
definitely not what I’m told?

Just an original idea cast from a
great celestial mould,

Like rain descended from above, I
fall

Translucent and well meaning I cover
all,

Spreading the will to live, fuelling
the impetus for imaging

Looking for idle minds definitely
worth tampering…

Words of a Man

Once upon a time in wonderland

A man without a tale found need
to hold his tongue with his hand,

Wishing for nothing it was
rather sad

For what he needed and what he didn’t want couldn’t make him glad.

His gaping mouth was full of
words

Some so chunky and indigestible
they made his speech unheard and absurd,

Together with an empty head that
was a concern

For how did he ever expect to
get his turn if he never learned?

Perhaps his strength was just
that very denial

That gave him an asinine
temperament that made him accept his fate with a smile,

Perhaps with that crooked
reasoning he had perfected a style

That ensured if he ever fell on
his head he would have nothing to lose in his profile.

With a personality like a sieve
he could hardly contain his composure

Leaking moral fibre and with
holes in his soul he severely lacked in reality exposure,

What a Man, what can one say,
what a way to draw a cold shoulder

If this man recognized war he
would probably not be a very loyal soldier.

Marching handsomely in a direction
of his own

Tripping over his own footsteps
he hears melodies whenever he is alone,

An un-coddled geezer who’s
picked many a bone

 Ridiculously young in age, and yet behaving as
insanely old as a toad.

Ó × ß

Ÿ £

¥ ¥¤ þ Þ å  Ë»º •€ †

The Death of Nelson Mandela: Time Travelling Back to January 2011

I’ve often caught myself at odd moments wondering what would become of this great nation when Nelson Mandela died. After this past week where media reports, internet social networks and everyday trivial conversations were rife with the supposed ill health of the former president I realised that in 2011 I am not the only one wondering about that same question. As a relatively young democratic nation still bundling our way towards a united national mind state we have relied heavily on our former president, using him almost nonstop as an unflagging symbol of hope, as our very own unique icon that can give our previously tainted national identity a bit of a gleam, our very own living saviour capable of fetes never before witnessed in this country – or any other for that matter. There can be no doubt about Nelson Mandela’s stature, his unyielding humanity, his aura, built by years of living a principled life, leading from within, teaching us something about ourselves and greatness that exists.

 

Even the most ardent sceptic or unpatriotic fascist has to admit that the man has lived a life worthy of praise, close to godliness and one that we should all learn something from. I would know because I too fall into this category – no, perhaps not of godliness, but somewhere between what some might perceive as scepticism and unpatriotic idiosyncrasy. You see I would like to think of myself as one of those individuals so obsessed with self discovery, individual endeavour and nonconformity that I am often caught going against the tide mostly for good reasons but occasionally just for the sake of it. In doing this I have become one of those people that dislikes seeing the nation still trying to eke the last bit of hero magic from Tata uMadiba, the original man who over the years just never seemed able to fail at churning it out, whether he felt like it or not.

 

As a nation I think we should be mature enough to admit that we have milked the Madiba cow almost for everything that it is worth. Year after year, event after event we have asked the old man to come out of his private life in order to serve the nation once again. And now it seems he must do it again, when he is ailing, to come and save us from the horror of living with his inevitable death. I doubt that there are many 92 year olds out there living with the demands that this great man has to live with at this late and theoretically golden age when one should be left respectfully alone to contemplate the prospects of the afterlife. It was difficult for me to watch him being driven around Soccer City in a golf cart last year for the opening of the 2010 Soccer World Cup waving humbly at a rabid crowd intoxicated by a special kind of self deluding glee that only Fifa, and the South African media can create. But there he was – seen in short snippets by those of us who watched the poor TV coverage that only showed the last bit of his fairy tale ride around the colossus stadium – producing that same magic we all know him for, inspiring us and making us feel special.

 

This past week as the speculation about Nelson Mandela’s health did the rounds I asked myself a lot of challenging questions about this country, about myself and about my purpose in this life. I found myself thinking about how as South Africans we have become masochistically contented by our own struggles that we have created, and continue to create, long after Nelson Mandela freed us from our previous struggle. We illustrate this continually by our reluctance to let go of our very own world icon, Nelson Mandela, this same reluctance that sees us scared to free the inspired heroes within all of us, who will ensure that we overcome any struggle within and without.

 

I think one of the greatest things that Nelson Mandela gives us as South Africans is that feeling and knowledge that we, as a collective unit, are a great nation worthy and capable of creating great leaders. On an individual level he has freed us from within and allowed us all to dream about a future where we can fulfil personal dreams while helping and nurturing others. I for one know that I am living the dream that Nelson Mandela made possible. My work on the Transnet-Phelophepa Health Care Train allows me to fulfil personal dreams by constantly healing, sharing and being with people while simultaneously learning from them. This past week in Bloemfontein, our first of the 2011 tour, was one where we had to dig deep and find inspiration where there wasn’t none. The flooded station, caused by the tireless rain, where we had to work threatened to disrupt our services and the constant logistical problems made life more difficult than it could have been. But because we as the staff of the Phelophepa have an inspired vision, great self belief and unyielding dedication, just like Nelson Mandela, we were able to stay focused and surpass our targets quite significantly – which in itself is a great thing considering that this is our first week where we were working with basically a new staff compliment.

 

I know that I do not fear the death of Nelson Mandela because he has awakened something within me that can never die. This past week I was fearless – the only thing that might have frightened me just a bit were the huge green toads that were all around the station due to the floods – and held onto the desire to make a difference. I feel privileged to be able to have lived in the same time era as Nelson Mandela and even more so to be able to live a fulfilling life because of his efforts. My wish to him is not necessarily a speedy recovery, but it is that he may find peace in whichever way that he deems he should get it. I do not think that anything will be lost should he not make it through 2011. Even if he does make it, I have accepted that his time will come sooner rather than later. At least he will continue to live in part through the example of humanity that we continue to display in our work onboard the Phelophepa…