Tag Archives: Movement

Mind soup for lunch

On rainy days such as this one, I try to guess the substance our minds float in. Are part of. Much like a fish would define water.

Right now, many concepts are cluttered in my brain, because where do you start such an article? May I rely on previous texts for you to understand me? Is it important that this is understood? Can I not merely express the confusion that arises from this seemingly pointless act? And you: do you think linearly? In circles? Concentrically? Haphazardly?

Let’s assume that it is in the nature of the mind to explore itself. That I’m merely following my nature here. I am making an attempt to stretch my mind beyond what I’d call ‘me’, into something more meaningful. I am searching for the word to describe the dense, slowly revolving motion of magma inside the earth’s core, as it unfolds right here. Around my mind. Where does it end? Or, worse: where does it start? Is there a story about it that can make me feel good? Probably, but I’m not looking for that.

Even though I despise dualism as an even remotely accurate description of reality, I don’t mind to consider, sometimes that there are two main frameworks trough which us Westerners understand things.

On the one side, there is the atom, the brick, the ego. The little material pieces which we are all built from. The tangible, measurable, the word, the description, the thought. Little packages of energy that, together, form us, our societies and our minds. From this perspective, my mind is no more than a channeled sequence of individual thoughts, juxtaposed in a way that suggests they make sense.

Then there is the vision that we are not built of little bricks or energy packages,  but that we are more fluid, wave-like, spirit creatures. That we are the result of an amazingly complex resonance of invisible strings, shaking itself and its surroundings as a cosmic orchestra would. That we exist merely for as long as we remain in motion; moving, inspiring and amplifying others as much as ourselves. In that perspective, the very act of writing this down is just a vibration between my mind and this paper here, which now seems so close, and yet infinitely far away. Mind is then merely a frequency that resonates and adapts with those around. As such present, perhaps, in everything. Like light.

Be that as it may, both of these visions of the cosmos rely on the idea that we are ultimately made out of absolutely nothing. That would make the whole act of my mind asking itself what it is an illusion. Maya. This entire story would be non-existent, the room I’m in not here. Such thought raises the question: if all of this is an illusion, then what is an illusion? Except for all of this, of course. If everything is just vibration, why doesn’t it sometimes stop vibrating? If nothing holds all the pieces together, could it also stop doing so? How would that taste?

Here’s where it’s better to let go of these clearly narrow-minded theories altogether. We simply cannot prove the fact that we exist by proving the fact that we don’t exist, because that would mean we don’t exist. And clearly: we do. And we did, and we will. Yet it remains in my mind’s nature to wonder how far it can stretch.

If a black hole sucks up all light, would it we able to see itself in the mirror? It would be blinded by the light of the universe, shining upon it from all directions. Is there something my mind sucks up that prevents it from seeing itself? Or has there simply been no mirror around?

The rain has stopped. I can go out and about, to look for whatever it is I intend to find there. Vegan food. Setting steps on an earth that may or may not exist within and or outside of my mind. Or something else, that is. Or not.

Psychoindustry

On february 13th, a group of students decided to occupy the Bungehuis. That building was just sold by the University of Amsterdam, who no longer wished to use it for education of arts and languages. Students did not agree with a debate night, they wanted commitments by the board. At the time the building was still being used by the UvA, and many people, including the press thought the occupation went too far. But the Faculty of Humanities supported them.

After several attempts to talk to the occupants, the municipality of Amsterdam ordered the riot police to evict the occupants at dawn of the 24th. They were taken to jail, where they were held for some days.

That afternoon, a different group of students hit the streets for a protest march against the eviction. 300 of them went towards the Maagdenhuis, the board office, and occupied that instead. They were visited by the Mayor, but did not leave. They presented their demands the nex morning: resignation of the board and democratization of the decision-making.

In the years after the crisis, there have been enormous government cuts on university subsidies. Students are no longer funded, research budgets have reduced and teachers no longer have time to attend the enormous amounts of students, a problem that has worsened throughout the years. Instead of being places for dialogue and reciprocal teaching, Universities are turning into psychoindustries where minds are bred and force-fed information without being able to digest it in a social or ethical context. This is what the students protest, and they are finding support.

The students are still there. Over 400 teachers and employees have already signed their loss of confidence in the board. There have been protests on similar topics all over the country. More are scheduled. Nationwide newspapers acknowledge the issue. Just now, as I write this the UvA has offered a plan to increase democratization, and pressurize the government.

It is no isolated movement, but it’s part of a global trend. It’s not just the universities that are being industrialized, it’s all of us, and all nature that surrounds us. We are letting it happen, and it’s going too far. It is for that reason that this simple impulse has triggered something so much bigger. The movement has not stopped, and will not until we liberate our psyches. Let this be a motivation for all of us.

The mental chains are cracking and with our effort they will break.

Inner Revolution

On the train platform of Circular Quay a cockroach is crawling in my direction. It seems to be normal here. This animal would easily survive the downfall of mankind if it were to happen soon.  I am alone because I left a group of fellow young environmentalist professionals who went to eat at MacDonalds. Can you blame a hungry lion for killing prey?

Things here at the congress are moving fast. Two  unspoken questions reside in our midst: are we really so good ourselves and aren´t we preaching to the choir? Reaching out is the YPMC´s main task here. We are exploring the ways. How do we take our accruing knowledge out of this inbred crowd, how do we go beyond the given pathways, into the world that does not seem to care? Do people who don´t really exist? I guess that what we really want, is to help others realize that deep inside, they do. Care. Most are merely numbed.

The Congolese minister of environment, great guy, told me yesterday that in order to halt poaching in his country, it needs a citizen movement. New laws are valuable, but not enough, we all need to want them in place. It´s beautiful to see that the trends expressed on this congress match with the mind-set of the visitors. The bottom line: the problems of today concern every single one of us. All people have to be engaged, all should be involved, regardless of culture, gender or any other type of background. We all need to want to obey the rules we set ourselves. Most know it: the system is broken and we are part of the problem. I bought a ticket to this petrol-driven train device with beer in my belly that was flown here from my neighbour country on the other side of the world.

A citizen movement. An inner revolution. That´s what it needs. And it is happening: Barcelona and even Brussels had hundreds of thousands of people on the street some weeks ago. Perhaps linked to this congress, there was a new climate agreement between China and the US very recently. Australia announced a new great barrier reef project. Results of long, hard fights, supported by our presence.

Humanity is bettering. Without knowing precisely what it is, we gradually commit ourselves to the good.  We are heard. It is felt. Governments and people are approaching each other. A new world order is forming and it is one that listens to people´s needs,  not our greeds. The movement is inside us and around all of us. Our influence to shape this order is here and now. All we need to do is keep joining in and keep figure it out. Do something different sometimes. More now than then. It has started, let´s keep it going.

Outsling

As I mentioned earlier, I’m ascribing names to emotions and sensations I know no name for, in order to be able to talk about them in a more tangible, physical or maybe visual way. Today, I’d like to discuss outsling. It’s a happy day for me, because it means that from now on I can say: “apologies, I have outsling” to justify my behaviour.

I chose this word because of the outward, slingshot-like movement in it. When I have it, it feels as if some force from inside me pushes the mental, witty part ahead. Sometimes it’s as if my face is pressed against that of the person I’m talking with. I get in between myself and the environment without being in relationship with it. It is out of control in the sense that the aware me agrees with this propulsion, even if it is recognizes the risks.

When I have outsling, I will not respect the laws of politeness, nor will I attempt to spare someone’s feelings, even if I’m vaguely aware of them. I don’t mean to disrespect them per se. My actions precede my morale, meaning I feel careless about that aspect of myself. Perhaps my care concerns the wrong things. But even if I’m divided I’m alert, as if a part of me is more blended with the events around me. In outsling, I’d be the first to make a comical or sarcastic remark about superficial things. I think of myself as funny and some people may indeed laugh. I could buy crappy food or drink too much alcohol. Instead of making love, I hammer. If I’d find the button that annihilates the universe during outsling, I could push it to express my disagreement with its designer.

Outsling can be brief, but it could also last for a few hours. Short events are usually triggered by strange names, ideas I find silly or unusual aspects of someones outfit. They feel like a subtle revenge that was called for: excellent filters against people who cling too much to their act.

Longer lasting outslings are mostly caused by exhaustion, high doses of caffeine or simply because it’s that time of the month. They are harder to call back and usually end up in a lack of force. I feel empty and meaningless afterwards, as if most of myself has indeed been shot in all directions and I have to go around to recollect all pieces. The alertness is then completely gone. Such longer lasting ones work against myself in a deeper way. As if I run so far ahead, that I can no longer protect the more delicate me.

Outsling can be lots of fun, but it can also be destructive for myself and people close to me. As I grow older, I learn to control it better. If I can persuade myself to make an effort to halt it, I go clean up the house, walk in a park or do some sports. As if one being has to catch up with the other to be able to calm it down.

Million Masks

I should perhaps start this post by admitting that I was not present on the streets last Wednesday, the 5th of November. Were you? Did you know about it? There was a global demonstration.

The March against Monsanto on May 25th was the first global protest in history that aimed against a single global company. Even though the Amsterdam Dam Square was filled, the protest barely reached the Dutch news. The Monsanto Stock market did drop temporarily. This week, the European Commission nevertheless recommended the Council to grant permission to breed the genetically modified maize 1507 which, by the way, was not produced by Monsanto but by a Dutch company. Where are Greenpeace when you need them? I suppose they are too busy saving Faiza from the Russians.

Back to the Million Mask March. They have called themselves an alliance between Occupy, Anonymous and Wikileaks. From the online information sources the magnitude of the actual events are hard to grasp. Mass media have smaller head counts than some twitterers and smaller media do. We know for a fact that Russel Brand was there. And the Vendetta masks, imitating the face of Guy Fawkes,  involved in attempt to assassinate the king of England on, guess what, November 5th 1605. Not so long ago, people wore scream masks. What happened there?

V. Vendetta. A rebel with a cause. A legend, who decides for himself what is good and what is not. He suffered. His goal justifies his means. He is an example now. His mask enables others to express their pain. It helps them say that the big ones have messed up. Once again, a movie character stepped off the screen.

The call for peace is loud and clear. It’s message is not so much rational as it is ethical. You guys are cheating! You’re ignoring the rule of respect! You’re not cleaning up after you played the game!

Even if few people have heard of this one, such movements have impact. Occupy encouraged a first indigenous rise to politics. It inspired the guy who makes clean phones to start his business. It opened the dialogue about the banking system. Has it been enough? No. Yet the ball is rolling, and symbols of change keep joining the field.

Word missing

What is the first thing you want to know if someone has a baby? Boy or girl, right? Can you tell me why?

How do you address a stranger on the street? By their gender. Ever did it wrong? How did you feel?

The only alternative for he or she is it. There is no universal way to mention or address someone without using the sex. If you know any culture where that’s possible, please, enlighten me. Even our names, carried as the definition of ourselves, are often sex-specific. Whether you are a boy or a girl at birth has enormous implications even at the very instant, while the differences only become relevant years later. Our gender precedes us! We are conditioned to the bone.

Imagine the impact on our mind. As soon as we familiarize with conceptual thought, we have to get used to the fact that we are undeniably different than half of the people in our lives. Our belief in this split goes deep: at some point, all of us have to prove that we are the man or the woman that we are. For status and satisfaction.

I’m not calling men and women equal, I’m merely wondering how deep this division goes. Every time I interact with an unknown, I am reminded about my sex. What if there was a neutral way to address a person? On the street, in a letter, on the phone? What if addressing people neutrally was mainstream? In a world with asexual words, would a boy still be a boy, and a girl a girl?

The division between men and women is not as fundamental as we are making it seem. While I leave the assessment of the severeness of this global psychosis up to you, I note that I am not the only one who would feel for solving the misconception. The abbreviation Mrx. has been brought up. Nobody knows how to pronounce it, let alone if it is legit to use, but it exists. Gender-neutral language is being developed as a set of ways to avoid the box. Gender-role transcendence, gay marriage and androgyny more popular than ever. The movement is as fragile as it’s young, but it gives a hint.

I think we need that word.