The focus for Stoic Week Day 4 is Community, as I live as a virtual recluse, only stepping outside for flapjack and/or crime fighting, it has been difficult to test myself in this regard.
That said I would still find it difficult if I had been surrounded by people, as in general most people irritate like a sand crab your underwear.
Stoics view everyone as their brother or sisters, which conceptually I understand.
However I find it difficult to believe that I am related to anyone who read anything published by News Corp, or indeed that Rupert Murdoch is an actual human being.
This lunchtimes meditative exercise was to close my eyes and picture my immediate family, Minioutatownstrange, Mrs OT Strange and Kitty OT Strange, then expand this circle to the gap toothed gypsy neighbours, then the drunks outside the corner shop, then the sack of shit City Counsellors, then the shit shovelling twats in the UK Parliament, then the habitual wankers in the US Senate turning back the clock to instate a woman primed to remove women’s right to chose…you get the point.
To be fair this wasn’t the actual point of the exercise, it is however close to a point I was making earlier in the week in regards to selfish cunts.
As I wrote yesterday revenge and such thinking is ultimately self destructive, but if some privileged fucks choose to turn the society into a live action dystopian theme park – with fewer laughs. Surely they should treated with the same consideration as folk who still hold onto some sense their humanity and sense of community?
Politician’s have always been considered lying pieces of shit, only now they are not only happy to lie and cheat, but to effectively steal from our pockets and then ask us for rent.
I suspect that a true stoic would take a step back and see this all part of some grand universal plan, although I struggle to believe that this plan would involve life on earth becoming worse than any eternal hell.
My book One Hell of a Week suggests that Hell actually gets its ideas for eternal punishment from the living, I had not intended it to become a prophecy.
I am not a religious person as such, religion and dogma are like shaving your ass with a lawn mower when it comes to your own spirituality.
All the time we are focused on the other than that which is outside of us we will always be miserable. That said why should we stand in stoic silence whilst the lunatics running the asylum start shitting in our mouths?
I do not have the patience for fate to do its work, my blood is boiling and my fists are getting twitchy.
For those who read yesterdays blog, I have an update in regards to how ‘Revenge’ is viewed by Stoicism and as anticipated it is frowned upon. #FrownyButVengefulface
“The best way of avenging thyself is not to become like the wrong doer.” – Marcus Aurelius
Or to quote a wise old Sage from Hull;
“There are too many wrongdoers in these places for some time you see” – Andrew Newby
Whilst back in Day three of Stoic Week, it was also Week 2 of the Compassion Focused Therapy (CFP), which came out of my previous CBT.
Needless to say my brain is a little more fried than usual, however I have committed to write something on each day and here we are.
Earlier today on the Twitter machine, I noted that there was a some considerable outrage/cheering of a UK government minister stating that is would effectively be illegal to teach ‘Critical Race Theory’ in schools.
On the one side there are those who ‘do not see race’, or that they ‘have a friend who is black’, who were applauding the minister for her brave stance on such an important issue.
I found myself on the other side of the fence and was concerned that seemingly the freedom of difficult topics being suppressed.
After all it was only a few weeks ago where the government had announced that the teaching of ideas that challenged capitalism was also illegal.
Whilst the right wing UK press gnash their crumbling teeth daily, at the ‘liberal do gooders’ cancelling their favourite depots, or wailing at the thought of Jim Davidson or Roy Chubby Brown, once again being over looked as candidates for the replacements for the Arch Bishop of Canterbury.
“A WAR ON FREE SPEECH!”, they cry.
“SNOWFLAKE MELTS AT BREXIT BOMBSHELL!”, they boom triumphantly.
With this in mind, one must assume that we must defend free speech as long as this free speech does not challenge the current hegemony.
It has always amused me how the United States presents itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy, just as the united(ish) kingdom sees itself as the British bulldog of true grit and self determination.
Yet if these countries truly stood for what they say they do, then why would they give a shit about what views or political discussions were being held?
Would a champion of freedom and democracy effectively criminalise socialism, such as the US did under McCarthy?
In addition why does a country that is ‘free’, require its young people to recite a commitment to a flag for unity and justice for all?
In my experience the more a company or individual says they hold a specific value, the less likely they are to hold that value.
Nestle for example, or a pious Christian preacher who then gets caught being noshed off by a toothless rent boy.
Critical Race theory is a difficult and uncomfortable topic, especially if you are a white person or benefit from the current status quo of white supremacy. This level of discomfort is magnified by an equivalent factor of how much value the status quo means to you.
It is my view that if we are not challenging our thinking, then we are probably not really thinking. Our minds destined to become as bland and stagnant as a Disney Movie, or new Pumpkin Spiced Latte.
The modernist experiment has failed and we are living in the embers of a 1950’s vision that never came to pass, ‘Modern’ society is locked in a death spiral with fewer and fewer lifeboats being available.
Never lose sight that those folk who are most effected by the dismantling of White Supremacy, and its existing hegemony will be the ones who will be in these few remaining, lifeboats not you or your families.
In addition, for those with the lifeboats, if no one is left alive to bailing you out, then you too are destined to drown.
Instead of jumping straight into Day 2 of Stoic week, I shall begin with an epilogue of Day one – or Day one and a half if you wish.
After I finished writing yesterdays entry I had a highly unexpected challenge to my Stoic week, the offer of a supply of Lysergic acid diethylamide. According to my friend this has cured his depression and made him bulletproof to all that nature and beyond has to throw at him.
A younger version of myself would probably be sitting talking to an invisible German called Klaus right now and part of my current self would like to be with him.
The last time I took acid was at university and my only memory of the event was standing at Silly Mid-Off in a game of invisible cricket with my friend Andy. Incidentally this also happens to be the only time I have been on the winning side of a cricket match.
The fact that you are reading this, is a testament to my will power in a torrent of ‘go on, go on, go on’, from my friend. As I noted to Mrs OTStrange I had hoped by the time I reached my early late 40’s I would have moved beyond peer pressure to consume hallucinogenics.
For those who have known me (or at least the online version of me), will hopefully join my self back patting as will power when it comes to mood managing substances is not my ‘A-Game’. #YayforMe
Anyway, back to stoic week day 2 and today’s theme is ‘Happiness’.
In general I am a fairly accurate representation of the clown who cannot help trying to make folk laugh, if only to cover up a deep and unrelenting melancholy. Therefore the concept of attaining ‘happiness’ , seems harder than the acquisition of hallucinogenic drugs.
Within Stoic philosophy Happiness goes beyond an emotional level of a new phone or finding that you have been blocked on Twitter by a major celebrity, after calling them a fat talent-less cunt.
Happiness comes through being virtuous, on the face of it this seems a fairly attainable goal – as indicated yesterday, Don’t be a cunt.
However one of the virtues is Justice and this sadly is not in the sense of being Judge Dredd.
It actually means showing compassion and this is something which right now feels more difficult than Quantum Chess, or getting a straight answer from a politician.
My issue with this concept right now, is why should I be compassionate and understanding to someone who is a self absorbed or selfish cunt? Why should they get the easy ride of not being called up on their attitude?
The stoics would say that we cannot control other people and how they act, therefore it is not our concern and we should simply be.
I don’t have any answers right now and I suspect this will prove a challenge for me, as I am not someone who suffers fools, or cunts gladly. I can also incredibly vengeful given half a chance, one time as a young man I cheated on my then girlfriend, a ridiculous number of times purely because she offered my pal money so sleep with her.
The upshot of this particular tale is that she eventually left me for another of my friends, so clearly my ‘revenge’ was like cum off a whores back.
Perhaps therein lies the lesson, vengeance is largely pointless and self defeating – but just like hallucinogenic drugs – it feels so good!
For those who have shown an extended interest in these ‘tinternet scriblings, will be aware that I have been dabbling in the ideas of Stoicism for a few months. Therefore I shall not bother to regale you with the wit and wisdom of this ancient philosophy at this point.
However, this week is Stoic Week and to support my efforts to ‘live like a stoic’ for a week, I shall be aiming to write a short post daily as to my findings and experiences which I hope might inspire others to find out more.
The broad structure of each day is relatively straight forward;
Morning Meditation – Spending a short time before I start work considering my day ahead and any challenges that I might face and to reflect on how I might approach these in line with the virtues of Stoicism.
The Stoic Virtues are :
• Wisdom – using good reasoning and judgement and deciding which virtue to apply • Courage – doing what is right even if it is difficult • Justice and kindness – excellence in your relationship with others • Moderation and self-control – ability to deal well with desires and emotions
Mid-Day Meditation – Reflecting on aspects of my day where I have been able to follow these virtues and any challenges which I have encountered, which have led to me falling back into bad habits.
Evening Meditation – Is an opportunity to reflect on my day and take note of my success or failure in relation to the key virtues.
At this point in time it is difficult to detail each and every point of success and failure in this blog, if only for it revealing my life as being less full of flapjack and hookers as I would like. (That said, I do have plenty of flapjack)
However I shall aim to reveal more of the workings here in OT Strange Towers as the week progresses.
In the mean time I shall summarise my overall objective by quoting the great Billy Butcher from The Boys, “Quit being a Cunt.”
I was but a wee young whipper snapper during the poll tax riots back in the day, or possibly ‘Caked and bombed’ on a bag of Shatners Bassoon or Joss Acklands Spunky Back Pack.
The British have never been terribly good at riots, at least in comparison to our Gaelic friends across the channel. The french really know how to put on a proper good ruck, decapitated regal entities, cities brought to a standstill, the whole works.
I am writing this piece whilst the Drunken Polar Bear that is the UK prime minister is threatening action against the Mancunian blockade against a Tier 3 Covid lockdown without additional financial support.
There have already been thinly veiled threats of ‘bringing in the army’ to ‘support’ local lock-downs.
The Army being deployed to British Cities will no doubt come a great relief for the British Army as they haven’t had a decent opportunity to shoot and kill innocent civilians since pulling out of Northern Ireland.
And now the Government are close to passing the law that will allow government agents to act illegally with impunity is another happy coincidence no doubt.
Social media is full of angry keyboard warriors, V for Vendatta quotes or revolutionary memes, however they are most likely to get distracted by Thots on Twitch or trip over their neck beards to actually do anything.
So it falls to the only militia that we really have in this country, Football Hooligans and/or Chav’s.
This elite fighting unit are happy to stand toe to toe with anyone and even punch a politicised horse.
They are this countries only hope for freedom, unless of course they are being dragged around Primark by their overweight spouses.
Despite being in my early late forties, it is never too late to acquire or accumulate new knowledge and/or skills.
This no doubt will prove particularly useful as the industry of my ‘Cyber’ day job ,becomes inundated with poets, artists and gentlemen and/or individuals with a uterus who have elected to continue to sport a Paul Weller hair cut.
This week for example I have started to learn how to speak Mandarin, not to tinned kind served up by kind old Grandmothers on a pile of curdled cheese, but the splendid language of our future lords and masters the Chinese. Despite its outward appearances, Mandarin is an eminently more sensible language than English, that said English does make even Welsh seem a useful use of letters into noises.
I have also learnt this week that the death of Cinema is because that dreadful James Bond chap has still not released his movie.
Whilst for actual lovers of the medium of film this news was probably a huge sigh of relief, however for the plebeians who are all to keen to suck on the sour teat of such dismal dross, this is an utter outrage.
Of course whilst cinemas closing (alongside every other slither of joy in the god forsaken Isle that is the UK), is desperately sad. We have been here before, I remember when home taping was killing music and when Blockbusters fingered Madonna behind Salisbury’s.
Thankfully the triumph of market forces came to the rescue, deciding that musicians didn’t really deserve to be paid and that movies could make more money if you kept re-inventing the format they were presented on.
Blockbusters killed cinema, Netflix killed Blockbuster, Blockbuster cinema rose again, Netflix killed Blockbuster cinema. There is a pattern here, that I cannot quite put my finger on.
I would argue that cinema has been in its death throes since the satanic temple of Disney bought Pixar.
Then Star wars fans started picking on George Lucas for having the audacity of making kids films for kids rather than autistic incels. Leaving Lucasfilm ripe for the picking from the clutched of Demon Spawn Disney.
And finally someone had the bright idea of turning second rate and/or mediocre Marvel characters into a franchise, which would be all you can eat buffet of mono-flavoured myco proteins.
The modern world has burned our visual cortex to a bare optic nerve, where even real life looks a bit rubbish compared to ones Amoled screened mobile device. Therefore it is hardly any wonder that the subtle craft and skill of movie making struggles to find a window to display its wares.
The society of the spectacle is eating itself before our very eyes, we are already augmenting our reality to avoid the glare of poverty and despair in our local communities.
So lie back and think of England whilst your very soul is strip mined for that last glimmer of your true self.
Maybe take your mind off of having your mind taken off to watch some Only Fools and Horses on an old VHS, as they don’t make them like that any more.
Sitting down to write this piece I have a strange sense of quasi deja vu, in so far that in my I have already written a whole bunch of posts, whereas in reality I have written none.
Now that I come to write, I don’t really feel like writing about the virtues of patience and stoic thought. Nor an exploration into a conceptual link between macro economics and non-fungible tokens.
As someone whose brain frequently turns against them, blue screening like an overstuffed Excel Spreadsheet (Topical reference klaxon).
I don’t even feel like bemoaning the lack of understanding of how data works in this so called modern age for that matter. (I’ll save that for another day – you lucky people).
I have come to recognise that one of the causes of my brain shutting down, is a sense of being overwhelmed by uncomfortable and/or powerful emotions. These do not always have to be negative, there have been recent incidents whereby some surprisingly good news caused me to shut down, as seemingly I just do didn’t know how to handle such a thing.
And I retreat inside my mind, where I play out the plots and threads of what would, or might have happened in reality, each and every branch of decision considered, explored and to a degree lived. So to return to my three blog posts that do not exist, in my mind they have already been written and assigned to the done pile.
The blue screening of my mind is very useful, at least as an instant protective response – saves one from blubbering at the end of Return of the Jedi when Anakin’s redemption arc is complete, or when the last Mac N Cheese has been taken from the shelf in my local Tesco’s.
It also shuts down everything that my general sense of being relies on to function, my sub-conscious, my intuition, my inner self are all consigned to the jail within a Gaol of a white free protestant maelstrom (A favourite Jim Morrison Quote of mine). Left to languish, peering out through the iron bars, whilst the raven clawed guards of my ego govern and patrol against any glimmer of expression or feeling.
This leaves one in a difficult position, as to release the captives from their cell would requite facing the unwelcome feelings, like the face of someone you found in bed following a meeting on the mystery bus the night before. I know that I shall read this and cringe in the days and weeks to come, just as I still wince at the drunken capers of my youth.
Despite my best efforts, I am coming to realise that I may never be able to operate normally (what ever that is) when it comes to emotions which strike a particular chord within.
In such incidents, it is time to batten down the hatches, put everything back in its box (or closet). And then await for the Black dog to fuck off back into its bed, before I can allow myself to feel once again.
This post has been peculating in my head for awhile and I suspect it will either sink like my usual jetsam or stir up a bit of a stinker. Either way I figured I would add my two cents, to the overflowing spittoon of commentaries in recent media around the QAnon conspiracy.
As a natural born hipster, I was of course interested in Qanon before it was ‘cool’.
And despite my initial scepticism, I found myself falling deep into a dark crevasse steeped in encrypted emails, numerology, bibliology and the attempt to unravel the clues held in each cryptic drop of ‘intel’ from the mysterious Q.
I was introduced to Qanon via a friend who I had known (via the internet) for a decade or more and was someone who I had long respected and admired. He had written a number of books on Chinese history and martial art systems, which I had found extremely helpful in my more bleaker times.
Whilst we never met face to face, we kept in contact via the usual internet channels of Facebook, the Twitter machine etc. And over time he became someone who I regarded as a trusted friend and ally. I should add that although this should not be read as an excuse, moreover mitigation for what is to come.
The initial discussion happened quite casually, we shared a keen interest in the idea that there was something else beyond the usual perception of folk, so would often discuss all things ‘deep and meaningful’. Whether that be on a spiritual level or within the hidden hands working the machine of modern life in which we inhabit.
I grew up obsessed with the conspiracy theories, starting from assassination of President John F Kennedy, to the point of even taking it up as an element of my university studies, and the idea researching or helping unveil a ‘real living conspiracy investigation’, was quite frankly, intoxicating.
Especially as someone who believed that the killing of JFK had been an ‘inside job’, reading that ‘Q’ was his son and leading the charge of revenge against those who had been responsible for his fathers death (The Deep-state/The Cabal).
It was like all my conspiracy Christmas’s came at once.
The fact that JFK junior had been killed in a plane crash was easily explained away, there were pictures of someone who looked just like him at sporting events and he had a close relationship with Donald Trump, it was all part of the grand plan. Donald Trump wasn’t expected to win the presidential election, but he had – so these were all ‘evidence’ of the ‘Awakening’.
By the time that I had become obsessed with Qanon, it had already been banned from 4Chan, so we would head over to 8Chan to obtain the latest ‘intel’ drops from the mysterious Q. We would spend the following days trying to decode what ‘Q meant’ by the vague and often very brief drops.
What was the significance of John 3:17? Why did Trump miss spell a tweet – not because he is retarded – but it in fact a secret message to those working against ‘the cabal’.
Events in the news that were cover-ups for ‘Q Ops’, again working against the cabal. And just like staring too long a bad Television signal, after a while your mind starts to make connections and a picture will emerge.
As time and events moved on I drifted away from the Qanon conspiracy, in addition my friend who had introduced me to this world sadly died.
Whilst initially suspicious of his sudden and unexpected death, I have come to believe that he either picked a fight with the wrong guy or faked his own death – he was that type of person.
Three years later I find myself reading reports of Donald Trump seemingly championing the cause of Qanon and that what was once an underground movement known by the few. Recently I have seen there are articles almost daily, even in the U.K which during my involvement felt very remote from ‘The Awakening’.
For me Qanon was like a real action text based computer game, looking for clues, solving puzzles with the potential reward of unlocking the secrets to the next level.
My friend once said that he hoped that all our efforts would not simply be ‘hope porn’, a futile endeavour leading to a dead end of disappointment.
Now I see more and more people being drawn into this way of conspiratorial thinking, to a point where it is no longer outlandish or strange.
It could be argued that where humanity cannot see the answers to solve their feelings of unhappiness, there is a tendency to cling to faith or a belief that somehow things have to get better.
Perhaps the modern world is so dreadful, that is is far preferable for folk to cling to the belief of a hidden cabal of monstrous satanists, seeking to enslave humanity whilst raping and murdering our children than accept the grim reality.
A reality that the monsters are in plain sight, standing before us with a handsome face or a pretty smile selling us dreams of a ‘happiness’ which is always somehow just out of reach.
The modern world is a machine whose lifeblood is money, something that has arguably become one of the most deadly inventions that humanity ever created.
In a world where money moves by trillions in the blink of an eye, where debt accumulates faster than one can take a breath, in a world where a single individual can destroy a countries economy.
It is perhaps no wonder that the fairy tales and vile mythologies of old come back to haunt us once again.
This weekend I had the pleasure of a little jaunt down to the glorious city by the Sea, that is Brighton.
It was my first visit in almost Twenty years, which is difficult to imagine as my seasonally adjusted age shows that I am only 26 years old, or thereabouts.
Joining me on this lapsed pilgrimage, were Mrs OT Strange and Mini OT Strange, neither of whom had been to Brighton, and were somewhat sceptical of my exuberant descriptions of a city paved in cool.
Needless to say they, their expectations were not disappointed, Mini OT Strange was keen on buying the entire stock of rubber ducks in The Duck House and Mrs OT Strange has been crunching numbers as to us affording to move there. (I suspect that this would involve me having to sell whats left of my organs as I am too old to be a Rent boy)
This leads me comfortably onto the point of this particular post, the housing prices in Brighton are comparable to London, which if you have been living under a rock are around £1000+ p/m for a one bedroom flat.
Supply and demand therefore would suggest that the demand to live in Brighton outweighs the supply and that most folk who live in Brighton are willing, or at least able, to afford the rental/purchase prices. (This isn’t my point, so don’t @ me)
The point that I would argue is, that besides the geographical and aesthetic qualities of Brighton, it is the culture of the City which is just as attractive.
This to me, suggests that such a culture or ‘spirit’, if you will, is a desirable quality when selecting somewhere to live.
Which begs the question, why is Brighton a lone soul against a bastion of inward facing, backward thinking and crumbling cities across the UK?
Aesthetics aside, I would suggest that with some ambition more cities and towns could harness the similar forward thinking and dare I say progressive cultures of their own?
With stories in the newspapers over the weekend of a drive to get folk back into offices, ‘to save the local economy’, I find it quite depressing that our post-lock down lives are being funnelled down the same old shit encrusted sluice as before.
The new normal is just the same as a the old normal only a bit shitter and with even less hope of real change.
It has often been said that folk growing up in areas of urban and social decline often lack ambition, because they are no real opportunity to do so – therefore why bother? Even to the point of not wanting to show ambition, for fear of friends and family seeing them as being ‘snooty’ or ungrateful for their local things and local ideas.
City centres across the country have been in their knees for many years, I would suggest that NOW is the time for real change to be had. A good friend of mine suggested that town centres become ‘adventure playgrounds for young and old’. A place for local independent traders or arts and crafts, providing REAL opportunities for local people to imprint their identity upon their own spaces.
A restoration of public space for the sake of public space, away from the constant drive of plastic manufactured consumption.
However it is unlikely that the high priced business rates would be affordable for such a venture. In part because too many city councils are busy playing Monopoly with our council tax money to wish to change this position.
Hollywood seems caught in a loop of re-boots and re-makes, whilst not ideal at least a re-boot shows some ambition to change the original for the better.
Whereas a re-make is little more than a poor facsimile of the original, like an over photocopied poster or flyer, or a conservative MP trying to save their career by wearing a red tie and pretending to be New Labour.
In the long term our political leaders will pay the price for their lack of ambition as the town centre as we know it, is already dead and pretty soon is gonna stink the whole damn country out.
“Surely it cannot be a whole five weeks since the last instalment of prophetic wisdom, hammered out through the splintered cheap nail polish shards of OT Strange.”, they gasped.
I know, it barely seems possible.
It has been a busy period of inactivity for the most part, interspersed with brief sprints of self improvement, including the joys of losing money on Crypto Currency, watching live online drag shows at 3 am and, my favourite of all, being called a racist, by white knighting SIMPS – fighting for the honour of their basic white bitch queens.
In addition, I have just returned from a spiritual vision quest, as my medicine bundle had been aching with a longing to spread its legs and when the spirits call, I must follow.
Upon my return to the native space of the linear beings, I am shocked and indeed stunned, to find that the very fabric of the United(ish) Kingdom is hanging on to existence like a badly glued false eyelash on a drunk girl.
The root cause of this schism to normative thinking, is of course those ghastly Marxist types, who have had the absolute cheek of suggesting that the Police stop beating the crap out of and/or killing black folk.
Only this time those commies have gone TOO far, they are looking to remove ‘decent’ folks rights to sing a tuneless racist anthem, one of many that make my sphincter spasm at the very thought (and not in a good way).
Land of Hope and Glory.
Or if you are a Conservative MP Land of Coke and Glory Holes, fisting up the poor… (that’s quite a good lyric that, they should keep it in.)
Anyhoot. Back in the day, I recall making the mistake of introducing myself as ‘British’ to a Scottish bird I had started working with. Her response was to kick me in the nuts and inform me that I was not British, I was just ‘another fucking English wanker’ – and how right she was.
Britain was never greatand never will be, it is a basic shit hole of a country trying to cling to some semblance of relevance, like a one hit wonder band trying to milk their one hit for another 600 years after placing 37 in the ‘hit parade’.
Like the spreading of the final toast crumbed and plastic scrapings from the tub of Stork Margarine onto a floured bap.
Or indeed like the final three seasons of Baywatch.
I realise that this news may perhaps be a lot to take in, especially after you readers managed to finish the side of the cereal packet only a week ago, therefore I shall refrain from diving any farther into my initial intent for this post.
In other news I have just cracked another nail. #FML