This is about a girl I used to know a while back, it gets even better because I still happen to know her. Romantic-esque nostalgia is overrated, so yeah go choke on that, Coldplay! We became friends over strange circumstances. I believe back when you could add details on Facebook on as to how you knew the friend, I happened to have added quite the animated description. She wrote back and it somehow began from there. I won’t run you through the details, and I will not use cheap artisan illusions to portray grandeur of my word usage.

I will however rather shamelessly remember the highlights of our friendship that makes it modestly special. There was that awkward 10 seconds pause when she asked me to buy her a drink. Also the random trip to the root of all evil in education in third world countries otherwise known as The British Council. The spontaneous going to the movies afterwards and watching Spider-Man 3 will not be remembered because the movie was so great. By the way, I still think my shoulder was slightly more comfy than the plastic coated synthetic cushions on the CNG.

When it was not the little details of the not so spectacular exploits (I’m conventionally British sometimes as a writer yes), it was the larger differences in traits that set her apart (Also, by exploits I was referring to smuggling her from one end of the city to the center and back again on a public transport). A non-conformist would be a cliché, and I would not waste lines in comparison. But till today she is the only one that taught me not to appear imposing and rather learn when to pull back on a suggestion. And I would’ve thanked her as to have taught me on how not to be conventionally insistent, had I been able to apply such patience towards other of course.

This is not where I say I’ll remember the lazy nights in that month of Ramadan where Sehri was an excuse to just stay awake and talk. Talk and never run out of things to say, and even when we did it never really mattered. Nope, it’s not a nostalgic memoir. There’s only one person who’ll ever read this and understand any bit of this, and ironically I’m talking about her. Anybody else can possibly care less, I continue my journey as a non-conformist.

BigGrayBox

The combination of Good and Bad has been portrayed in epic proportions since the beginning of time. It has since then been subject to evolution via syndication, variation, and most commonly up till our modern times through simplification. All the concepts of Good and Bad are equally opposite to each other, hence not making any different from the other in terms of substance. This piece will not wander through my perspective of Good and Bad. And trust me when I say the world does not need another person handing out a second hand definition to such basic knowledge. However, I chose to write this to share a revelation I had courtesy of my pseudo conscience. I have heard too often the overly used statements such as “Nobody is born bad” and “Bad to the bone”. As much as I have never found either of the statements quite true, I have wondered why people find the need to use them. Everyone and everything has a beginning; a neutral point of start with zero inclination. That brief spur of a moment where we are not accountable for any actions committed metaphysically. This is not my occasional jab at quantum mechanics so I will spare everyone any further detail on that.

The existence of Good or Bad never relies on the subject it channels through. The subject of any mass would be too insignificant to handle such dynamism. In other words nobody or nothing is that big a shit. However what really affects the existence of Good and Bad is the existing environment. From a spec to a star everything sums up to build the environment i speak of. Collectively it brings a pattern, a pattern that directs all process. The one interpretation of this process that we identify ourselves with is called the human life. So what is the human life? Is it a series of choice built on opting for Good or Bad? Perhaps it is about choosing about whether to order or get takeout for dinner. Or whether to watch a movie or skip to the good part where neither of you is watching why he left and want her back now because you are too busy screwing like there is no tomorrow. Either way whatever choices you make, vary upon a rating system between Good and Bad (‘excellent’ or ‘worst’ are simply superlative synonyms and we will not engage in grammar calibration).

I remember mentioning above that this would not be of the usual length of my writings, but it is seemingly getting there. And inevitably you will rate this attribute of my work within the scale of Good or Bad. Anyways, moving on, the environment I referred to earlier simply means that the pattern in which the process follows can either be Good or Bad, not both. And if history has not taught me wrong there is an overwhelming existence of bad in this world; and so we philosophize our best through the eyes of the greatest thinkers of our times. And my reference would include writers, critics, singers, musicians, actors, directors, composers, porn-stars, advertisers, politicians, priests, crooks, cops, and the list really does go on. Meaning the human life is on cruise control from day one en route towards ‘Bad’. And of course somewhere in the middle we look for road forks that lead elsewhere. The path of Good, an illusion to make us feel better about ourselves. Or perhaps an invisible element to our subconscious that requires us to rise above our environment, to warp in between dimensions, and to walk the path of Neo. Or perhaps we’re racing numbers 1 to 10 and Good being 0; the brief spur of moment I mentioned earlier on but did not care to explain.

The realm of the human life often wanders along the structured grid of reality, while simultaneously cross-stepping the labyrinth of the mind. If you have ever explored the layers and depths under the cascades of your own skin, you probably need no further coherence. However if you have not, and chances are, the latter applies to you, here is what I think I can explain. Every individual has three skeletal personas, much like a trinity. What you are is a unique balance within these three layers. I am not the acclaimed expert on psychology, and neither will I pose to be. What I will share next is strictly my opinion, and any relevance to your understanding will be as much a miracle as me finding a cure for denial.

Well first and foremost we have ‘the other self’.  Many would not call it natural selection as the standard practice is to select one self first and consolidate everything else around it. Well this clearly is not a panorama so pay attention. The other self is not necessarily a third element. It is the ideal form of what one plans to build itself to be. In other words it is the blue-print of what one tries to achieve. Its characteristics are most versatile and its potential are endless. It is often only subject to existing as a fragment of one’s imagination; and hardly ever is subject to actualization. Secondly, we have what I call ‘the guest’. The guest is the unknown perspective of the human realm. The guest is somewhat the outcome of what transpires towards the future. The guest rarely reflects the other self, and almost never follows suit with one over time. The guest is however the eventual form of one. Hence making them the same and not, both simultaneously. Last but never the least, what I call ‘I’. I represents the current state of one. I represents the most accurate form of the human realm and is constantly subject to change. It is most simply inspired by the other self and evolved into the guest.

Apart from all the philosophical yet uneducated definition of the human realm, what really intrigued me to write this is not to present a cheap mockery of some late night documentary from the Discovery Channel. Ever since I was a child I had recurring nightmares. As a child of course my primary instinct was to wake up as soon as I grew aware. As years went by the dream kept recurring. Of course with age grew my curiosity, and in time I began exploring this epic dream of mine. Having dreamed it recently only a little over an hour from now I could describe how the dream goes. It starts off with me starting into darkness. I would say a pitch black sky, a dry field and no wind (yes it is quite the opposite as to having dramatic winds with sound effects). As the dream progresses by seconds I get to see a person standing at far. This is where I would normally wake up as a child.

As time progresses in the dream, the darkness fades and all begins to illuminate. As the person standing at far becomes more visible, the distance shortens and I begin to struggle to get away. If you have ever tried to run while panicking in your dream, you obviously know the faster you try to run the slower you do. I soon cease to struggle and wait as the conclusion draws closer. In the process I begin to see what lies on either side. I see everything or everyone I ever cared for. I see all that was put into perspective while creating the other self. And somehow they all seem very distant. Like grains of sand they slip away into the oblivion, and the person on the other side draws nearer by the second. The finale arrives and by this time all on either side has vaporized and all the remains are the two of us. And finally the face of the other person reveals. It takes a few seconds longer before I recognize the face. It is me. It is the guest.

When people talk about the American summer traditions they often refer to bar-b-q, bikinis, cheesy beach music (Santana if you’re Hispanic but that’s different) and the works. While the choice in swim wear differs and obviously so does the choice for barbecue, it’s really all the same. It’s still soccer moms trying to fit into the trim bikinis off the shelves of aeropostale. Dads still drinking more than flipping those steaks, but I guess I don’t mind a little coal on my meat. I never liked The Beachboys, well if I have faith in my good choice of music, I probably never will. But even they sound great while getting fried under the open blue skies. So while you do hear Lil Wayne on somebody’s iPod shuffle every once in a while, the core values of an American summer are still firmly withheld on its origins from the 50s.

Yes this shade looked alot better on her. Which reminds me, I need to buy a camera.

So this past Friday (no puns please), I was sitting on the steps with my bud Ronnie while quite thoroughly enjoying a cold bottle of St. Arnold’s. Ronnie is a Vietnam War veteran and is working his last few years till retirement. The guy’s a fun chap and can seemingly never run out of war stories. So I’m waiting on what smelled to be a well-seasoned pepper steak. And the pool is full of Stewies, milfs, Brians, teenagers, Peters; I mean you get the picture. So I’m grabbing a smoke and trying to fish for inspiration under the neat blue sky. The entire afternoon went by and I was treated to what the troops back in the days called “The American Day-Dream”. On a quick note, If you think you’ve had too much to drink, try pouring out the rest of your beer onto your steak while it’s still on the grill, you’ll thank me later.

So as the evening got closer, I got weary as did everybody else. And then from across the pool from my apartment, enters Amy Parks. When you live in Texas it’s not too often you come across a local from outskirt Houston who deserves a second look. But if I’ve ever met a redhead who seemed deserving enough, it was her. She most graciously fashion red polka dots on her two-piece and well needless to say, the redneck population grew quite aware of the details. It was like watching a slow motion Axe commercial. The rest of the lone-star state seemed to fall apart as she walked around the corner and came walking towards the stairs. She stood there with a patented Molly Ringwald-esque smile, and asked why I sat dry on on a Friday afternoon (again, no puns).

Okay, here’s where I fill you in on how I happened to know Miss Parks. I met her on my first day after moving into my new apartment. We did laundry together, had a few laughs and have been “good neighbors” ever since. So she asked me to go put on a pair of trunks while she waited. With much hesitation (yeah right) I went back in and came out in my traditional Hawaiian trunks (Note that I did so in almost record time). We spent the evening playing chicken fights with much fatter women (who were on the backs of relatively thinner men) in the pool. Of course our victories were much owed to my skilled footwork under the water. As the night grew, we made toasts to the starry sky courtesy of Miss Parks. Of course I have a playlist for every occasion on my iPod and Don Mclean’s “Vincent” did not fail me.

Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” as the painter was key inspiration for the Don McLean song.

One can never comprehend the authentic nature of a southern summer night nor the afternoon; especially when you share it with a beautiful neighborhood of families, friends and classified strangers. It’s the veteran tales of the war. It’s also the testosterone-warped debate of beer supremacy. And of course it’s the soothing company of a laundry mate who every other guy gloats at you for. Sometimes it’s simply about singin’ a Lynyrd Skynyrd song all summer long.

What is freedom?

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.  ~Thomas Paine

A warning we did not take seriously, though it appeared to make sense to our vague understanding?

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.  ~Abraham Lincoln

A lesson in morality not effectively learned?

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Cliche for the ages, or the simple solution that disappoints our anticipation for the complex?

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Ideals to orchestrate rebellions in masses?

We may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost. ~Jean Jacques Rousseau

It is perishable and subject to risk of losing forever?

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows. ~George Orwell

A political mockery of what is shown but not seen?

Liberty has restraints but no frontiers. ~David Lloyd George

An ideal synonymous to liberty?

He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king. ~Saint Augustine

The poetic difference between good and evil?

Liberty is the right to choose, freedom is the result of that choice. ~Unknown Source

A state to consequence?

No man is free who is not a master of himself. ~Epictetus

A key for the lock that seperates us from the other end of that door?

Freedom means choosing your burden.  ~Hephzibah Menuhin

Discovering a deliberate outcome?

Freedom is not enough.  ~Lyndon B. Johnson

Too vague to achieve what it promises?

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.  ~George Washington

A device with immaculate potential to outlast all in its path, even time?

The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave. His fetters fall… freedom and slavery are mental states.  ~Mahatma Gandhi

The psychological promised land?

A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.  ~Baron de Montesquieu

An idea so Utopian that we cease to remember that Utopia existed at some point of time?

Eugène Delacroix's 1830 painting "Liberty Leading the People".

The question itself should never be as to what freedom or liberty stands for. What we really need to acknowledge is what actuates the thought of discovering freedom in the first place. Freedom is not merely a variation of scene, it is an alteration of state, and a modification of rights. But untill then…

The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. ~John F. Kennedy

 

Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, François Lemoyne, 1737

What is truth, if not just an illusion of one’s belief? It is the beginning and the end, of imagination and reality. It is a concept most artistically understood by the human mind. It is the end means of life and all that we persevere. It has no real proof of existence; yet it is the evidence that pushes belief on the path of judgement. It is not what you will find in this note. A only a few will question it ever after.

Not to mind my divined extract of the poetic imagination, but truth is i have always wondered what we mean by truth. I will keep this short and it is because I strongly believe that me or anybody else can never quite tell you what it is. Actually nobody has ever really been able to tell you what truth is. You have always decided on your own as believing was concerned. So does anything really make a difference when it comes to acknowledging truth? If evidence is what we seek to cement that understanding, then why is it that sometimes we see it all before our eyes and still cease to believe. Why is it that sometimes we see nothing and still believe? Our mind tells us to accept or reject; but what makes us decide, if not simply our own will? We are often subjected to accord with a certain belief of reality, but does that qualify us to be believers? The truth can be anything you choose to believe; but given the biased nature of that phenomenon, the truth can also be whatever you do not choose to believe. Either way the truth is everything around you, and nothing at all. The complex multi-dimension nature of it is possibly why it will always be beyond the naive understanding of the human intelligence.

Money, it is probably the most divine five letter word that anyone knows the definition to. And that does not refer to the word in the English dictionary; it simply refers to the fuel of the world today. Money has all the major attributes of invulnerable existence. It is versatile, and hence means it can vary in color, name, size and value, but it will always be on the other end of a worker’s paycheck. It is mobile; it travels faster than the human concept of speed of light; if you choose not to believe that, you might as well call in at NYSE. Last but never the least, it gives you a substantial amount of proof that it will keep you alive on numerous circumstances. Well money has evolved through time, what we see today is the product of thousands of years worth economic game-play.

“Money causes greed” I can never agree with that, never even a bit. See we all know money is the tool to survival, nobody needs re-schooling about that. But how many times have you ever come home from a hard day’s work and asked yourself why you slave away (in between clocking in and clocking out) at work? While most will tell you that it is for a better living; I will tell you it is a number of things that have not much to do with your living conditions. Before I go any further I would have you know that, in this segment I speak of those pushing personal monetary standards beyond living a well-paid life, the hunters. See it is not just the desire for grandeur that money tempts us with; it is also the positional security it offers us within the hierarchy model. But then I would also disagree with myself for saying that; see if tomorrow we all shift from financial to non-financial attributes, we would plunge ourselves into a different kind of excuse for petty desires.

Money has become so important to our lives (thanks to numerous landmarks in the history of the human civilization) that we have (in time) superficially learned to see the beauty of currency. The touch of money has become so much more sensual than the touch of lovers. The fragrance of a crisp note being unmatched by anything nature has to offer; much to the point where we kill all that is natural for mostly what is monetary. If the industrial revolution gave birth to work and consumerism, it also gave birth to money; and for a fact none of its children ever stopped growing. It was not money that came first; it was the dehumanizing affect on craftsmanship that built the concept of work. Soon after, there was the dawn of consumerism that trailed by the diminishing will of self-sufficiency. Point being, money came in so much later, when it did we evolved it in alignment to our conveniences, but even before that we created pre-existent conditions where greed would manifest inevitably.

When you look out your office window, you see many things and many people. Of which you filter most of what you see; you discard those uninspiring, and you literally bookmark those that trigger your desire. Followed by the epic changes mentioned above, there was a forth phenomenon that obviously was noticed, but yet again discard for being uninspiring; the new poor were born. The reason I say uninspiring is because it was a self-understood label that every individual had identified with. It was not in favor of the new motive towards industrialization, it would discourage the potential workforce. The system itself parted potential workers from the destitute, the old, and the unskilled; the secularization was to promote the new morale of working for a living through dedicated productivity. So needless to say, implementing to keep a certain known fact to them might have seemed like a rather easy bargain. The new poor were also in the race for money, just that they did not share profits of mass-production, they received a paychecks standing in a cue. Once again it was not money that had this enchanting effect on people that allowed factories to produce products and machines (humans) alike; it was the illusion of industrial growth that gave every worker to dream of becoming an entrepreneur. However, most dreams never saw past a paycheck and a holiday bonus.

“What kind of society isn’t structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system.”

-Milton Friedman (American economist), 1912

So am I trying to just sound pessimistic about the role-play of money, and not serve some sort of hypothetical solution? Am I wasting your time while you read this and only find my counter arguments? Well obvious I am, and there is nobody out there who will actually give you any resolve. See I am not a communist, and no do I find the need to be just to understand the right to entities. Of course we also should try to understand that communism is an incomplete theory. It basically asks people to be self-righteous and self-sufficient in order to self-govern without hierarchy. However we’re more learner-friendly to the ideas of socialism and its totalitarian tendencies. And until we learn to find some sort of perfect blend to serenity, money is a curse serving our greed (that only gets greedier along the way). This is so, more conveniently because money is a ‘bitch’ that never sleeps. No matter how much money you make; chances are you’ll never be quite rich. If you ignore it, it gets jealous; then comes the day you wake up, and you realize your ‘bitch’ has left; and she does not believe in getting back together.

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