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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Blog 106: Stagnant and Stationary Self-discovery

Know thy enemy and thyself and you need not fear the outcome of a thousand battles was the quite reasonable theory of a Chinese strategist Sun Tzu. My enemy is for the moment and has for the best part of my life been boredom, we’re well acquainted. Through familiarity with boredom I know myself ever more. People talk about journeys of self-discovery, traveling abroad to ‘find themselves’ which I’m finding ever more absurd as I remain where I am, as I do the same thing day in and out.

On a journey we meet new people and learn things about them and the world where as stuck in place I feel we are better poised to look within ourselves. Day after day I clean the same rooms in a hotel and day after day I return to find them trashed by drunks with no regard for the time limit I have to clean a room set by someone in an office, possibly in another country. This person might never have heard of Aberdeen or considered the scale of destruction half a dozen drunken louts can wreak within a room between check in at three in the afternoon and noon the next day.

While I clean I have a lot of time to think, escaping the cycle of destruction, restoration and making beds by walking through far flung realities within my own mind. I have hours to consider my view on any particular subject that might be raised by the daily papers left next to televisions I must dust or to learn Polish from my co-workers. Free tutelage in a foreign language, dziękuję.

I’m in a job I’m overqualified for just as anyone with independent thought and free spirit would be but my stagnant and stationary self-discovery feels as valid as any story about a gap year in the third world that I could never afford.

People moan about the density of foreigners within our country, immigration’s terrible isn’t it? No. I see the faces of foreign places, the words of foreign languages and I think how lucky I am to live in a time where even if I can’t afford to see the rest of the world as much as I might like to children of other nations will surround me that I might learn their ways in the comfort of Scotland. I hate the heat of strong sunlight which makes me sweat which in return causes rashes to cover my oversensitive skin. If stories of the sunny equatorial regions fly their way to me then why moan about it? I joy in the possibilities of genetic diversity the present and future hold with people moving so freely across the globe. Genetic predispositions to illness or other maladies could be negated with less pedigreed genetic pool.

I have to wonder if the morons who clamour for racial purity have really paid attention to the portraits of communities in the past. I saw one a while back while on holiday in a rural region of Scotland, the portrait of an entire village. The whole image seemed to detail every minute change you could make to the one face in order to render one individual as many. Each villager had the same nose, the same shape of face, the same jawline and ears. If that’s the past we’ve left behind good riddance. Our ancestors inbred because they could not or would not summon the effort to leave their native hills and valleys. There’s nothing romantic or patriotic about marrying your brother or sister and being both parent and aunt or uncle to your children.

Through this view of not just the advantage but very real need for genetic diversity which lighten some of the load bourn by our strained health services by improving genetic health I have been considering once again the concept of uniformity. Schools have an obligation to educate us in more than just academic fact but not to set impressionable children bad examples in terms of socio-politic concept. In this last respect I think any school which enforces and idolises the uniform fails its pupils at a very basic level. The purpose of uniform is to nurture a group mentality which may benefit the school as a unit but suggest a group mentality to the detriment of individuality which seems unhealthy. We live in a world of individuals, each unique and better for it. To program us to fit in by wearing the same clothes as school bothers me for the same reason I hate to be turned away from an establishment for my chosen garments or hear stories of outsiders picked on by groups with a hive mentality.

In America all of the gangs have a form of uniform; The Bloods show their allegiance by wearing red, the Crips wear blue and the Latin Kings wear yellow. We are better together for certain but can’t that mean the group is humanity or life itself which is the outsider in an otherwise cold and empty universe?

We must follow our own path in life, unhindered by the rest of humanity and equally helping others along their own road. I hear of depression amongst those who live undeniably comfy lives here, supported by a welfare state and one of the best healthcare systems in the history of the world. I hate the days where I feel I’ve done nothing to further my goal of being a writer/visual artist. I think that anyone with any concept of where they want to go in life will suffer depression if they no they’re making no progress. Even those who live without a dream or vague aspiration must strive for one. We are programmed to grow at every level. There is no limit to our ambition, we must move ever onward for our own peace of mind.


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