The full “long” story so far

“Happiness, the pursuit of which humankind spent its entire short life chasing. By the time they found it there was no time to enjoy it, and even this were for the lucky few that made it past 80 years old”

Gasp! The room of students were shocked

“Teacher, they only lived to 80? Thats crazy, my parents are 530 years old, how come people used to live such short lives?

“Yes, good question Portguas. Before we discovered the science that extends our lifetime, it was very rare to live past 80 years. Many people died of sickness or conflicts at even earlier ages. Some even died before they were even eighteen!

“But thats almost as old as us, thats a little bit scary to think of”

“Put it aside! Smile and appreciate. This is all ancient history, the average lifespan of humanity is 1500 years, thanks to the serum, that modifies our DNA to prevent aging. It is only possible to pass away from violence, and with our extended lives war and violence is unheard of.”

Sir? What is war?

“I can cover that in the next history lesson. For now lets move onto private study. Open your text books to the chapter “Wellness starts from your choice” and continue reading in silence”

Yes teacher!

After class I was cleaning up the desks around the room. The children certainly know how to mess up the room. Pens and papers littered the floors, especially around Nirvana’s desk, which presents a mess as an artform. It may of been my distraction that allowed me to fail to sense the presence of two suited persons awaiting my attention by the door.

They were sporting “wellness squad badges” and their facial expressions beamed positivity enough to intoxicate.

Startled, I switched my attention over to them.

“Greetings and salutations officers! What an amazing day it is to be alive!”

“Greetings citizen. You were filmed teaching children about the concept of death. Lessons about history and mortality breeds negativity. Please explain your actions”

“Knowing how bad things were in the past, and how humanity has progressed will grant a higher level of appreciate for the beauty of life”

“Deviation from the core values of optimism, wellness and smiles is in direct violation of your position and a negative thing to do. Consider this a warning. Have an amazing day!”

“Always! Appreciate the message. May your day be wonderous!”

At that, they both spun on their heels, and quickly strode from the room.

It wasnt always like this, harbouring the only real thoughts in your head and projecting this fake persona to the world. It was only the last 300 years or so that optimism was passed into law. Being careful how you speak and your facial expressions is important and slipping up can lead to dire circumstances.

This is certainly more apparent to be seen working for the department of knowledge. A fanciful name at best, what is taught here is indoctrination. There is some leeway here and at least I get to influence the next generation, small though it may be. My quality of life is also significantly better then your average worker, let alone the poor sods living below the city.

After my riveting discussion with those fine gents, I felt lunch would give me the uplift I needed to get thru my afternoon lessons. Walking past the monitoring rooms, the walls of the corridor leading to the canteen are plastered with motivational posters

“Reach for the skies!”

“Do today what was impossible yesterday!”

“Stay positive to stay above the ground!”

“Only the happy truly live here ^_^”

Always such an empowering hallway. Its always important to feel super amazing after walking past posters like these, even if its only externally, after all there is always someone paying attention.

Upon entering the lunchroom I found my usual crowd, They were all teachers and we liked to discuss curriculum content. We would even have quite heated debates about this from time to time.

The three of them were sitting around a square table, an empty chair seemingly available and awaiting me.

There was Niles, the math teacher. He was exactly what you would picture a man of numbers to be like. Slightly greying hair, horned spectacles (mostly for show, his sight was perfect) and usually wearing a sweater vest. Niles was a strong believer in having students unplugged and learning with pen and paper. He was a bit of a relic in that respect, but he seemed to garner a lot of respect from the students for it, even if they complain every day about it.

Next to him, laughing between gulps of stew and short breaths of conversation, was the language teacher June. She was a passionate teacher who always seemed fit to burst into laughter at any given moment. Her teaching method was generally one of “talk until someone pays attention”. Which being a language teacher, this worked well for her classrooms.

Finally, a little bit to the side, cautiously examining his lunch was Jasper, the Medical knowledge instructor. He was certainly a quiet one, though when he got talking about serum science and genetics he would talk until dawn if you let him.

As I came to sit in my spot, i joined the group part way into their conversation.

“… one of the boys tells me – It isn’t his job to know what x is, and that if the teacher doesn’t know then clearly it is unattainable knowledge

“This is clearly not positive behavior from the boy, I didn’t reprimand him, but he was escorted away a couple of minutes later. Dang efficient those Wellness Squad are indeed! He came back into class for the next lesson, happy as can be, so he must of had a good talking to”

June jumped in

“We are looking at taking out the prefixes un and de across the entire curriculum. Soon surprise guests (June had a way of talking in italics that very few can mimic) will replace the uninvited. There is too much pessimism in words starting with un in particular. Unexpected, unintentional, destabilise and such words carry too many feelings of mistakes or not appreciating whats life in all its splendor. Huge steps are being taken everyday to further the frontiers of optimistic communication”

June was what i would call a child of the new world. She was only 196 so she didn’t know what the world was like pre-serum. Brimming with pride and not a single repressed thought or emotion, I don’t think she has the capacity to comprehend being unhappy, fear or even death, and how these things can affect your overall mood.

Frankly, I am just a tad jealous of her, it takes alot of effort to maintain a positive image 24 hours a day. Forcing myself to grin and smile to holo-ads, laughing on cue is important as well. Let alone watching what you say and how, a simple slip of the tongue showing displeasure or lacking appreciation can put you in the Wellness squads black books and lose you your serum-subscription very quickly.

Finally, Jasper noticed my arrival

“Ah, exhilarating that you could join us for lunch Beach, I was afraid your history lesson went awry”

“It went well Jasper” I said, “But always opportunities!. The Wellness squad found my curriculum about life expectancy somewhat morbid. I stand by it though,without an understanding of the conditions of the past, the appreciation for today is only surface level, or habitual. I want the students to have a true grasp of how good they have it and having a comparison point is vital for that”

Once again, June jumped in.

“Completely agree with the Wellness squad on this one Beach, they really know their stuff! People don’t need to know about such topics like death and war. How can anyone expect to be happy knowing such things used to exist?”

Jasper piped in

“If you end up teaching you planned lessons on war history you will end up in rehabilitation. We are fortunate we are government workers, even mentioning some of these topics outside of this building would be risky. What if one of your students starts blurting out things about death in the streets?”

and then they come to my optimistic language lessons and I have to work it out of their vocabulary. You could be teaching much more useful content Beach”

“Indeed June! thank you for the feedback”

The conversation gently dribbled away at this point, and I made sure to take some notes (its always important to take notes, so people see you value what they told you). The rest of lunch was consumed in relative silence, with the general clatter and clank of dishes the backdrop for small snippets of conversation.

There were virtual lessons in the afternoon session. When I was a child doing virtual lessons meant visiting historical landmarks via a headpiece. I’d visit ancient cities like Rome, Venice or Melbourne, taking a walking tour and experiences cultural events. I always enjoyed the sporting festivals of the past, the Olympics being a favorite.

The experience for my students was certainly different. The past was something of a shadow, and did not warrant too much scrutiny, and lessons about it were seen as “provoking a regressive response”. Instead, my students were flooded with positive images and serene music. They would gain insight into how this city operates and learn about the various societal structures they would become a part of, usually this content was narrated over non-intrusive visual content, such as a beach or a flower-filled meadow.

Suffice it to say, the students felt very relaxed and informed after their virtual lessons.

After my afternoon lessons my students wished me a jolly farewell, and I lovingly responded. Maintaining a doting and compassionate teaching style was important to ensure the students can approach me and seek life lessons.

The walk home after school was something a delightful trek for me. Most of the other teachers used the sky-rails, to avoid some of the thicker crowds and intrusive advertising. I preferred to walk, even though there was a stigma attached with seeking to talk home alone. As I walked down the street the imposing Department of Education towered behind, and the residential sector loomed ahead. Holographic images bombarded my every attention, some portrayed as my mother asking for cleaning supplies, one was portrayed as my childhood crush offering a strip tease. The advertisements knew what made the viewer tick, and based off where my attention lingers they would evolve and adjust to better sell me products.

Still, despite this I enjoyed walking home from work. It was about a twenty minute walk, and without it I would do very little to no exercise at all. There was an inherent risk that comes with walking the streets by yourself, if a patrol stopped you its fairly easy to justify, selling the point of “loving the exercise”, but if your caught doing it too often they will generally rectify it by making you seek social interactions forcibly. Social interactions are a staple of modern society and seeking to avoid them is a slippery slope to oblivion.

#5

The full โ€œlongโ€ story so far (to read the full story so far, including this part of the story)

 

There were virtual lessons in the afternoon session. When I was a child doing virtual lessons meant visiting historical landmarks via a headpiece. I’d visit ancient cities like Rome, Venice or Melbourne, taking a walking tour and experiences cultural events. I always enjoyed the sporting festivals of the past, the Olympics being a favorite.

The experience for my students was certainly different. The past was something of a shadow, and did not warrant too much scrutiny, and lessons about it were seen as “provoking a regressive response”. Instead, my students were flooded with positive images and serene music. They would gain insight into how this city operates and learn about the various societal structures they would become a part of, usually this content was narrated over non-intrusive visual content, such as a beach or a flower-filled meadow.

Suffice it to say, the students felt very relaxed and informed after their virtual lessons.

After my afternoon lessons my students wished me a jolly farewell, and I lovingly responded. Maintaining a doting and compassionate teaching style was important to ensure the students can approach me and seek life lessons.

The walk home after school was something a delightful trek for me. Most of the other teachers used the sky-rails, to avoid some of the thicker crowds and intrusive advertising. I preferred to walk, even though there was a stigma attached with seeking to talk home alone. As I walked down the street the imposing Department of Education towered behind, and the residential sector loomed ahead. Holographic images bombarded my every attention, some portrayed as my mother asking for cleaning supplies, one was portrayed as my childhood crush offering a strip tease. The advertisements knew what made the viewer tick, and based off where my attention lingers they would evolve and adjust to better sell me products.

Still, despite this I enjoyed walking home from work. It was about a twenty minute walk, and without it I would do very little to no exercise at all. There was an inherent risk that comes with walking the streets by yourself, if a patrol stopped you its fairly easy to justify, selling the point of “loving the exercise”, but if your caught doing it too often they will generally rectify it by making you seek social interactions forcibly. Social interactions are a staple of modern society and seeking to avoid them is a slippery slope to oblivion.

 

Purpose

I was wandering an well trodden path when I met an old man at a bench.

He asked me “what is your purpose?”

Taken aback, I told him to bugger off and mind his own business.

I then continued down the path. Reached a waterfall and spent the afternoon enjoying natures splendour. On the walk back the old man just smiled, and waved ne by.

I went home, went to sleep, went to my job, met a woman, became a husband,travelled overseas and was successful in my career.

and yet, I would think of the old man.

Why did he wait at that path asking people about their purpose?

I went back, this was many years later. I had expected the old man to no longer be there, and was prepared to just walk by and enjoy the outdoors.

The man was there, visably older and smiling with fewer teeth then before. He asked me

“What is your purpose?”

Thinking, I said “to be happy and successful”

Laughing, the old man said “that is just a symptom! Come back when you know!”

Confused again, I went straight home. Told my wife I loved her and went to sleep.

My encounter with the man drove me to seek more wisdom. I visited nepal and spoke with monks. I climbed mountains, painted sunsets and enriched my every sense.

My wife and I had three beautiful children, and in their faces I could see the world. I knew what my purpose was.

I went back to the path, prideful and victorious knowing what to say to the old man.

When I reached the bench, there was no man. Next to the bench was a wreath of flowers and a small wooden cross, and I sat, grieved and looked to the sky.

As I sat young man came walking by, and I thought “why not”

I asked him “what was his purpose?”

The young man said “bugger off geezer”

With a smile, I waved him on and waited.

With purpose.

Cant sleep

Staring into an artificial light

Seeking my minds rest

Finding only a pointless distraction

Sleep is my only request

.

Even now I struggle with thought

considering pleasantries and allegories

The roof looms as I stare into its slate

As my waking dreams share my memories.

Appendix

Wholeheartedly underappreciated

I toil, underpaid and overworked.

They call me vestigial

I’d prefer something more regal

I am the appendix

 

I source good bacteria

my purpose should be clearer.

The author is missing me

even whilst he drinks tea

I am the appendix

 

Usually I cause no hassle

until I do, then its a struggle.

Left alone I’ll be fit to burst

linger still and you’ll need a hearse

I am the appendix

 

 

 

 

The other view

Today he told me he loved me

But just before that

He rolled down a hill

screaming “I’m a cat”

 

There was something off

everytime we went out

His personality changed

And I see more sides then I can count

 

Then that night he was a duck

Spent six hours being a sheep

He said “some of us are more equal then others”

Not me, I’m just odd. Then went to sleep.

 

After that he disappeared

I moved on, fighting my tears

Found love and joy once more

Sadness to happiness, cries to cheers.

 

Seven years later I saw on the news

“Madman jumps into fire to save a gran”

Upon interview he only wished to say

It was a nat twenty, and I am the diceman

On being a diceman #2

In my previous blog, I discussed the ideological nature of embracing chance (On being a diceman #1). While this is one starting point, It was not the point I began at. The idea of following the “chances” decision as a means of interpreting my essence is a pretty passive one, and one that does not create a worthwhile sense of “self”

Today I wish to discuss the active elements of embracing chance in your life. This will be dealt with at two levels; The practical level and the personal level.

To embrace chance in your life in a practical sense there is a couple of ideological standpoints that need to be a core component of your way of thinking. Luckily, these are pretty good general sets of advice anyway and something I have strived towards for some time… these are;

  • Accepting that any or all experience can be a positive one
  • Understanding that I am capable of anything I put serious effort into (apart from physically defying the current physics of this universe)
  • Embracing chance and in a state of constant reflection/observation

To further delve into these, I provide the following examples:

1. On the whim of a dice roll, on one late evening I asked it “should I walk home from perth train station (the local city centre) or wait 45 minutes for the next train (it was super late, like at 2am, and I was somewhat inebriated). The dice said to walk, and during this walk I was put into a scenario of being chased by two unwholesome individuals who wanted my wallet. I managed to run away, but my god did it hurt afterwards. Most people would consider this a negative experience, I considered this experience to be a valuable lesson in “its time to get fit Ed”

2. On another whim of a dice roll, I asked it “Should I start to write poetry”. Prior to this experience, I had very little practical knowledge of it, and the learning curve was very steep. After some time I feel my poetic abilities have improved, and this mostly derived from practice, and reading A LOT of poetry online and in books (thank-you fellow bloggers by the way). I still have a ways to go, but I certainly feel like I have progressed in this.

3. On yet another whim of a dice roll, I asked it “should I be anger or tired today”. I subsequently spent the next 6 hours being angry at all manner of things. Upon reflection, this allowed me to vent out some much needed stress, and also got me to see many things in a new perspective. It was a valuable experience.

So that is the ideological standpoints I adapt in my dicing. In a practical sense, the only thing you need to do is…

Identify something that requires a decision (or a choice in how to act/behave etc)

In some way list some possible choices/solutions to that decision

In some way allocate a way of producing a random result that can determine different items on that list (for example, in a list of 2 you could flip a coin. In a list of 6 you could roll a 6-sided die etc)

Follow-thru with that choice wholeheartedly and fully adapt that decision as if it was your natural choice. (this step is the hardest!)

This last step links in with the personal level of embracing chance.

and this one is slightly more complicated, and hopefully my capacity to articulate this into meaningful explanation is sufficient.

Typically, and according to certain Greek Philosophers, everyone has a dominant personality (not dominant in that way master). These can be split up in a variety of ways, some suggesting there are 4 “types” of people (these being the Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic*) -check out Hippocrates writings for more there.

However you identify things, there are characteristics in people that one would consider to be their “main” characteristics. Ask someone to describe themselves and you will probably get some of this from them.

So when an individual encounters a problem that requires a decision to be made, this decision would normally be made in such a way that complements how that individual would normally act. For example, my ‘way of thinking’ is typically a logical and observational one, so if I encounter a problem I will seek data and try to understand that problem completely before I tackle it. You could say I am Melancholic.

However, a part of me, a recessive personality, would see the problem in a empathetic way, or an impulsive way, or so on.

This is where the dice/chance come in.

Upon deciding on a course of action to take, I can identify different ways of dealing with the problem that I typically would not normally consider.

Allowing me to experience viewpoints and outcomes of problems in a way that I would not normally experience. Often this leads to negative scenarios, but this is all just a learning process (everything can be, after all positive right?)

The last thing to discuss if to incorporate both the practical and personal into an example that can explain both, and here it is.

Lets say I go to a Pub. When ordering a pub meal, my dominant self would typically order the parmigiana (its a pretty safe meal, delicious and cover with cheese, whats not to love!). However, some part of me might want the steak, another part of me wishes I was vegetarian and wants the tomato salad, another part of my thinks I should fast and have nothing. I choose the following list for my 6-sided die to decide on:

1-2: Order the Parmy

3: Get the steak

4: Get the tomato salad

5: Get nothing, you felt fat today

6: Ask the staff what they would like to eat

You may notice that I gave more chances to the Parmy, this is my list after all and I choose the odds, either way it gives your recessive personality a chance to experience what it wants (so don’t do 1-6 parmy, a waste of time)

Now apply this practice to any to all decisions.

On that note, this has turned into an essay into itself, so I’ll leave it at that.

If you have any questions, want to know more or feel this requires more clarification let me know via a comment or an email

Or if you just plain think I’m loony, let me know too

Thanks for reading all this way ๐Ÿ™‚

~Ed

 

*Sanguine: Typically the extrovert. Active, vibrant and socially charismatic.

Choleric: Extrovert as well, but more goal orientated, independent and tend to enjoy being in charge

Melancholic: The introverted analyst. Meticulous and more observative

Phlegmatic: The empath. Typically more serene and quiet natured, they are more of the supporting encouraging type