Spaced out? Deranged? Hello new baby!

Do you feel like a burned out zombie? Are you mumbling to yourself as you stand spaced out in the supermarket talking to tins of processed food? Is it LSD burn out, jet lag, fallout from a world tour with the Stones? No, welcome to parenthood!

Nothing prepares you for the barrage on the senses that it having a new baby. Now there is a new little man sharing a bed with your beloved, he is demanding, unrepentant, hungry, too hot, too cold, windy (wind is public enemy #1), and very very lovely.

Everything is different. And in a good way but a lot of the sentimental speculation that you did before the arrival of the new Obergruppenfuhrer about how it would be, just don’t stack up. Cute walks in the park, endless re-runs of Kung Fu panda are nowhere to be seen. He didn’t even appreciate the football that we got him (I will keep that for when he is a couple of months).

You do get puked on, pissed on, crapped on and kept awake at times when you would give several internal organs and all your worldly goods for an hours sleep.

But thats the deal. I am now addicted to caffeine, and thank God for West wing boxed sets (I didn’t realise it would be so contrived but witty) and I am counting the days when the cholic will pass and we can try to match the homely mirage of a peaceful family life.

So before I give you the impression that I would sell, or swap my son for an iPod on eBay – I wouldn’t. Before you call social services bear in mind that I love my new son very much, I wash his shitty clothes and lovingly remove the oceans of milk that collect and harden under his little neck while he holds onto my pinky like it was a lifeline through this terrible adventure that is birth.

Corporate sponsored Miracles and a discount Paradise

“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” [Arthur C. Clarke, “How Science Will Revolutionize the Twenty-First Century” (1999) by Michio Kaku, p. 295

Some believe that sound has a divine source, that it is the primal force of creation and maybe even the source of all things. There is some substantial anthropological culture to back up this view, and it is fun to gather seemingly disparate threads that link the hems of ancient religions some living, some dead.

This idea that ‘somehow’ there is unity and purpose – coupled with the notion that nothing has any meaning are both equally alarming in their implications. How this effects you depends on how you look at things. Either realisation can result in inertia. One brought on by fear the other – laziness. Either way you must own your realisation and try to exist dynamically with your framework of choice.

So what are the threads that bind us? Some random force or a wave of meaning that is refined and merely beyond our senses? Or is the answer somewhere in between? We often look for extremes to define ourselves when more prosaic imagery would no doubt suffice. There is nothing wrong with simplicity. After all it is not the big words that are difficult – but the small ones. People can use big words all day, without the dust that lays on their brain being disturbed by the slightest pulse of movement. It’s the small words that challenge us.

More and more technology engages our senses in amazing ways, but still leaves us doubting them. Too often in this age when we encounter the miraculous (if we are fortunate enough) we treat it with the skeptical distain that we now harbour for the myriad wonders of our age. We may have gone to the moon, or not, I can talk to a friend on the other side of the planet in real time, both are miracles of different character. We are no longer moved by miracles and we now expect them, they are our due. Most now have shiny corporate logos, I await the day when we have apparitions in Lourdes brought to us by Apple.

So have all miracles been devalued to the common place? We are dedicated now to growth at any cost. All modern miracles must support this paradigm or they are seditious. Our continued expectation of an even greater tomorrow means that we will happily sacrifice our present for the hope of some great future. Our oil hungry modern world is a vampire of profligacy and speculation. We not only dig up paradise and pave it, but expect the very act of parking our cars to be an equivalent transcendent experience.

We expect so much now in this time of material strength that we cannot remember the darkness. Over time we take this new happiness to be some deserved solid state – it is anything but. Those who have Gods will thank them for the blessings in their lives, others the blind gene pool that spun their world. Is either view superior? Shall we say one or both are fools? Who is to say one is deluded by seeing the divine in a spiders web? Or another peering through the night sky or viewing a microscopic universe – believing that the sum total of everything is nothing, isn’t? Who is to say that one view is in shadow and the other in sunlight? Maybe desire colours our view more than we can realise, so we may be measured more by the quality of our aspiration than by the quality of our Gods.

Srila Govinda Maharaj Vyasa Puja 2009 Ireland

It was the Grand 81st Appearance Day Celebration of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math’s Sevaite President Acharyya, Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharyya Sri Srimad Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj on the 4th of December and on the 6th in Leitrim, we had a celebration to mark the day.

We had a great day in Ananda and Vraja’s beautiful home in lovely Leitrim, with fantastic foodstuffs prepared by Vraja Didi. Many thanks to them for their kindness and hospitality.

It was also the disappearance festival of the founder of the Sri Chaitanya Math and worldwide Sri Gaudiya Maths, Bhagavan Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupad.

Lisbon, and on and on..

All stand for Lisbon part 2. What does it all mean? As someone who did vote last time, I feel a certain degree of annoyance at being asked to vote again for the following reasons:

  • 1) It makes a mockery of the entire democratic process. We were asked to vote, we did, then oops, computer says..no..wrong answer.
  • 2) Where will this kind of thing end?
  • The next time I am asked to choose between the political wannabes and chancers that we call our political elite, and I put an x beside whoever looks the least likely to do me some personal harm, will the voting machine (lol) suddenly spring to life and shake, flashing a warning and announcing in the best voice synthesis that money can buy – “You have voted for the wrong candidate, please go to Ministry For Truth for re-education?”. I mean seriously. This is the thin end of the wedge.

    So even though I /do/ have a rather ambivalent attitude towards the democratic process as an Irishman I feel duty bound to honour the democratic process due to the bravery of Pearse, Connolly, McDonagh et al, as they did lay down their lives to rid Ireland of the colonial yoke wielded by perfidious Albion. However, that’s about where it stops. Asking a load of Donkeys who they want to lead them will yield – well – a Donkey. I have nothing against Donkeys I may add, but I would have as much faith in voting for the neighbours cat to lead the Irish people to the promised land as I would in our current crop of fearless leaders. Alas, the cat isn’t likely to put himself forward as a candidate, which is a shame – we need a political animal with cat like skills of preservation and a certain alacrity and perceptiveness that you just don’t find in humans. Also the ability to quickly climb a tree may come in handy.

    But I digress. Lisbon is /not/ about the current Fianna Fail administration but it could easily /become/ about the current Fianna Fail administration. The donkeys are not happy, are they concerned about us all walking into the arms of a European superstate? Where we freely surrender our ability to govern ourselves to some nice man called Franz, with a degree in Business Administration and a post-grad in politics – who as far as he is concerned thinks the troubles in Ireland were just a tiff, because we all now shop in Tesco? No, these things aren’t a concern. Some vague morality posturing is foremost in the minds of Coir, wrapped up in flannel about the minimum wage but really its about the unborn. But as Coir will soon discover, they just can’t successfully stem the tide with cheap shots of disinformation about the minimum wage as the Catholic church emits a death rattle. Many will vote no just to have a pop at Fianna Fail, which is daft, and pointless as many of these fools voted for them in the first place. Maybe each country gets the government it deserves.

    Either way the ship has sailed, if we didn’t want a superstate we shouldn’t have adopted the Euro, what more of a come to bed signal does anyone need? We are in bed now, roll over and scratch. Nice. I mean the treaty, not nice.

    So why are we so quick to surrender ourselves to foreign powers? Is there something wanting in the Irish psyche? Do we so miss the 800 horrible years of horrible struggle, hardship, civil war under the rule of Britain that we long for the comforting arm of a stronger nation that we can take shelter of? We are making such a balls of our country right now, should we be asking the Brits back? Oh, sorry, we were on our own for a bit an didn’t like it. There were some tough decisions to be made and a lot of cute hoors made money on the back of the new aspirational middle class..suckers..sorry the public.. Please come back and mind us!

    Well, no. That’s not a solution, is it? However, you really would be fool if you thought that we could go it alone and say no to Lisbon. Aside from trying to live with the diplomatic fallout (imagine the uncomfortable silences at breakfast while our Irish diplomatic stiffs munch croissants in the Borschette). Like it or not Europe is the model of the future. We (humanity) are so dependent on each other to prop each other up in the quest for the great American dream of conspicuous consumption and endless sense gratification. At least Europe has history, art, great music and literature. Sure the American Indians would have had that too, if we gave them a chance, and they were not all slaughtered by greedy WASPs looking for the new Jerusalem. Only on that score we will never know.

    So what to do, Yes/Non? Oui/Non? Ja/Nein? Or is the fact that the only referendum to take place is happening in one of the smallest most insignificant suburbs off, off Broadway (sic) an indicator of what Europe really thinks of us? I think we are boned if we say no. Quicker than you could say “Bjork” we would go down the swanny without the Euro paddle and all its subsidies. God, image it, a country without EU directives. We would never be able to find our way home from the pub. Or we wouldn’t want to leave it. If we say yes – will we end up in a trade war with China over who has a right to sell ‘smart economy widgets’ to the Philipines? Or will our children get dragged into an oil war? Or the next time Berlesconi publically offends Angela Merkel will we have to defend her honour by talking up arms due to this new system of alliance? Hmm, maybe that would be a war worth fighting.

    Stress is Shite

    Yes, its official. Stress is shite. Does your dinner somehow taste stale? Even when you make a spicy Arrabiata, does it seem like there is no zing? Do you feel either always ‘on’ or like you can’t get out of bed? Do re-runs of Fawlty Towers fail to make you chuckle? Well, you are probably stressed out. The last symptom is particularly worrying.

    There is a cure. Personally, after having a totally busy year in my day job as a consultant, I have started to take the power back. It’s the little things that save you. After a couple of hectic years where I got involved in HTML 5 and the W3C Protocols and Formats Working Groups, which meant that I was often working evenings and weekends, started an MSc, I recently started to take my lunch hour at work. Yes, it may not match the more popular historical revolutions, or even the velvet one, but for me it was a revelation.

    Another shock to the system was not staring at my computer during lunch, or opening Thunderbird to check mails from time to time during the evening, ‘cos I just /had/ to. I also have decided to finish work at 6! Revelation!! No more catching up on nerd techie lists when I could be watering my plants or cutting up sine waves in my recording studio, or improving my Jazz guitar chops.

    It is “mea maxima chillin’ in rancho relaxo” from now on. You don’t get any extra love for working weekends, and the macho bullshit of being always working and being always ‘on’ in our over connected society is no longer cutting any ice with me. Stress makes /everything/ seem over important while slowly bleaching your heart. It creeps under your skin to slowly steal away your sense of peace and balance. You end up cranky, unfulfilled and always chasing your tail and that’s /before/ you get to work. The lines become blurred.. where does your work life end, where does your private life begin? So turn off the phone! Abandon all forms of Information and Communication Technologies! It’s your life really, your employer just rents you for the best bits.