From dawn ’til dusk

As a child I loved philosophy and martial arts, of course this meant loving all things Bruce Lee and that meant his son, Brandon, too. He made a wonderful movie called ‘The Crow’ back in 1993 and I remember watching his last interview (on the old VHS before the movie starts) where he explains that we see life as an inexhaustible well of opportunity, that it seems limitless. He explains that the reality is that our lives are finite, posing some sobering questions; how many times would we see a sunrise or sunset? How many times will we stand under a full moon in our lifetime? Perhaps twenty? Maybe less? Or remember a day in our lives with such detail that we feel is so important to who we are that we could never forget it? Perhaps ten more times or not even that, yet it all seems limitless.

This weighed heavy on me as a young boy and something I have held onto today.

We see our lives as being limitless and move about our lives dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. We forget to the do the most important thing – live now, in the moment. If we do not, then life will pass us by and we will find ourselves old without stories to tell.

Gariwerd


In light of that experience of my youth, I have set about trying to consciously do one thing everyday that I wanted to do. One decision I took early on was to get up and watch the sunrise and set as often as I can (sometimes meaning I’d stay up throughout the night if I drank enough gin) and ponder the question ‘which one did I think was the best?’ Ultimately, for some, the answer to that question will come down to whether you fancy yourself as an optimist (sunrise-new dawn, new day) or pessimist (sunset-the end, moving into darkness). Personally, I love to look up and wonder at the stars ushered in by sunset, but after some time doing this, I came to think as Katsumoto does when he realises the beauty in the blossom of all flowers, and think of them as all being perfect.

So get up and stop whatever it is you are doing that seems so important right now and do something you haven’t don’t before. Do something that fills your soul with joy that you haven’t done for ages, you will never know how many more times you will get to enjoy it. It’s your life and you only get one chance to live it.

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Caged

I went to the zoo in Melbourne this week, it goes against every grain of my being, I believe the zoo is a sign of our inhumanity – animals hunted or brought to the brink of extinction for tusks, skins, fur and palm oil – given sanctuary in glass cages and concrete tombs. We champion our conservation skills rather than focus our attention on the destruction of their habitats and the desire of people to hunt for sport.

It was only my second visit to a zoo in about 20 years, the last coming 6 years ago with my two nephews, as I wanted them to see some of the majestic creatures that inhabit this world before we make them extinct. I feel a little conflicted by it as I appreciate the work and the ethics of the staff that work in zoos but I cannot fathom why we are not more angry that these spectacular animals are kept in such cramped conditions because of our actions and inability to coexist with them. There are  also those people who claim that it provides valuable information by studying them in captivity but that is like saying an alien race can gain valuable information studying humans by sticking them in a broom cupboard with artificial light.

Watching bears and tigers pace up and down, wolves that chase down buffalo for over a mile being fed pedigree chum (not literally) leaves me with a deep sadness as men, women and children rattle their keys, chains and scream – banging on windows to gather their attention. I think I could stomach it more if zoos were designed with the animals in mind and not us, the consumer. We have larger areas to sit and eat than an elephant. Minimising the area and aesthetics for humans would maximise the space for animals, the addition of sound proofed glass tunnels would be a good move too, in trying to alleviate the sensory overload these animals must face daily.

So what was my point after all of this? I guess that we should be trying foster a world where we don’t drive species to extinction through land management practices, manufacturing  and hunting, thus making the need for zoos either obsolete or, at the very least, significantly reduced. Until then I shall work on building my own army of the twelve monkeys.