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.

Lock the gate

The madness of society is not restricted solely to the goings on in the UK; where we have fracking and lobbyists, EDL and UKIP, so does Australia with Coal Seam Gas (CSG), Reclaim Australia and Tony Abbott.

But more about the fascists another time. Today I want to talk about mother Australia – my third trip here and a place I feel at home in. It’s the place that rekindled my human spirit and desire to forge a better life for those that come after us.

  

Australia, home to 25 million or so people mainly dotted around the sublime coastline, has some of the most diverse eco-systems and landscapes of anywhere on this world. It is home to the worlds largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, it truly is a beautiful place but also the bearer of scars of a rough history of indifference and violence towards aboriginal people and the land. 

Australia has seen a boom of engineering and colonisation over 200 years that have left it with some delicate issues with its eco-system, exacerbated in the last 6 years by the mining boom which staved off some of the economic pressures faced by the rest of the world since the recession of 2008. The trade off has been a strain on natural resources.

 

The CSG issue is what the UK call ‘fracking’ – the process of using some water to hydraulically fracture the earths crust to get some fossil fuel. In Australia, people have been launching a campaign called ‘Lock the Gate‘ to ward off would be drillers as land owners shut the doors on these vultures,  the government however, are currently in the process of changing legislation to remove the requirement for these drilling companies to ask a land owners permission to conduct exploratory drilling. As a result they get to keep what they find and the land owner gets nothing but dead land. 

Now, when I say they use ‘some’ water when fracturing, I mean 9 MILLION litres of water or more, depending on the rock formation. 9 million litres, when only 3% of the worlds water is fresh water or drinking water. 9 million litres when the South East of England is water stressed and water companies are considering pumping in water from the north to cope with the strain. 

What of Australia, one of the driest continents on the planet? Victoria recently completed a multi billion dollar desalination plant off the back of a 15 year drought to combat the situation in advance, only for it to rain a little and put off that particular problem for now, but they still recommend showers be kept to less than 4 minutes and public conveniences are supplied from collected rain water. Why, then, would they use a resource as important as water to fracture the earths crust in pursuit of an antiquated fuel source??

  

Aside from the fact that using water to fracture the earth for fossil fuel is out right madness and a sign of desperation from the energy companies to hold on to power, there are the well documented issues around what happens to the land once the earth has been fractured. There is also the issue of increased seismic activity as a result of these exploratory drills and pumping sites. 

A country with as much solar activity as Australia, it’s huge desert plains and tidal sources should be investing heavily in renewable and sustainable energy. When you consider the little things done to preserve the beauty of the country, it is amazing to think that the government are pushing CSG as a real alternative.

  

Back to the future

My next blog will be brought to you from… the future!

Delorean

Well, not exactly. I am currently in transit to the other side of planet earth, to Australia, to begin a new adventure and told my friends that the next time they see a news bulletin from me on one of my social media feeds, it would be from the future. Being between 11 hours ahead of GMT means that I can really begin to sample that famous FOX News cathphrase “before it’s history, it’s news”.

Our man-made measurement of time, or as I like to say ‘the passing of now’, has been turned on its head and used to divide us from each other. There is so much ‘time’ or earth time, or space-time (what it really is) but we have so little of it to do anything that we want and very little time for each other.

How often do you run out of earth-time/space-time to do the things you want to do? I know I do and I try to make the effort to be mindful, but it isn’t easy.

I have written about time a lot over the years, mainly because it fascinates me, particularly on my 27th birthday when I began to calculate how old I was by the hour and how I had spent each one. It was very sobering to see my life broken down into hours; rough estimates spent eating, sleeping, travelling, working etc. By the time I was 30 I looked at time differently again. But why do we call it space-time? I’ve generally always called it that and must put it down to my early experiences of sci-fi movies and TV shows but on closer reflection it makes perfect sense.

Consider for a moment what you do when you arrange to meet someone and what elements make up that meeting.

How did you do? You probably found that you went through a familiar process of selecting either a date or venue first (depending on which was most pressing/easy) followed by a time. Without these elements we would never meet anyone except by chance encounters.
We prefix the meet with a time and a space (place), one without the other would mean that we would forever miss each other. That is, say, to meet me at the Millennium Bridge might be suitable for us both, but without a time and date you would have to wait there until I showed up, assuming I hadn’t already been and left. The same goes for telling me you will meet me at 1100hrs. Without a place we would be lost in an endless loop of 11am’s, hoping to bump into each other – much like Matt Damon in the movie The Adjustment Bureau when he hopes to stumble across Emily Blunt’s character by riding the same bus, at the same time everyday.

I think I heard Terence McKenna talk about this first but it makes sense right?

When it comes to the subject of time it is full of paradoxes and open to interpretation. What will really bake your noodle is this; you can move through space at the speed of light but you can’t move through time at the same rate.

Remember, the only time you have to concern yourself with is now.

My first trip down under forced me to re-evaluate my perception and meaning of time, out there you could lay in the road in some places all day and not have to worry about being run over. I travelled to one town (if you can call it that) for 8 hours – my mate and I called it ‘the longest day’, and not see another vehicle or person (save for the odd road kill) the entire stretch. Life was set at a better pace, not the frantic rat race that we see everyday in the UK. Even the most idyllic areas of the UK are victim of this phenomenon I call manufactured time shortage.

It’s been a while since I spent a significant period of time in Oz, there’s possibility that the mood has changed and the constant whizzing around is a part of daily life in places outside of the major cities. We’ll see, but I like to think not.

I might be 11 hours ahead on the man-made measurement of time but will be right there with you where it counts, now.

Calm down doctor, fear comes later
Calm down doctor, fear comes later

Thin blue line