Neglected patterns in a coffee cup.


just for a moment of peace before an intense study session, I decided today just to stare at my freshly served coffee and not drink it for a while.

I saw how bubbles gently grew from the coffee’s frothy top, slowly building a pattern over it’s surface.

Maybe that doesn’t seem so special in isolation, but the point is, I’d never noticed that before…I could try and argue that peculiarity with the fact I rarely drink coffee with milk, but the reality of it is that there was an every day sight, which I had missed every day of my life from rushing through every moment.

Those calm little bubbles were strangely relaxing to watch. Somehow, it was a new experience.

Take a minute today to look at something insignificant, and find some beauty that has been left unseen your whole life. It will be a moment worth having.

firelight


Come, firelights,

Show me a path through mountains.

Aid my broken steps,

Set each on stony ground, not to fall

And fail again.

 

Come, light my way.

Weave round trees and silver leaves;

Guide this weary heart,

Bring back its beat to the strength

Of the drum.

her truest love


the wind sighs gently over the branches, almost bare of their mantles of crisp leaves. With each break in the wind, the branches too sigh, a peaceful burden lifted, letting them rise back to the sky. With each lifted burden, another leaf falls.

Weaved from the tree’s old cloaks, a carpet of red and gold forms, slowly yet surely. One more leaf tumbles on the breeze and makes its way to its place in the golden carpet.

A fox sits contemplating, watching the leaves drop, one after another after another. She stares all around her in wonder, as if she has realised her kindred spirit with her home. In the blazen colours surrounding her being, she feels an impossible warmth, a truest love.

The wind sighs gently through her fiery coat, but the wind lacks the forest’s new love. The fox turns to face the breeze, chilling now, as if it were ice itself. Looking up, she sees one last leaf on the branches. Alone, like her, in a forest of naked trees. She feels more forlorn than she ever has, knowing that when it falls, her truest love will be gone and the snow will replace the autumnal hearth.

The wind sighs and the last leaf flickers, struggling against its gnarled branch to stay. The fight is lost. It twists and turns, as if in excruciating pain, through the ever colder air biting it as it falls. It takes its final place, filling the final hole in the golden carpet.

The fox lowers her gaze and turns away. The bitter cold is come, her truest love is gone.

If I were to wake



If I were to wake;

  breath the unknown air,

The life I live and love a lie,

A cover to a truth near death.

If I were to wake.

.

Remember the lakes and golden fields,

Hurtle away

 beside me and my madness

A glance of peace

Before a sudden painless storm.

Where there is no pain,

There is no fear:

The final flight knew only joy

And resignation.

.

If I were…

.

Remember the flight; the memory gone.

Instead a hole, a lingering cave

Hidden within, a moment a lost.

The choice: to forget

Accept and go

Or risk the world

And know.

.

If I were to wake,

A Life I lived a lie

If I were.

This might interest some of you…


I’ve just moved to Beijing! I’ll be studying here for a year, so I’ve set up a separate China blog, which you can find here, Which might just interest some of you guys.

Last time I was in China the lack of a VPN meant that this blog halted for a whole year, but this time I can (at least currently) still use websites banned in China (including wordpress)

But now…I can run this blog, AND a China-focused one too. Oh the possibilities.

So if you want to know what I’m up to this year when not dropping into deep thought, or learning languages (at the other blog…), drop by TVGinChina

Identity – Do you know who you are?


I’m thinking currently about identity, more specifically what my identity is.

This is a word that carries much weight. It builds pride. It fuels hate. It’s formed communities. It’s caused wars.

It’s a very hard concept to define, seeing as an obvious description would almost certainly circle round an idea of what, or who you are. The problem lies in a wrenchingly difficult question –

Do we actually know what, or who we are?

In both more literal and more philosophical terms, I without a doubt don’t know who I am. I challenge anyone to honestly answer the above question.

Whatever answer one gives is innately affected by ones opinions or world view, which can dramatically turn a similar set of circumstances in physical terms into a completely different story. One could perhaps say that it is in fact these differences in opinion which make up our identities.  Perhaps our identities are a sum of our experiences in life.

But then we have no fixed identity. The sum of our experiences changes by the second. If our identity is defined by our experiences, then my Identity has changed since I started writing this article, and your’s has changed since you started reading it.

Given this concept – that Identity is never fixed – why has it on numerous occasions had such destructive power? Why is it that ‘identities’ such as white, black, woman, man, red guard, nationalist; has caused such painful divides and violence in the past? Where did this ability to feel so secure and ‘right’ come from such a transient concept?

My belief here stems from the understanding that the above questions actually regard collective identity and not personal identity. I would also go as far as saying that such group identities are not truly identity. I accept this is a difficult claim to make considering my inability to define identity contently, but hear me out.

The only way a collective identity can form is for it to be exerted on others and then for it to become accepted by the individual. One can prescribe to this collective identity, but they can always leave. You might join a political group, or be a fan of a particular sports team, but is that who you are?

I’ll put this into perspective with myself. I’m born in the UK, to parents from New Zealand. Do I need to consider myself part of the collective groups of British and New Zealand nationality? No, states are essentially areas of land held together by invisible lines that only exist in the minds of world leaders.  I’m a student of German and Chinese, so must I only speak those languages? No, I know a reasonable amount of a few others. I’m pretty left wing, so must I vote for the labour party? No, I can vote for whoever I want to.

But many will prescribe to supposed given collective identities. Born in the UK, must support England in the world cup. Family is athiest, must be athiest yourself. Friends listen only listen to metal, must listen to metal to fit in. Born a guy, can’t become an au pair. Born a girl, can’t become a professional footballer.

…really? Collective identities are more often than not external pressures to conform. They can trap you into thinking in a way that isn’t necessarily what you truly think. They can make you be what you aren’t.

And yet they offer security. to be part of something collective is to have a common aim, common joys, common pains. For many, it’s a beautiful thought and in a world where so much is illusion, a comforting illusion it must seem all the better.

And yet, it is truly a self-absorbed view to think that many don’t become parts of a collective identity because that is exactly how they identify rather than having that identity pushed onto them. The difficult thing to try and dissect is how much exactly is pushed onto a person, and how much identifies truly with the person.

But whatever the case, there is a huge divide between personal identity and collective identity, although most of us will take the sum of our collective identities as our personal identity.

Now, my personal problem with this, and where this article loses any momentum it had, is that I can’t agree that a personal identity, with it’s innately unfixed, ever-changing nature, can be a construction of ones numerous collective identities, with their fixed and exerted-on-others nature.

It leads me to only one possible (rather non-) conclusion, that we have no personal identity. At least, that is, until we find it independently of our collective identities, which seems near to impossible. The closest that seems possible, is a total acceptance that we are. This is something that I can only do in writing, and not yet in reality, and this is almost certainly the case with nearly everyone alive.

So now you have read this, I want you to go to the top of this page again and read the second line, with this question in mind. If personal identity is nearly impossible to know, and collective identity is exerted onto us, why does it carry that weight I mentioned at the start of this article?

Perhaps, given that knowledge, it is best to disown identity, and try to do independently what you think is closest to who you actually are. It might save the world a lot of pain.