Addictive

Perpetually he chases the chemical equilibrium
That hazardous balance between numbness and delirium
Taste reminiscent of inspiration long past
Since the time he swore that this was the last
Long exhale and melt like ice to a puddle
This feeling like freedom so long has he struggled
The missing soul pieces fraudulently replaced
By body and mind sent recklessly to waste

Puppets

To a certain extent humans can read minds. When we communicate there is a lot more going on than just the words we say. All sorts of nuance and emotion is communicated via our facial expressions and body language. As children we learn to read and replicate these nonverbal¬†forms of communication. I think that’s one reason why cartoons and puppets are so popular with children. Their faces are simple, their expressions exaggerated and clear. This makes it easier for the child to place an emotional template over the character, which is a skill they must learn before they can mind-read at an adult level.

Atonement

I would like to tell you two stories from my life with similar beginnings and very different endings.

One night in my late teens, a friend and I were standing outside a fast food restaurant. Several meters away were two girls about our age. An older man was talking to them and he was obviously making them uncomfortable. One of the girls looked over to me pleadingly, as if asking for me to intervene. I did nothing. I don’t know if it was indecision or fear or shyness. I wanted to help them, but for some reason I couldn’t. We walked away, and though I’m sure no harm came to the girls, I felt like I had failed somehow. That, though I had no obligation to intervene, it would have been the right thing to do.

For years that incident bugged me. The kind of memory that pops up occasionally to give you a little stab of shame and regret. I used to have a lot of those, these days I am more at peace with my past.

Then, one morning a few years later, I was on a train on my way to the city. A few seats away sat two teenage girls.An older man in the seat opposite was talking to them, I can’t remember what about. The girls were laughing awkwardly and the man’s behaviour was giving off a predatory vibe. The train rolled into the station and the girls quickly got up and made a beeline for the exit with the creepy guy in pursuit. I took it upon myself to do something, perhaps remembering the first incident, perhaps just because I had matured and changed somewhat in the few years that had passed. At the escalator to the concourse I placed myself ¬†between the girls and the man. An argument quickly broke out as he tried to push past me to get to them. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but it culminated in him threatening to assault me just as we passed the turnstiles. This was a big mistake on his part as we were in full view of several security guards who quickly moved in to pacify the situation. All this had given the girls time to leave the station. I left too, as the man was now shouting at the guards instead of me and made my way to the city’s central plaza, which was only a few hundred meters away. As I made my way down from the elevated walkway from the train station I heard a crash behind me. I turned and saw that a “slippery when wet” sign had landed about a meter away. A man nearby said, “I think someone just threw that at you.” I saw the two girls from before looking at me and asked them, “Was that the guy?” One of them said, “Yes,” and “thank you.”

For me, these two incidents pose some interesting questions about morality. Firstly: Given a situation such as these, does one have a moral obligation to intervene? Or, given that it doesn’t concern you directly, is it better to mind your own business and stay out of it? In other words: Is it right to be a white knight? To impose your morality on a situation if you feel that it is necessary. Perhaps in some cases it is and others it isn’t. In these two instances I certainly feel like stepping in was or would have been the right thing to do.

Secondly: If intervening in such a situation is right, does my action in the second incident somehow make up for my inaction in the first? Is there some karmic equilibrium that can be reached when one’s good deeds equal their mistakes? I’m certainly proud of myself for how I handled the man in the city, but it only occurred to me today that maybe one act vindicates the other. If nothing else, I think that original sense of failure helped to sway my decision to act in the second event. Perhaps guilt and remorse are our moral compass’s way of telling us we are going in the wrong direction. If we can learn from these feelings, we can make better choices in the future. Then, if we are presented with the right situation, we can make the right decision where in the past we would have failed and psychologically atone for our past mistakes. Perhaps that is where the real karma lies, in our own mind’s judgement of ourselves and whether our past makes us worthy.

Somnolence

I welcome sleep
That sweet relief from the ecstasy of experience
The agony of constant sensation
Life, for all its joyous moments
Can also be tiresome and monotonous
A yolk of burden upon my living soul
I don’t fear death
For as much as I don’t want my life to end
I know one day it will
And I will be relieved of all obligation
All guilt and expectation
Returned to that purest of states
Nonexistence
Death is my long absent friend
Whom I will once again embrace
At long last
Nothingness, the home of my soul
Whence it came, it shall return
And finally
Sleep

Whiteout

image

Dirty clouded evening sky
Hides a city from the eyes
Of gods and angels upon high

The people scatter every way
Rushed to relax and end their day
Only the hooded hoodlums stay

Obelisks of steel and glass
Where once was only trees and grass
Will one day fall for rot or blast
And become ruins of ages past

Night will fall and day will come
The ants will march back one by one
Pointless work is never done

High above the people and cars
I see the towers from afar
Tonight these windows are my stars