Struggle?

Struggle.

What is struggle?

It’s a strange one, when you really try to break it down and describe it. We hear this world dropped so casually in conversation, struggle, as if it is like an obstacle course that needs to be completed, or a challenge that needs to be accepted.

But struggle is so far from that. Struggle isn’t boot camp — it isn’t a place where someone blows a whistle and you do as you’re told lest you be punished. Struggle isn’t school — it isn’t a place where thoughts and ideas are handed to you on paper and you memorise the way others think. Struggle isn’t a workout — it isn’t an action where you come out feeling exhausted in all the right ways.

Struggle, is that part of life that is so common around us that we don’t even know what it looks like.

We only know what it doesn’t…

What does it look like?

It’s when the kid across the road is carrying far so many bags that probably outweigh his little body, and he’s trying to drag all of it to the bus stop.

It’s when your friend stutters in every conversation because he’s nervous about what he’s trying to say, formulating the words so as not to offend because deep down he actually cares about you.

It’s when a single mother is trying to care for two crying babies whilst dealing with a screaming child all at the same time; that frustration in her eyes simply because she is tired and fed up, helpless and unsure of what the “right thing to do” is.

It’s when an old man with a broken leg is hobbling on his cane through a crowd of apathetic pedestrians, or curious onlookers…

It’s when a young teen who had a whole life ahead has to deal with the repercussions of the entire world finding out that daddy was a pedophile.

It’s when a fresh graduate who spent four years working through college can’t find a job even after a year of being out of a world-rewound university.

It’s when someone knows their time on earth is limited, and wants to do as much as possible before the body eats itself.

It’s when someone spends twenty years committed to a company only to be made redundant by a machine.

It’s when a family with good parents, good values, and good morals who do their best to raise decent children still can’t afford Christmas presents.

It’s when every ounce of effort exerted to the point of near-self-destruction still barely makes the cut, despite making every right move.

It’s when you’re tired of being tired…of being……tired………

Struggle, is real. Struggle, is all around…Even though struggle is not always a choice, perspective, however, is.

Meaning is in the eye of the conveyor

Peace!

Mikavelli

Embrace The Storm

A seventeen year old once asked me if all problems in life spring from laziness. It took me a moment before responding, “yes, and no.”

That thought, however, did get me thinking. Firstly, different cultures breed different definitions of “hard work”. Some see working hard as a career, a financial ladder to climb. Others see it as overcoming struggles of one’s youth. Some see it as maintaining a healthy and happy home, others see it as maintaining a healthy and happy mind. Secondly, different people have varied perceptions of hard-work. To some, it’s what we put out into the world, and to others, it’s what we give to ourselves.

So is it truly laziness that springs all problems? Yes, and no.

Yes, in the sense that whatever we become negligent in, we will lose balance. Now this is not to say that we must do all things on our own — in today’s fast-paced era with rapid advances and reactions over responses, it is very draining to do all things alone. This type of “aloneness” can also lead to levels of arrogance, as evidenced by the growing narcissism within the millennial generation; not necessarily the grandiose sense of it, but the covert sense, where people don’t make an effort to relate to others yet expect others to cater to their needs.

This, my friends, is arrogance, the type that is sprung from laziness and negligence. It is an insecure arrogance, not a humble pride.

It is for this reason that we have people in our lives: to humble us. Some maintain our emotional health, some boost our physical selves, others cause us to reflect on our inner workings, and then there are those who motivate us to put it into action.

Of course, we could do all of it alone if we really put our minds to it, but it can also be a long, tedious, and extremely lonely journey. This type of “loneliness” leads to complacency. People get tired, and then take a rest. They get comfortable resting for so long and forget what motivation feels like. Climatologists would look at this “low pressure zone” and call it a “tropical depression”. Psychologists would look at it and call it a “clinical depression”.

Here’s the good news: we’re all human, we have life. I look at nature — flowers, trees, grass, oceans, skies — all life has seasons and changes. We’ve accepted that flowers bloom in spring and leaves fall in autumn, then it is pure logic that humans, too, have seasons. All life changes with nature, we are humans, we have life, we have human nature.

How does a depression blow over? Embrace the storm. Let the cyclones and typhoons blow away the pollution so that you have clear skies (clarity) and sunshine (smiles). The rain (tears) wash away the pollution (toxins) and

voila, the solution presents itself.

But you must first embrace the storm.

(Hint: the sky isn’t always up…it’s right in front of you… the globe is round… just saying…)

Mikavelli

Embracestorm

Mind Over Matter is Truly the New Matter

(*Disclaimer: This one is a bit paradoxical, on the theme of “Crossroads”)

We live in a world of information, competition, and perceived freedom.

It is true that since the perpetuation and expansion of what one generation calls the Internet, and the rising generation calls “Social Media”, information has been at our fingertips by choice.

The Internet has provided us with a platform of access to our minds. A smartphone, a laptop, a piece of almost “mundane technology,” once one of the greatest inventions of our species, now a simple representation of our minds manifested in a physical realm. The Internet is an invention, probably the only revolutionary invention (not upgrade) of the modern generations. It is also one of the first real tools that has no physical entity except for how it is expressed. The Internet, cyberspace, social media…they are intangible creations that transcribe our minds to the eyes of other readers by leaching onto physical entities such as gadgets.

The mind (Internet) over matter (devices) is the new matter: all that appears to matter is what happens in the mind

This information gives us “choices”, guidelines and “standards” of “civility”. In the last two decades, we have seen this level of “information boom” shock the planet into civilization. All that was known to us suddenly sent the world into an unspoken fear of the “perceived known”. That shock woke the world into realizing how much there is we don’t actually know. How chaotic everything can be, and also how fear drove one spectrum into civility and another into barbarianism.

Is it really a choice, though? We believe that we have the freedom to indulge such information, such knowledge, such “updates” and so forth. But how often have you clicked on a link, a post, a picture, simply because you “couldn’t resist the urge” to do so? Does this not stand to reason that your freedom has thus been overridden by the constraints of habit?

The Internet, or social media, has allowed us to develop new languages and modes of communication where we feel like “mind over matter” is truly the new matter. Being drawn into political debates about countries that have no physical bearing on oneself, empathizing with the idea of philanthropy (social justice) around the world, taking it upon one’s egotistic shoulders to “change the world”, adopting new labels and definitions simply because this “sounds a bit like what I am”.

What if…none of that matters, and all if it minds?

None of those “matters” are physical, all those thoughts are intangible. Therefore…none of it…”matterializes.

Your physical self (the matter) and your emotional+psychological+spiritual self (the mind) are merely reflections of each other. What you write online reflects what goes on in the mind, and what you put into your head, you could condition yourself to become.

So now, in 2017, it is no longer the debate about mind over matter vs matter over mind. The mind, and the matter, have now combined.

Have fun with that!

Peace and blessings,
Mikavelli

Season Finale 0f 2016

It’s safe to say that 2016 has been a year of transitions and change for many. Not only has the international arena taken a huge turn in development (as evidenced by Dahl, 1989-90), but immigration borders somehow started closing up the same time “wanderlust” hit social media. I could go on endlessly about social media being a physical representation of how our unconscious mind is capable of blowing perception entirely out of proportion, but I fear that digression would inadvertently lead to another novella.

Alas, a small pattern has seemingly formulated within my immediate arena of social life, and as it would stand, December seems to have picked up a tad in contrast with the rest of the year. Large players in the game have shifted strategies as we embrace the alleged “New Word Order” with new players re-entering the arena. We’ve had the whole of 2016 to adapt to an unstable and ever-changing world, and many seem to be awaiting 2017 with the same anticipation seen just before 2016, 2015, 2014……

Nonetheless, there are definitely exciting turns to look forward to in the next year: all things considered, for the first time ever, I feel like history books are coming alive. As a kid with a vivid imagination, I was always curious about what the world I read about in books would be like in real life. Everything our millennial generation was taught in school, the world we were braced for, the regimes we challenged as powerless students, are coming to life with the snap of a finger. I have not lived long, but just enough to know that no era has seen a global change at the rate 2016 shifted. While we attribute the “change” to technological advances, how many of us have actually considered that perhaps it is simply our attitudes to what we’ve been absorbing that changed…?

Does our generation now possess the necessary apathy that enables us to survive these constant fluxes and cycles? Is it the instability of the external world that has forced our generation to look internally and strive for stability within ourselves?

It is for these reasons that I say with mournful delight that the key events of our year, 2016, have encompassed a few “necessary evils” that shook the globe, awoke humans, and pushed us out of the caves where thought we were safe. Yes, our generation is adequately prepared for a conceptual “war” – one that takes place using words, using technology, using ideas…but in the grand scheme of things, how important is “our role” in “the world” if we are the world?

When I was young, I had to learn that time moves “forwards” and history will remain as such, which made me wonder, “why learn history when we are preparing for the future?”

Then I grew up, and realized that time is cyclical. The human condition was once called “human nature”, and nature has a cycle. Yes, “global warming” has shaken things up with the carbon and pollution, but human “nature” is, too, reaching a season of change. Have we truly become so complacent in our place in the world that we are genuinely and deeply angered by change?

Is it anger or is it fear?

Yes, many a concept has been challenged over the year, many a regime threatened. Many weak minds have been offended, and the strong-willed have somehow lost hope. But we enter 2017 with the experience of how extreme our species is capable of being, of realizing that we are not as evolved as media wanted us to believe.

If, even for a second, we could strip from ourselves any form of definition we adhered to by way of social-media pressure, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out who we are..

My Love, you are more prepared than you realize. Embrace the experiences you never thought could happen; without having to think, analyze, or over explain, we now have the opportunity to experience history in the present. It is a frighteningly beautiful thing, exhilarating and nerve-wrecking to say the least.

But it is as real as whatever fictional literature we’ve ever read.

With 2017 around the corner, I guarantee it is the year dreams become reality. Fantasy becomes actuality. Fictional characters become autobiographies.

Walk undefined.
I dare you.


Peace,
Mikavelli

The Hypnosis of Language

mandellaonlanguage

Language itself is one of the greatest foundations of society. The structure of society often reflects the structure of the language and syntax. Foucault argues that sociologically, language determines how society forms itself based on the chosen words a legal or political system uses to communicate with the general populous. Lukaszewski argues that positive words gets better results than negative ones – or at least faster and lasting results. Hogan did a lecture on how using certain phrases causes others to believe you perceive their ideas as important, and thus the language communication is more effective in getting what you want.

Various scientists have analysed the theories, and over the last decade or two, diverse results can be seen. Many of us limit our perception of societies and cultures to politics and law, but to go one step deeper, the basis for everything is what humans have in common – language. Whether it be English, Chinese, French, German, or even body language and sign language, each system has a structure, and that is: how the ideas are communicated through words.

It is arguable that many people read body language more than words, but people respond to words more than body language. However, systems are created based on language structure. Generally speaking, English is a diverse language – it is split into formal and colloquial, British and American, conversational and technological. (Refer to my 2013 article on The Evolution of The English Language for a brief breakdown). American English uses active voice and heavy diction, therefore the American culture is perceived to be more assertive and aggressive when communicating. British English uses passive voice and is heavily derived from Classic English Literature, and the culture is thusly more reserved and private. The Chinese language, in terms of writing, is based on stroke order, prefixes, and suffixes. When a child, at the age of three, learns to write his or her name in Chinese, he or she first learns stroke order. The brain slowly conditions itself to memorise structure and order, combined with breaking down the characters and reconstructing a new word. The Chinese education system, therefore, stresses memorisation and breakdown-construct. French is a philosophical and artistic language, and the culture is quite aesthetic and philosophical in their thinking. German language is structured and complex, hence historical Germany were militarily strong.

One thing every language has in common though, is positive versus negative. Human nature is defiant and rebellious: we are innately programmed to do what we shouldn’t do. Schools create rebels because they often say “Don’t do this” or “don’t do that” instead of “If you do this, a consequence will happen”. When communicating with children and youth, telling them not to eat junk food will make them want to eat junk food. However, if a young child is told that vegetables are junk, and McDonald’s is healthy, the child will naturally opt for vegetables after a period of time. Legal language has succeed in this area for the phrasing itself is as simple as “if you commit this crime, you will serve this maximum punishment”. It offers people a choice, not an absolute. Humans need choices because people want recognition: recognition for making a good choice rather than just robotically doing as told (Fukuyama).

When communicating, it is suggested that we use relate words so as to maximize the greatest outcome for both sides, primarily ourselves. If children hate homework, call it a “mission”, “task”, or “project”. They will feel a sense of accomplishment. If teenagers believe that rules are made to be broken, give them “guidelines” and “suggestions”. If you want someone to help you, ask for it, don’t demand it. If you want to persuade someone, simply say “don’t  you think this would be a good idea?” instead of “I think this is a good idea”. People care more about what they think than what you think, so make them believe that it was their idea.

In sum, language is a large basis for the way our world works, and if used correctly, we can maximise the greatest outcomes for ourselves.

Thinking it is nothing, knowing it is something, and doing it is everything.

Mikavelli

References:
1. Foucault – The Archeology of Knowledge
2. Bacal – Using Positive Language
3. Lukaszewski – The Strategic Power of Positive Language
4. Mikavelli – The Evolution of The English Language

Being Human

We tell ourselves a lie and ignore every truth contradicting it.
~Lloyd Lowry~

* side note: This is a continuation of my previous blog Becoming Human and Society

The whole idea and habit (culture) of not asking for help on the premise that everyone around is too busy to make time, handle or even make an effort comes from a society and culture that is almost unable to balance their lifestyles.

Whether it’s the competitive Asian market; whether it’s the strive to be the best; whether they are traditionalist values passed down from generations of conservatives and fundamentalists; whether it’s having to catch up to standards of an ever-changing world. There are many elements which factor in to this strange culture.

Strange, because it defies human nature. Strange, because it eradicates our innate abilities. Strange, because it is a culture of suppression rather than suppression.

Strange, because every face I see is not the face of a friend or foe – it is the mask of a robot so heavily constructed and guarded that the real them is lost amidst a magnitude of hidden debris; concealed imperfections for the sake of face and reputation.

Truth is accordingly defined as nothing more than concrete explications: black and white, no grey areas. Which, again, defies human nature.

Humans are ambiguous and volatile, ever-changing and sometimes progressing. The fact that humans need to regress in order to progress is part of the process inevitably necessary to catapult into something stronger. Something bigger.

Something that will take you closer to being the best that you can be.

But no, being a real human is tedious and painful. It is also beautiful and challenging. Yet I live in a society that doesn’t have time to take measures to contribute to a world with so much potential and capacity. The suppression of expression – as evidenced realistically by the Umbrella Revolution or (OCLP Movement) – shows the need for humans to break free. Truth be told, the only reason 2% of this city stood up to and against the government was the liberal education they underwent starting from 2007 onwards. An education which promoted internationalism and globalization; an education which encouraged expression; an education which enabled and activated part of their humanity.

And they broke free from the constraints and shackles of a conservative government – of a fascist regime so archaic no other nation in the modern First World follows owing to an internationalized world that happens to recognize that financial power is not the only way to progress.

Success is not defined by the money we make: it is defined by our choices.
~Mikavelli~

To break free from a constraining regime that they are completely unaware they are submerged in – a regime so strong and secure that it keeps this society in that bubble, that comfort zone they find so protective. That safety net in which they use precautions to stay afloat and stay “alive”.

No. They are not living. They are not being. They merely exist. This is not called being alive. This is called drifting. This is getting from Point A to Point B as unequivocally as possible without accounting for the Point Cs and Ds – unexpected turn of events, however emotionally intense – which would ultimately mould a real human.

A human. Not a person. Not a robot.
A human.

No. This is a society of safety measures, of rule-abiding citizens afraid to challenge stereotypes. Afraid to put in the effort to build a reality of their own choosing. Living in fear of change (or in the actual, non-falsified world), and accepting the sad, imbalanced, stressful life as their reality.

No. This is not reality. This is a construct. This is man-made. This is a defiance of human nature.

This is a defiance of our selves.

And this, all this, is one of the greatest detriments to society – that we tell ourselves a lie and ignore all the truths contradicting it. Those who expose the truth are penalized for it – challenged, critiqued and commented on by those simply can’t handle, for whatever excuse, the unravelled truth of their own insecurities.

Becoming Human

The eye is to observe
The mind to reason
The heart to understand
The life to be experienced
And the Voice is to express and be heard
~Mikavelli~

The modern world has constructed a reality of so-called “normality”, but being a social construct, the definition of “normal” should be ever-changing. However, in this day of fear and conformity, of precaution and preventative measures, the definition of “normal” is unyielding. There are, on the other hand, non-conformists out there who choose to challenge the regimes and boundaries of limitations set by a world trying to maintain afloat in this dog-eat-dog world.

These are the radicals.

Yet to the detriment of dreamers, the word “radical” too, has been associated with great negativity in this era. “Radicals” are supposedly the ones representing intense religious movements; “radicals” are supposedly the ones who force their definition of morality on the people of their reality; “radicals”, in every sense of this generation’s definition, can only (sadly) be used with a pinch of salt.

It is to this that I attribute the greatest challenge to the modern regime – definitions. If normalcy is a social construct, and radicalism has been understood as social destruction, then anything which defies the edifice of modernity (or post-modernity) is thus deemed “abnormal”, “paranormal” or “supernatural”.

Nonetheless, what if these “abnormal” traits and abilities that people have are no more than back-to-basics – of conforming to human nature rather than social construct? Of living rather than merely existing? Of being rather than performing? Those who are in touch with themselves and have life experience to carry forth into the real world are often faced with the challenge of knowing when to conform, and when to defy. The sad truth, however, is that the elements in which humans were naturally born with – the ability to swim as a baby, having an intuition, trusting vibes and gut feelings, sensing others’ presence – all of these innate human abilities have been eradicated by definitions, rationale and logic. Yet, the irony is that these definitions and so-called “logic” are all but rational.

“Logic” cannot be an absolute truth unless both ends of the spectrum are taken into account and analysed – but the attributes of human nature are often destroyed or underestimated by the human definition of logic and reason. But logic can be interpreted and deduced: true logic lies in knowing that not everything is black or white, and that not everything in life is a “model answer.” This is much like what Aristotle had said that “The law is reason free from passion.”

By interpretation, Aristotle argues that in order to rule mankind, one must thus eliminate any form of passion – any form of emotion, feeling, or “abstracts” in one’s mind. This is evidenced in any capitalist society, and being the capitalist era we live in, money is the universal language everyone understands, which then determines success as financial power; accordingly, the “cause” behind all success is the ability to shut off human emotion, defy human nature, and live a passionless and meaningless life.

This, according to modern society, is the most secure survival method, and to revert to human nature and defy those who walk away from it is called “breaking the law” and “becoming radical”.

The paradoxes and harshness of reality leave most at a standstill: at any given point in life, absolutely anyone can have a certain amount of power to make a difference – but standing alone and fighting for what you believe is draining and tedious. Very few withstand the shrapnel and shards of broken glass that conformists swing at them while trying to shape and mould a “model citizen”, but the ones who do (and can) are ultimately the non-conformists. The radicals.

The ones who change the world.

The ones who society calls “antisocial”, “delusional”, “crazy”, “emotionally unstable”, and so forth.

The ones with a power so intense that conformists who recognize it try their hardest to suppress and fight; to water-down and abridge.

We are the radicals. We bear the responsibility of the rest of the world simply on the premise that we are able. But the world is not ready, and brilliant ideas always take the longest time to manifest into reality for they are waiting for the world to be ready.

To be radical, use:

Voice JPG