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

Stability and Solidity

You spend your twenties believing that you’re bulletproof. ~Moby~

The cycle of cognitive development can be a predictable one: as children, we are curious about the greater world, wanting to know a little bit about everything. We have little to no experience in life, and haven’t made enough mistakes to understand consequences. As teenagers, we strive for freedom and try to break free from all that constrains our perceived liberty. It is a phase in life when we feel entitled and complacent, a time when we can argue with a rationale warped to fit our desires, and a time when adults let our immaturity slide because they understand we have to experience it.

Then comes the start of independent living: your twenties. This is the phase when one realizes the immaturity of what was thought to be, as a teenager, the most brilliant or scintillating of ideas. When one looks back two years, four years, or even ten years, everything that was once believable as a teenager is suddenly impertinent to one’s physical (not perceived) reality. Everything you believed – every fantasy, every dream, every construction, every version of the future – is merely reflection of a modern fairy-tale.

The modern fairy-tale: that version of a life you spend a decade of your existence romanticizing – everything that you want to do after college – to work or to study, to experience or to define, to attempt or to decide. All these questions run through one’s mind simply because each day inspires new possibilities. It is in this phase of cognitive development where one is perfectly capable of differentiating between rationale and desire, yet may not have that worn-and-torn life experience called “cynicism” to deter an attempt at making a dream come true. This, however, differs subjectively based on the approach in which one uses to render this romanticized fantasy a reality, but ultimately, humans work with what is known: and where knowledge is lacking, experience is needed. Thus, being in one’s mid-twenties in the twenty-first century first world has offered vast opportunities and ways to actually live, and not merely exist.

Being in one’s twenties is supposedly the best time to gain experience, but this definition of “experience” merely pertains to the “experiences” that you choose, not the ones that are thrust upon you from your childhood. By this reasoning, “experience” is not limited to age: children and teenagers can easily go through just as much (if not more) than adults, and after one’s twenties, experience does not cease to be gained simply because one “grows” or (at times) matures. “Experience” does not simply mean “something that happens in life,” it refers to what is gained or lost from the “happening” or “occurrence.” Conversely, as experiences are subjective, one of the biggest mistakes many parents make when raising children is putting the child into a similar situation in hopes of determining the child’s experience. The experience is not a mistake – manipulating the variables in such a way is, because it is a common misconception that one can repeat or reconstruct a certain experience.

Experiences are meant to be had, not explained.

Gaining experience and living an “exciting” life depends on one’s personal definition of the words but also the approach one takes in reaching the optimized goal. To some, “excitement” and experience come from travelling the world, from exploring and understanding cultures and societies; to others, stimulation or excitement come from doing what one loves, and loving what one does. Furthermore, some regard experience as the amount of pain and suffering one has to endure in order to develop resilience. When one reaches their twenties, the two priorities in life suddenly become “stability” and “solidity,” and these can involve any category in life. Stability refers to career, finances and relationships; solidity to self, friendships and family. The common misconception is that living an exciting life doesn’t entail stability – again, this depends on one’s personal definition of “excitement.” There are times, however, when stability has to be sacrificed in order to gain solidity, and vice versa, but this is not an ultimatum. If sacrifices are inevitable, though, they are based on one’s personal definitions of “excitement” and “happiness,” combined with the goal one hopes to achieve.

To those who deem “excitement” as world travel, stability is not necessarily a component, but solidity is – solidity in finding one’s self, in cherishing and building solid friendships, and for many, establishing a firm basis with family now that one is old enough to communicate without being patronized. To those who deem their everyday life as excitement may entail, at times, losing a sense of self to complement the chosen path, only to find one’s way back to solidity. To those who intentionally take the toughest route in hopes of growing back stronger, who absuse “pain” as a method of gaining experience, may work for some but not all. This methodology may work for those who trust that their support network is strong enough when they need to recover from the “battle,” but if the support network was that strong to begin with, then why take the route of masochism in the first place?

Every mistake is an experience, but no experience is a mistake.

Nonetheless, each individual takes a different approach towards achieving their perceived definition of happiness in starting a journey of a “life of fulfilment.” Whatever the definition, priority or goal, the ultimate enrichment, experience and enlightenment comes from one’s own chosen path – mistakes and failures, accomplishments and achievements – thus, stability comes from routine, practice and habit. It is a lifestyle which can only be achieved with a certain amount of sacrifice along the way – that sacrifice being the risk of occasional boredom, lack of stimulation or simple mundanity which constrains one’s inspiration; conversely, this small sacrifice in the beginning leads to equanimity in the long-run. Boredom and apathy are fleeting states of mind, but stability is the concrete foundation which only paves way for taller and stronger skyscrapers. Solidity, on the other hand, refers to the strength, integrity and self-assurance it takes to exist as an individual entity without the co-dependent need for a crutch. Although the paradox is that humans are reflections of other humans, the actual human experience – existence, living and being – are had by oneself. Hence, solidity comes from the ability to be, and to live comfortably in one’s own shoes.

It takes true strength to admit weakness and wisdom to admit folly.

 

Mistakes

Social Expectation

Rushed relationships often fail when defined not because of the common conception of reverse psychology, but rather because of a sudden sense of social expectation. That “public declaration” labelling the person as a “significant other” immediately gives peers the sense of entitlement to determine and define the “socially acceptable behaviour” for such a situation, and as our behaviour and choices are judged by our social group (our society), if certain ailments don’t align with our social paradigm, at least one variable will fall out of place. Determining “acceptable behaviour” is usually done by relating the given situation to similar experiences one has seen or had, consequently our approach to a relationship is then governed by the definitions of our chosen society. However, one’s own experience level also factors into how much of peers’ advice is taken, because humans seek advice from those perceived to have more experience in those pertinent aspects of life.

This occurrence is a result of social construction and the human demand for recognition and acceptance. “Solidarity” we may ideally romanticise, but fact of the matter is that in this day and age, one can never avoid other humans and still live a sane life. Psychologists and neuro-biologists have proved the need to coexist, even among animals, and with the human society being even more complex, one cannot survive in complete isolation. Our social society imposes the generally understood concept of what behaviours or conversations are acceptable, hence rushed relationships commonly fail because the liberty of how much of your core self is revealed is compromised from the start. “Socially appropriate relationship behaviour” is spread by media – movies, TV shows, magazines, celebrity relationships, music and popular fiction, encompassing the common “unspoken determinants of relationships.” Those are firstly, what is acceptable to talk about in a relationship ? Secondly, why is it unacceptable to talk to your partner about certain topics (not related to him/her) if you would easily talk to a friend about? And thirdly, why do we elevate the people we love to the point where we lose the ability to talk to them as we would our friends?

Given that humans elevate those they care about, it stands to reason that those who care about you will, too, elevate you. The human ego which (unconsciously) seeks recognition and approval instinctively tries to live up to a standard, which often entails extensive moderation of speech and behaviour so to complement the paradigmatic principles set by our peers. In their review Brain Basis of Social Human Interaction, Hari and Kujala argue that humans are mere mirror images of other human beings – our social behaviour, including speech, thought, reaction, motor skills and neurological synopsis – on the basis that our neurological cognition is trained behaviour. If pain, anxiety and fear can be physically felt (increased heart rate, sweating, constricted breathing and chest pains), then so can happiness, excitement and passion. These physical symptoms are neurological and biological, but the emotional response, Hari and Kujala argue, are no different. Psychology evidently and largely factors in, but the argument that psychology is also the study of the mind and brain leaves the theory undisputed.

Ergo, lack of social interaction essentially causes a risk of brain deterioration, and yet, our existence is then arguably a manifestation of other human beings; we are a fragment of the entire human race, no more, no less. The journey of mankind rests in doing whatever it takes between birth and death to ensure the human race doesn’t cease to exist – regardless of if we create new children – because our sheer existence is the reason other humans exist. Our paradigm is someone else’s journey; our journey is just a paradigm of expectations which we have been taught to believe are the most optimal of standards.

Life.

I don’t care, go on and tear me apart

I don’t care if you do, ooh

‘Cause in a sky, ’cause in a sky full of stars

I think I see you.

~Chris Martin~

Live Each Day As If It’s Your Last

Even towards every allusion I’ve been in love with
’cause the heart that portrays itself willingly
Is like a nation that trades freedom for stability
Its so seductive to be cold and corrupted and isolated and try to be an independent republic
But liberty to be loved on the surface is worthless
The sacrifice of revolution with no purpose ~Immortal Technique~

If we live everyday as if it’s our last, one day we’ll most certainly be right.

We live in a paradoxical world obsessed with immortality and the “future of our world,” yet we spend the evenings in bars and clubs, getting drunk screaming phrases like “YOLO” or “live for today.” How often do we wake up in the morning, moaning and groaning, dreading the day ahead? How often do we go to sleep at night thinking about how exhausted we are?

Many of us are lucky enough to climb into bed at night, in the comfort of our blankets, believing with almost 100% certainty that we will wake up the next day and continue with our (sometimes mundane) lives, but what if we don’t? What if we don’t wake up the next day, or what if we don’t make it home the next night?

We all have this life which has been handed to us, and far too often people take advantage of it. Just because not all of us have been in life-or-death situations and haven’t had the need to fight for our lives doesn’t mean that we can take it for granted. If we let ourselves become apathetic to the fact that one day, we’re all going to die, then we’re a letdown to everyone who’s ever cared about us, ever loved us, or ever needed us. More importantly, we’re a letdown to ourselves.

Everyday is a fight – whether it’s staring down the barrel of a loaded gun or just trying to get through the streets without being robbed; whether it’s going to work because you love it or simply because you need the money for food and rent. But if we just give up and retractthen our life here on earth would be meaningless because it was simply handed to us, and we never fought for it.

It’s human nature to want to survive, which means fight or flight.

But do we define survival as sheer existence or do we actually want to live? Are we here because we have no choice, and have been taught that it is our human obligation and right to remain alive? Or are we here because we actually want to seize the one and only shot we have at making a difference?

Which breeds the question of how one defines “making a difference.” Some view the “difference” or change as a macro-scale impact, whereby taking down and breaking the entire system as we know it; other see the “difference” in simply sharing thoughts and ideologies. Others, yet, see the “difference” as being there for people in times of need, and hoping that perhaps one day, maybe those people will pay it forward.

When someone sounds optimistic and hopeful, they are deemed idealists; yet, how is optimistic idealism any different to cynical revolutionism when the ultimate outcome is the same: to eradicate corruption of the human world? It is what it is, and though macro-scale change is seemingly impossible, micro-scale change isn’t, and that’s where our choices can make the biggest difference.

Is it all about us, or is it all about them?

– live each day as if it’s your last
– treat everyone around you as if it’s their last day
– wake up in the morning without hesitation
– go to sleep at night without regrets

and most importantly: make sure the people you love know how you feel about them, because the day you stop caring might be your biggest regret.

To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people simply exist. ~Wilde~

Gordan.