Sunday, April 15, 2012


CHOPPY.  That’s the word right now, not just in me but in the world.  Choppy.  There’s a lot going on and it feels precarious, everything is moving and shifting, some for the better, perhaps, mostly though, I don’t know what way it’s going and it seems like nobody else does either.  It’s all going on, on all the levels and it’s all interconnected, as it always is, but because its really very complicated for people right now, it feels more significant, that interconnectedness.  It feels like there’s a need to see the big picture and every acute detail simultaneously and in a new way.  We can’t judge this with the old standards.  They’re all gone, they won’t serve us going forward.  The political hierarchy appears to be clinging on to old ideas, the people are clinging on for their lives.  It all has to shift, it all needs to change, there’s a truth that we’re afraid of facing, and until we do we can’t embrace the change.  But that truth isn’t clear yet, because it’s all so complicated.
It feels like the old Ireland is over but it won’t fuck off.  We’re still talking about the banks, the church, the economic crisis that’s starting to kill our spirit.  You can feel it on the streets, you can hear it and see it in the fear on peoples faces, the dark choices that we need to start making that we haven’t had to make in a long time.  It’s not all about the money.  It’s not all about the Household tax and the bin charges and now the water meter charge, or the 30 billion plus bailout of the IBRC.  It’s the IMPACT on the people that’s the concern.  Today, the news today speaks of the setting up of a tribunal to discover the goings on of “September 29th - The Blackmail Night” when Brian Cowen, then Taoiseach made the decision to guarantee the banks, leading to the current austerity measures on the Irish people.  The ‘man on the street’ knows that the bailout was based on a series of invisible personalities with shared interests protecting themselves and what they think they have the right to at our expense.  Another tribunal, another opportunity to be lied to and for the responsibility to be shifted and dispersed.  It’s hard to believe in anything ‘official’ in Ireland right now.
It’s hard to keep the individual in mind.  The results of all that pie in the sky economic and political discourse is a lessening of the life of each person on the island.  It’s the diminishing of each persons individual right to live their own life.  The squashing of potential, the minimising of the human spirit in each one of us here and now.  The lack of care for the people on the edge, we’re all moving closer to the margins, and the margin is narrowing every day.  The individual against the state, is the state not a collection of individuals though?  Is the government not there to serve and enhance the life of each of us?
Last week Dimitris Christoulas, a 77 year old Greek pensioner shot himself outside the parliament in Athens, in protest of the austerity measures.  His letter is translated as: 

“The collaborationist Tsolakoglou government has annihilated my ability for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone (without any state sponsoring) paid for 35 years.
Since my advanced age does not allow me a way of a dynamic reaction (although if a fellow Greek was to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be the second after him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance.
I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945 (Piazza Loreto in Milan).”

…the young people with no future…

The first thought of the day.  The best way to begin each day well is to think upon awakening whether we could not give at least one person pleasure on this day.  If this practice could be accepted as a substitute for the religious habit of prayer, our fellow men would benefit by this change.”
– ‘Man Alone with Himself’ Friedrich Nietzsche

The news today also speaks of the Catholic church silencing of Fr Tony Flannery, ordering him to ‘pray & reflect’ on his recent opinions disputing, amongst other things, the doctrine of papal infallibility, and voicing the concerns and beliefs of the vast number of parishioners that women should be ordained, priests allowed to marry etc.  He’s now been silenced by Rome, his opinions not allowed to be aired.  In a way, this seems a bit irrelevant, it feels like the Catholic Church in Ireland is over.  It’s finished.  So what concern is it that one priest has been sent off into the wilderness to reflect?  Apparently though the vast number of people in Ireland still return themselves as Catholic in the census and the churches are all still there, on nearly every street.  Doors closed and locked at night, when they could actually be used for some good purpose, when those that need shelter could put those vast open spaces to good use.  The typical hypocrisy of the church, do as I say not as I do, preaching the words of Jesus and barring those most at risk and in need in our society from a space within their walls, where some good use might be made of those austere and ostentatious relics to a time of painful oppression and coercion of the Irish people, as well as the horrific treatment of children in its care, directly in the actions of a number of priests and indirectly in the cover up and shameful treatment of those people seeking truth and justice as adults, a shame shared by our political system, and still going on, still unresolved.

‘The Murder of Our Souls’ on the hoarding on East Essex St.

And yet, we’re still letting them have a major influence on how our children are educated, the most vulnerable and innocent people in our society, still being exposed to an organization that should have nothing to do with our lives, an organization which has proven on multiple occasions and continues to prove itself unfit, completely untrustworthy and incapable of caring for us.  It’s absolutely bizarre.

Fantasy of fear.  The fantasy of fear is that malevolent, apelike goblin which jumps onto man’s back just when he already has the most to bear.”
– ‘Man Alone with Himself’ Friedrich Nietzsche

I’ve had the fear this week about Phase 3.  I started to have more definite conversations with people about ‘Will You Sleep Rough With Me?’ (Phase 2) and I think that’s made it all more real.  The trajectory of this project is vast.  I’m feeling that vastness right now.  I started reading Man Alone with Himself because the title attracted me this week even though it’s been sitting on my book shelf, or various book shelves since 2008.  I feel alone with myself in this.  And I will be, ultimately.  I’m looking at the streets as I walk through them, I’m passing up laneways and noticing doorways and the smell of piss in corners and the spaces with overhangs, cover, shelter.  And I’m fixated on the river for some reason, I’m watching the green algae line on the opposite bank as the bus turns onto the bridge and I’m looking at the steps and the detail on the bridges and I don’t know what that’s about except that the river has this maybe.  ‘Building bridges’ maybe features there too, whatever that means in this sense.  I went to the hospital this week to see the Dermatologist, to get my feet fixed.  I've been unable to do my usual walks lately because of the excema which the consultant has now diagnosed as dermatits and gave me a new prescription.  It only affects my hands and feet, its a weird thing to be sick with. I need to be able to walk again, the long distances I've gotten used to doing.  It's integral for my soul and for this project.  It's starting to get better, so hopefully I can start walking again soon.

Seriousness in play.  At sunset in Genoa, I heard from a tower a long chiming of bells: it kept on an on, and over the noise of the back streets, as if insatiable for itself, it rang out in the evening sky and the sea air, so terrible and so childish at the same time, so melancholy.  Then I thought of Plato’s words and felt them suddenly in my heart: all in all, nothing human is worth taking very seriously, nevertheless …
– ‘Man Alone with Himself’ Friedrich Nietzsche

I’m having the fear about this ‘blogging’ too.  I’ve never really shared the process of making something from this point on before.  From so early on in the makings and never in this kind of detail about what I’m thinking about, what I’m feeling what I’m seeing and how it’s changing and the looseness of the connections I’m making, or how these thoughts may or may not have a part in this project rather than just in The Life…I suppose everything that’s going on for me has to be informing what I’m making.  The private is the public, the personal is the political, that’s my belief, that’s the root of almost everything I’ve made up to this point so on that level, all of this is relevant and connected to the work.  I just usually wouldn’t tell everybody, I’d usually be mulling away on all this privately and then present the work. 
It feels like I’m sharing my diary.  And I am in a way.  It’s more or less taken over from my notebook lately.
There’s reasons for this related to the project.  One of them is that this is Phase 1, I’m in it now, so be it, so I’m sharing the HERE & NOW of this phase, the research, the thoughts, the process, the various points of interest converging in my head at the moment.  It’s also a way to articulate all of this for myself, to write it down and see it on the page and then try to decipher it and figure out what it is I’m really concerned with.  I don’t need to do that publicly I suppose, but it feels like this is a big project for me and I need it to be transparent, I need it, in some way, to be public.  It’s a way to try to articulate and report back, it’s a means to figure out how I’m going to communicate as this all progresses, through the phases.  It’s a peculiar feeling, I’ve been about to share the Facebook page and blog a few times this week and then stopped myself.  I’m not sure what that’s about really.  Except fear.  It’s about ‘practicing inviting being seen’ it’s a new level to that for me.  Letting people in to what I’m thinking, how I’m putting things together in my head, what I really think and feel and how that changes in The Life.  There's something freeing in admitting to the fear, something which in stating it makes it less of a difficulty, less of a constriction.  I'm afraid, I'm feeling it, sharing it and getting on with it all anyway.  That's The Life.

My friend suggested this project to me to have a look at and I’m reading, as an ‘observer’, the letters from the artist Jill Magid.  They arrive hourly, I subscribed earlier today.
It’s a very interesting project and equally interesting for me right now is the way she is reporting, the style she is using, the format of the letters and how she describes the physical details of what she’s wearing and the streets she travels as well as weird expansive phrases that take me into another layer of her thoughts and reasoning.

Desire for deep pain.  When it has gone, passion leaves behind a dark longing for itself, and in disappearing throws us one last seductive glance.  There must have been a kind of pleasure in having been beaten with her whip.  In contrast, the more moderate feelings appear flat; apparently we still prefer a more violent displeasure to a weak pleasure.”
– ‘Man Alone with Himself’ Friedrich Nietzsche

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