A comic inspired by Robin Williams’ death: if we can’t relate to this, it’s because we’re not being honest with ourselves.
The unspoken poverty in our culture is a poverty of spirit.
After reading about the recent protests in Istanbul after the death of Berkin Elvan,
i was appalled to find that the anti-protest laws have passed in Melbourne, Australia,
a city i once considered my second home.
This, especially, smacks of a move against freedom of association:
The change will also allow the courts to issue an exclusion order preventing those repeatedly told to move on from entering a particular public space for up to 12 months. The maximum penalty for breaching an exclusion order is two years’ imprisonment.
Berkin Elvan, then aged 14, was on his way to buy bread for his family when he got caught up in the street battles in Istanbul last June. He was hit in the head by a teargas cartridge fired by the police and had been in a coma ever since.
On Tuesday morning, police fired teargas to disperse protesters gathered outside the Istanbul hospital where Berkin died, after some people started throwing objects at an armoured police vehicle.
“Imagine you are being born and society tells you ‘Welcome, you will be cared for, and asks you what you want to do with your life, what is your calling? Imagine that feeling, that’s a whole different atmosphere.”
– Daniel Straub, Co-founder,
Basic Income Initiative
From this article on The Mind Unleased, which i found in my Facebook feed from Ian MacKenzie, author of Sacred Economics: Swiss To Pay Basic Income 2,500 Francs Per Month To Every Adult | The Mind Unleashed.
I was further inspired by an impassioned comment on the article about how ‘humans need to stop working so hard by themselves’, which has been on my mind a lot lately as i sit here trying to reinvent the wheel, but more on that later.
When i was looking for something else i had written online the other day, i came across this essay i wrote for if:book Australia, which i had almost forgotten about.
Called “You’re the Voice”, it is perhaps the only essay in existence which quotes, in full, the lyrics of John Farnham’s classic hit. It was later included in one of if:book’s eBooks, Hand Made High Tech.
I wrote this at a time when i was writing a blog called Socratic Ignorance is Bliss, which started out as an experiment in 2009, and became a poor excuse for me to express my vitriol about all i thought was wrong about publishing. I was very fond of my career back then. It was the first time i had been really respected for my intellect, and i was even paid good money for this commission.
I was also quite worried about the way the internet was going—or, rather, the way we were allowing it to go, because the internet does not have free will. Here’s an excerpt that gets at the heart of the essay’s somewhat-buried thesis:
The moment we think we’re off the hook because some clever bugger has come up with a harebrained doovalacky that cures cultural elitism is the moment we roll over and take it, the moment we accept our governments bombing the shit out of third-world countries in the name of … yep, there’s that word again: democracy. The moment we defer responsibility for our literary culture to a machine we’re all fucked, because literature helps us to understand how to live well in the world – how to stop fighting and start loving.
Basically, i had read some article in the Guardian about how social media was challenging ‘cultural elitism’, and i looked around me and realised how much of an absolute joke that idea is—no amount of Facebook campaigns or retweets are going to end the dominance of the one per cent.
For that we need to go inside and understand how we can begin to extricate ourselves from the system by undermining our own attachment to desire. But that’s a whole other essay, of course.
There is this false optimism that somehow our political process will offer the cure for all that ails our society. If we only elect the right candidate, we can solve the problems we face.