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Back after a long break

Well I am back.  Where have I been? Nowhere really.  No doubt hardly anyone has noticed but I felt the urge to blog again so here we are.

I have been very busy with my job and with a host of other major changes.  I stopped blogging because I felt it was a waste.  But, over the times and changes I have made, I felt convivial again.  Restless and lacking the daily creative hit I got from blogging.  So here we go again.  That and I am paying $299 every two years for this fucking thing so I thought I had better do something with it.  I have to recover the costs (I have been in management too long).

Anyway the best is yet to come as they say.  If you remember me or you know me leave a comment.  I suspect I will have to build an audience all over again.  Which is no mean feat.  I am into youtube, udemy, facebook marketing, problem solving in the workplace and a host of other things at the moment.

This is a place where I can express myself free from the restraints of academic chains.  I liked it more than I thought.  I don’t need the money.  I have a burning desire to make the world a better place.  Sure, nobody is reading yet.  It will be interesting to see where this leg of the journey leads me.  I have tried many times to make this work.  This time I don’t care.  I just want my ideas out and I couldn’t give a rats arse (ass) who reads it.

You reach an age, or at least I did, where the ideas you had previously aren’t being heard.  You believe in those ideas and you want to see them established.  So here we go again for round 9.  Hopefully this time I will get it right and maybe others can come with me on the journey as I put down what I need.  I have many things to talk about.  Many things.   So many if I named them here I would surely fill up the world with ideas and concepts about shit that nobody gave a fuck about.  I have many many MANY things to discuss.

Right I have nothing.

Irony is my friend, so is narcissm.  Anyway I am going to stop at this point by saying that I think a lot of what people say and do is marked by the way in which they act.  Faith without works is dead.  A creative mind without an outlet is dead.  A person who says they are nice but stabs you is dead.   You get the picture.  If you don’t then come visit me in the asylum.  No flowers please.  Make a donation.

Anyway. This is the beginning of another journey to the nether regions of nowhere simply because I can.  I have resources and I am not afraid to use them.

Have a great day fulfilling your creative mind.

I won’t but I am trying 😉

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Why you should just be yourself

Recently I tried to publish some fiction.

That has be an on-going side project for me for sometime. When I started trying to do it, earlier, I tried to write like Stephen King because I love his work. Then I read a lot and tried to write like them. My words came out, went around, turned a corner then came back again. It wasn’t me in other words. It was some other person pretending to be me. So I guess the end result of that was my work was not me. Sure, what I write is bottom to mid level shit, it’s not going to win any author adorned literary novel wanna be prizes. But, (don’t start sentences with but) it’s me. I am my own worst enemy. Why pretend?

If you don’t be you – then when you get what it is you think you want – they will want the other guy and not you.

Last year I tried to switch my work over to management theory.

It didn’t work. All I got was a pile of rejections, a headache and I confused the fuck out of myself. It’s not me. I teach management, surely. I understand it. But (there I go again), my research is focused on generalist issues. Even if I never make it into the Journal of Every Academics Wetdream, I have to be me. I should have known. This confused me so badly that I lost my sense of direction and became depressed. It was not until this year that I began to realise that you can’t be Stephen King. You can’t try to do something that doesn’t convey who you are. Excellent scholarship aside, what are you trying to say – what’s your message? Stick to it. Don’t make the mistake I did. Also read this: http://goinswriter.com/.

What did it cost me?

A shitload. I lost a bit of self-respect, I lost the audience I had growing here, I lost my sense of purpose for why I joined the academic enterprise, I forgot who I was. I read a book by this bloke (http://goinswriter.com/) then it hit me like a nail on the head. Stop trying to be a super cracker mega whatist super fucking awesome guru. It’s not you. You like to write obscure fiction, that nobody will ever read, you like to write papers that are general in nature. You are so bad at social media that you only have one account. You are the original asshat! Be YOU.

To that end watch this space. I think I misunderstood what I was trying to do here. But (yes I know) that happens.

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Caught in the grip of madness

This song and the subsequent reuse of it in the Deltron Classic prompted me to write this post.  For those of us who have some kind of sadness in us, a black dog, or something that grows that we can’t explain know that the choices we make often are framed by this darkness.    Paul Feyerabend talked about a year of his life where he struggled with it and you can read about that on this page.

He speaks of waking up, being cognizant of no depression, then walking outside to be ‘accosted’ and consumed by it.   I find the same problem.   Being in a funk (no not the Donna Summer kind), which for me started in my teens, has never really left.  It’s a dark cloud that follows me through life giving me ups and downs, twists and turns and preventing me from seeing the optimism of existence.  Yet, I am no Nietzsche, nor am I a Zarathustra holding the hand of the dying man begging for some kind word to comfort me in my death.    That is, I have no reasons to be depressed.  There’s nothing that is in my life that leads me to the conclusion that depression is a environment force.   I live in a great country, have a stable job/marriage/kids and I live in a place I am paying off.   See, to a materialist there is no real reason for me to be depressed.   Especially when I saw how people suffer first hand.    Still, I am trapped inside my own private madness.

Yet, like the song says – I am caught in the grips of it’s madness.  It frames my thinking, drives me and has me in  it’s grasp.

There are some positives from it.   I would not have an interest in problems and interesting things like ‘framing’ if I didn’t get depressed.  It’s the problems of this world that make me depressed sometimes.  Sometimes, I think it’s selfishness and nothing more.    I have had some great experiences, I have had children, work in a university, met some really interesting people whose lives are far worse than my own.  Even contemplating one person I met several years prior who was a refugee and came to Griffith University to study makes me smile.  The deep sorrow I feel at times is utterly selfish.   Yet, it’s there.

Caught

Being caught means to me that you have something that takes you places that you normally wouldn’t consider.    The songs reflect an awareness of nothingness in life, perhaps the original better so, and of the mundane existence of people who don’t question things carefully enough.   I have been told on many occasions that I think too much.   Being introverted, awkward, tall and Australian all contribute to that.    I am trapped in me.  I like me.   Yet in me lies this deep madness that I have no real map for.  It’s a part of me that I would call poorly defined yet, if I was to completely remove it – I might lose my edge somehow.  That dark deep cynical undercurrent that has pervaded my thinking holding it to ransom sits in the back of my mind watching life and commenting on the facetious nature of human beings.   At the same time I have hope that things can always get better.   Crazy?  Yes and probably.

So being human means we are caught in madness.  This whole life is some kind madness.  What do you really have now that you wish you didn’t before?   It’s madness.   We build, accumulate, destroy, kill and die and for what… really?  The people walking on the street, sipping coffee, using their iWads and what have you are really the walking dead.  We all are.  The question is why?   Life is awesome.  Yet in a lot of ways it’s pain.  That girl you wanted who is married to another, that job you didn’t get, the pain of losing a loved one, the hurt of rejection from your parents and the everlasting problem of who you can and can’t trust.   This is humanity.  It’s a fun happy depressing madness.    See, I would not I have even bothered to write this if I didn’t truly believe that the world is a serious mess.

For me, that’s what life is: madness.  A continual depraved slide down, then up, then sideways and then out to the afterworld.   What comes next is really only a matter of the energy we find around us and the potential to deliver it.  Perhaps I will write that next.  See, more gold from depression!

 

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Being absent in presence

I managed this week to hold it together in a way that I normally don’t during week 7.  Week 7 is the week, for me at least, where you sit there and reflect on the progress of the semester and ask yourself: what is happening?  Oh my GOD it’s week 7!  Somehow I find the halfway mark daunting because it’s representative of the speed of life (read: midlife crisis).  This week though something interesting happened.  Something that made me catch my breath.   I turned up to the lecture and nothing worked.

A couple of red shirts were there (technical people) to fix the presentation equipment and I was astounded by the speed at which they put together a make shift system so I could speak my endless reams of nonsense about Herbert Simon.  Professor Simon was one of the first, if not the very first, to come up with the idea that when we make decisions we often rely on our emotional side to guide us through. That is, we are limited by the time, context, cognition and capacity of ourselves to make ‘rational’ decisions. We make decisions based on the information we think we have, not that which we think we don’t have. I have summarised these ideas for my class below:

Decision making and bounded rationality.
by: LukeJH

To bind rationality, really means that we create a template of what we believe, frame it according to that belief and use it to form our actions, thoughts and concepts of reality. This isn’t really what Simon was saying. He was saying that we do the best we can with the resources we have. The problem is: when we have no resources to do the right thing we find ourselves bound and sown to the reality that makes the most sense. This is horrendously simple though.

I have formed a different opinion and for some reason I am drawn to the phrase, ‘the absence of presence.’ Decisions are often made because we don’t have the resources we would like, the time or even the ability to make the right call. The possibility to make the ‘optimal’ decision is not there because really you don’t have the way forward at all. You can’t tell me, or anyone who has had too much to drink on a Saturday evening, that you do the best you can. You know why? The truth is most places do not have the people they need to make it work they need to, in the interest of stakeholders, shareholders or whoever else, actually be the way they want. I think Simon was touching on this fact when he said we Satisfice. We don’t do the best we can as such, we do the best that’s available.

So what is being absence in presence?

It’s being there formally but not there informally. Being present, means you are there, being absent means you are not because you can’t be. We can’t be there to make the right calls in life because ninety percent of the time we don’t have the power to make the right choices. We are absent even though we are there because our choices are impossible to find. Where are our choices? What do we make that is not part of the fabric of the consciousness of our age?

Anyway – perhaps I need more wine, or a reminder that there is hope in the life of humankind.  At the moment I am reminded on a certain mad German philosopher who said:

When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you.

 

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Are you wasting your potential?

Recently I have started thinking about the problem of potential. I was reading a book by Mark Virkler when I had a thought: potential is something that is physical energy. I know that is not exactly an academic thought but it sat with me just the same. I have to explain the pathway first.

1. I am a big fan of ghost adventures, paranormal witness and those kinds of shows. A recurring theme in these shows is the idea that if you have a desire to complete something, you need to complete it with gusto. If you bury it, just like the proverbial wicked servant, you will end up realizing the nothingness of life. In short, if you have potential and it’s not used, then it anchors you and stalls you in your life. So much so that you can’t pass (read: you are a ghost) on until you find a way to complete that job.

Now this may be bullshit, but it may not.

2. If you have energy that is stored, it becomes like entropy (forgive my lack of science knowledge), stored but never used, developed or expressed. The thing we desire to do the most is energy. It’s a desire or a thought that needs to be nurtured. Not in the way we think about just imagining it, it is real as we are, to a point, anchored to our world and limited to the form we find ourselves inhabiting.

3. If you have a storage of energy and it can’t be released, the energy becomes dull and lifeless… But the core essence of that thought as energy still resides in us. It stays in us. It does not go away even if we want it to. The energy lives in us a it is us. That’s the next point I am going to make.

4. We make a category error when we reference energy and the word spirit in our daily vernacular. New use terms like my spirit very loosely. How can you possess energy if you are just that. Energy is the output of force (again apologies) that is in two broad states generally speaking. It’s either moving (growing?) or staying still. If we take the following idea and turn it into a proposition:

a thought that is internal energy that is not released is entropy and

if we are energy then mind is energy and thoughts are energy and

if a thought is energy and I am energy then what I am capable of in terms of my potential is energy… Be it unspent, poorly developed, untested and so forth/em>

As humans we need to stop saying my energy is X or my energy is Y. You are your energy. Any thought you entertain for long enough has special kinds of effects on you that will notice over a period of time. Hang around depressed people long enough… You get depressed. Why? The energy they are influences you and you then take that and soak it up into your potential. That potential then forms into thoughts and yes actions.

I can’t conclusively show that thoughts are actions yet to round out my thinking here. That is, I would like to think that in the final analysis, my thoughts develop my actions. So why isolate the thoughts and actions, why make that leap? Accept the fact that what you have in you is you and not some internally separate or externally connected force. You are the sum total of your parts. Nothing more or less.

In summary, potential is that thought you have in your mind that may not have found yet that is laying unused and dormant ready to go. Be it mayhem or majesty … The energy is you waiting t express itself in this dark and terrible world we live in. Potential is a latent variable lying under the surface of life awaiting our activation of it by releasing it, just one little bit at a time. So much of what we do inhibits, or boxes in our potential. That us-ness we have will stay dormant unless we take that us-ness and begin to try to make it work. Else? We whither like the dead grass on the desert lawns! I know what a bad metaphor, still I am working on releasing a bit of my potential each day since I was told recently that I am wasting my life by more than one person.

Join me invisible people of potential!

go ahead be free

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You think too much!

I was approached by a dude on the streets of Hong Kong not too long ago who wanted to read my palms.  If you have seen my hands lately you will know that he is a brave man.  I was looking puzzled at him as he ploughed through his ‘bait and switch’ routine.  I was suprised when he ran away after I couldn’t figure out what the hell he was on about.  Right before he left he said…

You think too much.

Nearly six months later I have not been able to put together the meaning of his words.  At first, being the backwards Queenslander who hadn’t travelled (read: Travel N00b) I felt his words were harsh.  I think too much?  What did he really mean that I think too much.  I had just walked the length of Nathan Road to hear this.   Not wanting to think much about it (and having to get back to the hotel to check out to get my evening flight to Brisbane) I waddled home.  Along the way I passed several people who where selling suits, begging for money and generally appealing to anyone who looked like they had money.  I digress.  If you get the chance to walk down Nathan Road – you should take it.

On the way to airport I was wondering what he meant by ‘you think too much’.  It’s true, I am the kind of person who builds a theory out of everything.  Traffic, problems, the reason for long queues in the supermarket and of course the meaning of life.   But I like thinking too much.  When I wanted to learn about God I read theology.  When I studied my masters I went and read philosophy.  I wanted to learn about Factors (I don’t know why now – of course) – so I read theories and bought SPSS.

My point is you are you.  If you think too much – why change?  Be yourself and enjoy the ride I say.  Except – you probably shouldn’t be expected to be taken seriously if you wear floral shirts to work.  I wasn’t.

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Born under a bad sign?

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”

There are times when I feel the same way as Albert King.  The past week has been an example of that for me.  So many things went wrong that I can’t begin to describe the amount of problems that I had.   The thing to remember during these times is that even though we think we know what the bottom feels like things can always get worse.  Yet, at out level of comfort and materialism, we feel comfort.  When that comfort is disturbed we get disturbed.  That disturbance creates ripples in our established patterns of existence and makes us feel as though some force is out to get us.   The truth is we have just had a series of experiences that have drawn us into conflict with comfort.

The question is how low is low when it comes to comfort?

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The inexplicable reason we seperate things

It was pointed out to me recently that it’s not right to seperate ourselves from the environment.  The point was made by a colleague that really, nothing is seperate from anything else.  It’s all deeply connected and related.

This doesn’t become obvious until you think more carefully about the obstructions we place in the road of our lives and the way in which we develop core notions of seperation.  The concept of the environment is a case in point.  If you consider it as seperate, then how is seperate from the completeness of things?  You say,’Well it’s seperate because it’s the environment.’  The truth is that the environment is no more connected, that it is seperate, it’s a category we use to define something.  You will never be seperate from the environment.   You are part of it.  So my colleague argues.

This also continues to the way we think about work, play and life.  We bracket out and seperate things so we can categorise them into order.  We shape them, force them to fit our internal mode of thinking, the question is why?  You see business people talking abstractly about ethics through the ‘this is business’ motto, you see salesmen talking about ‘capturing’ leads and my favourite:  Process managers talking about people as elements of a flowchart.

Why do we dehumanise ourselves like this?

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What does it mean to be a scholar

Being a scholar means a lot of things.  To me there is a really simple definition of scholarship however, that eloquently captures the meaning of scholarship.  I picked it up when I was reading through the oldest English Speaking journal in the world called Philosophical Transaction. 

Sharing Knowledge.

Scholarship was originally for people who desired to share knowledge and to show people the interesting findings of their most recent research.  So to me being a scholar means sharing knowledge, ideas, findings, results and such for furtherance of knowledge.

Today we have over 19000 journals ranked by the Federal Government in a wide array of areas.  You couldn’t tell me we had that much knowledge being produced by this country, and yes I realise that this is an entirely different question.  However, the first and foremost responsibility of a scholar is the production of new knowledge, be it about: teaching, research or how to run a chaotic university.

Why then do we have this situation where knowledge is fragmented into paywalls and disciplinary silos?  How can this be good for the advancement of knowledge?

A short journey but surely there’s a better way.

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A Boiling Frothing Volcano on the surface

Have you ever felt like the people you worked with carried around hostility that was a place beyond shame? Here’s my theory: people are a boiling frothing volcano underneath but it would be better to be a boiling frothing volcano on the surface.

I have appreciated working with people who told me straight up that I was being an ass when I deserved it. I suspect that the majority of the time most people hold their feelings down underneath and hold it in. While there is an element of risk that you will be considered uncivil, strange, emo crazy or just plain weird, I think it’s best to let people have it or at the very least let it out if you need to.

Now should we just go around blasting folks who perhaps have wormed their annoying way into our feeble minds? No. Just yelling is being a complete moron. But, when someone has crossed the line, fuck them, let them know exactly what you think. There is time and place for anger, so long as nobody gets hurt or stabbed, but you can’t let people abuse you time and time again without giving back just a little bit to let them know that you are not going to take it.

Bottom line: don’t let people manipulate you and get away with it. Let them know, in your own boiling volcano way, that you aren’t their bitch. Do it. Right now.

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