Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Bigger Picture

It frustrates me how people really do struggle to see the bigger picture. Sure, it is hard, astronomically hard. One action, or inaction can do a lot to change the course of things. Though, if you add one action to the actions of billions of others and sure enough you have a bigger picture, like the pixels which now display you this blog.
Now, I started with 'see the bigger picture' earlier when I really should have stipulated that I in truth mean perceive. A very subtle difference though I assure you it is there.

For example I remember a joke on Facebook a while back. (I know there are other more rewarding stories, though this makes it easier to make my point without distracting you!) The joke was if everyone went out and ‘panic bought carrots’ on a particular day then there would be a shortage of carrots

Har har, sure, the concept is hilarious, though when the stunt is finished it just ends up that everyone has a lot of carrots and there is no link back to the real world. None of the participants seem to get it.

So, earlier I may have implied that you should use perceive in the place of the word see in my first sentence. What I should have used is comprehend. I say this because they see the carrots, they perceive the fact that many people have many of them though the miss the part that they were part of something greater than themselves. (Remember its not about the carrots, its about the, ‘being part of something great’ I know there are more poetic examples of the masses making the difference. Just right now, I’m trying to take about something else.)

These people don’t comprehend that they have bought just a few of millions carrots and then become part of something, or if they do it is very quickly lost to them. Things like this happen all the time; people say that they don’t recycle because ‘nobody else does.’ They say, ‘sure I bought some carrots, but if I hadn’t bothered there would have still been millions of carrots purchased.’

All this and I haven’t really touched on what I consider the bigger picture yet…
We (plural) have the power to literally change the face of the Earth (singular) but we just don’t comprehend the bigger picture. So slowly we damage, destroy, grow and gluten en masse. Despite this though there are still people (singular) that notice and try and remind us (plural) that if we just step back and take a look at what we are doing we would probably be appalled. This little girl tries to tell us, of which I am sure there are more.

I don’t blame us of course. As I said at the start it is hard to comprehend the actions that we take now fundamentally affect the culture, the landscape, the moral and ethical choices of future generations. Neuroscientists tell us that this kind of thinking is hard. We are still running on the programming of our oldest ancestors, where it is we and those close to us are more important than the rest.

If I now appear to be barking down from upon a high horse I should dismount it now and say, that although I see the lack of comprehension I have no answers for how to solve it, or how to address the problems that we have and will have caused for ourselves. I only suggest that the best course of action is to realise that we truly never fully comprehend it all and we should always act upon that belief. If we start from there and work up it will surely be hard to go wrong no?

Yours indignation on behalf of the world

Victor Blemish

PS: this isn’t actually the post I planned to write. It was a lot less heavy and dark. I do believe there is hope! And although we will always find it difficult to comprehend the bigger picture at least we are trying.

PPS: I was going to link a load of interesting articles etc in the text but I decided to do the extras here:
Neuroscientists talking about morality wrapped up in a neat little podcast
Then the little girl

Monday, 30 August 2010

Getting it out of your head

I have lists. Numerous lists. Some that hold a physical form and some that are just whispers in my mind. Not as many as some but a fair few nonetheless. One of these lists contains subjects that I want to post about and on this list is written the words ‘Getting it out of your head.’

Obviously the link has now been made as to why I am commenting on the lists I make, however my point still eludes. I create these lists in their physical (or digital) form to clear my clouded mind of all the busying and bustling ideas and information that resides within—as trivial as most of them may be. I find I need to do this. I feel that it is terribly important if I am ever to progress on anything. It’s one of my perpetual attempts at shoehorning structure into my life and one that has stuck! I must say though that as interesting as this may be for me, this was all I really had to talk about on the subject and I didn’t think that it should be classed as good post material. It lacked substance as I really wasn’t sure why I liked to get as much of it out as possible and I wasn’t sure if it even helped.

With this said it remained on the list untouched and unperturbed, until today. A ‘podcast’ brought it into my periphery in a rather roundabout way. The podcast was called Choices in a series of well thought-out and produced episodes called Radiolab. The episode reignited my awe for the subconscious mind. How it is constantly recording, constantly calculating and constantly going unnoticed. It has always seemed extraordinary to me how powerful it really is. The trouble is that this is not really the subject of Radiolab’s podcast, nor does it directly link to this post.
You may have to bear with me here. Radiolab’s episode discusses how easy it is to confuse the analytical side of your brain when making choices. They mention the rule of ‘seven plus or minus two,’ which is the number of digits that the average person can remember at a time. They then explain how feeding the analytical side with this many pieces of information completely fogs it up and removes it from decision making process entirely.

The way I see it is that the conscious mind is made up of the analytical and emotional parts whilst the subconscious mind holds the information. If you clog up the conscious mind with too much information you will fail to make the right choice. Try making a decision when angry or sad and making a decision when you have lots on your mind is equally difficult. Ideally you need to clear your head of anything that isn’t relevant and go with your instinct! It’s not always going to work for many reasons that Radiolab’s episode explores. Though it surely can’t help to keep everything in your head.

So there you have it, the link from the list to the subconscious; if only we could unlock it completely.

Yours, currently crossing one off the list,

Victor Blemish

Friday, 27 August 2010

Good Vs. Evil

My brother ranted the other day. He ranted that ‘good’ is only an illusion that is reinforced by antiquated stories that get passed down through the ages. His experience is that there is no balance of ‘good’ vs ‘evil’ and only malevolent actions.
Well, that is if I paraphrased and understood correctly anyway.
These thoughts got my mind working—made the little cogs turn and essentially, if you strip away all the pessimism and anger, he is right.

‘Good’ and ‘evil’ is just an illusion, an illusion that can evoke endless emotion. A wicked act will wail in your mind. It will torment and torture you, driving you to fury! Just as a wondrous act of kindness will warm your heart and elate your soul. The concept is one that encompasses the causality of benevolent and spiteful actions
What I am saying here is that the concept of good and evil is an illusion however I am stipulating that both are illusions. If good is, then you have got to believe that evil is too.
But what does that mean in a world where all that is televised is the wrongdoing? All that is shouted about is the malice, the anger and the suffering. The evil side of the illusion is forced upon us so we must complete this two-sided illusion. We need to tell and remember the stories that fight the battle for good. We must do this because at first glance we live in a messed up world that is fuelled off stories of woe. If we don’t remind ourselves of all the good that does exist then the evil that appears to ooze from every pore of our bedraggled world will bog us down.

Now to put it in slightly chirpier a way: the world is wonderful and under every unturned rock you can find its’ hidden wonder, if you were to look.

Yours pre rock flipping,


Monday, 9 August 2010

Fwd, Bwd, Up and Dwn

As I march through life people have often told me not to look down, ‘There’s more to the world than what you’re about to step on.’

Then other people say I shouldn’t look up, ‘Get your head out of the sky son, you keep dreamin’ like that and you’ll never get anything done!’
I have definitely also been told not to look back, ‘don’t dwell on what has happened to you and what you’ve done. Obsess over the past and you are doomed to repeat it.’

And as I continue my trudge, they also tell me not to look forward, ‘With your head so far in the future you may very well end up missing the now.’

A distinct contradiction of terms that renders me motionless and suspended between the four directions. Of course I understand what they mean. As with many things, partaking in excess is not good for you, however this got me thinking.
Without the dreamers looking up at the sky and asking, ‘what if?’ The world would be so much less spectacular. Without the people watching where they are going, routed and steady. Their heads engrossed in the now and enjoying the beauty of the present, we might all miss it. If no one studied the past then we might all just forget it. Lessons and triumphs lost in the wastes of time. And finally, though no less important, without people with one foot in the future we would no doubt, never get anywhere at all.

So with that I do say that I must disagree. I disagree with those who tell me not to dream, not to reminisce, and not to think too much on what may or will be, not to watch where I am treading. I say that the world needs them all and on a smaller scale, each of us need to be a bit of them all for confidence and stability in yourself.
It cant be too healthy to be one more than another, so expose yourself in this light and really probe your decisions and see if you can make yourself a little more balanced.
Though, if you manage a perfect balance then you are far superior to me! I tend not to toil over it however. I figure as long as I look at what I am doing and assess whether it is keeping me positive then I don’t mind where I sit on the graph. As far as I am concerned that’s it, you just have to stay positive about yourself then it’s hard to get roughed up by the unpredictability of it all.

So I ask simply, ‘Where do you fit on the graph? And would you be better off marching with a different target in mind?’

Yours looking up (Currently)

Victor Blemish

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Inanimate Objects

I sometimes find myself talking to inanimate objects. Strange start to this post you say? Well it is quite, but then so are most habits people develop so I felt I should share one of mine.

Anyway, I sometimes find myself talking to inert objects. My computer, the cupboard door, my shoes, and… well—now that I come to think of it—anything, I suppose. Now I am sure that so many people do this countless times in a day, though I’m not sure many have stopped and thought, ‘Why did just address my assailant, (the cupboard door) as a dick, (a fucking dick no less) for simply being in the way of my stupid head when I stood up?’

So I pondered the reason for me addressing the innocuous object this way. In this case, I thought that maybe it was away to numb the pain. Personifying it would allow it to take partial blame for my stupidity.

It didn’t paint the whole picture. There was more too it than that. That reason was more of a byproduct. So I thought of it simpler.
It was then that I realized I use the same tone and inclination when addressing animals. That loose sheep bleating from the field, that yappy dog jumping up from your heels, the chirping birds in the trees…

I realized I am challenging them to respond. Daring them to communicate with me and in doing so allow me to empathize with them. How good would that be? Telling your cupboard door to get out of the way when your head was approaching and never hitting your head again. Telling your shoelace to stop coming undone and tripping you up and it listening! Telling your dog to fetch your shoes and not drool on them…

To be honest I’m not sure why I am considering posting this drivel. Maybe it’s because I have just hit my head on a cupboard door and shouting at it didn’t achieve anything…

With a splitting headache,


Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Structure is something that I tend to lack. When ever I try and add it into my life something crops up and changes it or destroys it.
This isn't to say that I am disorganized, though it does mean that I flit from one thing to another and I more often than not take on more than I can chew. Actually, that sounds like I am disorganized... Well, I'll rephrase; this isn't to say that I am not capable of finishing things, though it does take me a while. I will often start one thing before I have finished another. I will often dream of fantastic new ideas before I have even culminated others. My mind will often race so far ahead my mouth stumbles over my words, and worst of all, I know that structure would give me the freedom to make it all come together.

Even when it comes down to putting my thoughts on paper it is hard to regulate and meter them naturally. This may even come through this post…

I start with good intentions. I set myself goals. I try to ensure that I keep a note of things I need to do, and prioritize them. I put effort into ensuring that I think logically about what I am going to do and the actions I make are thought-out, methodical and consistent.

Despite this I can often find my mind wondering, working on different puzzles of the same ilk or realize that my priorities were wrong and compensate for this on the fly.
This is one of my main problems with my work. I go there every day and am free to choose how I work. Complete freedom. I have paperwork I have to complete, and other colleagues I have to appease and I have targets that I have to meet however other than that, where I spend my time is unmetered. The problem for me is without structure it is so much harder to gain direction.
I try and approach the problems in a similar manner, however I always feel like I am floundering in a desert without direction.
I discussed this analogy with one of the directors and asked him for guidance and here is how he added to the analogy.

‘You have to see yourself searching for food and water in this desert.’ He said, and cleared his throat, ‘You know that just out of sight, over the horizon is an oasis of water and food but for now you have to survive. Find gerbils to eat. Eat cactus. Eat and drink anything you can to survive for now and eventually you will reach the oasis.’ He always seems wise though slightly mad when he talks; a combination that makes him very difficult to challenge. ‘It’s a hard journey but we have all got to go on it and get as much from it as we can.’

I nodded at the time. Silently agreed to something I couldn’t quite process quickly enough. I wish I could have come back with this straight away. He still was trying to get out of giving me any structure. His thoughts are valid in this subject and he is a wizened man. He doesn’t feel that he can do anything to interfere with a person’s journey. He doesn’t want to tell them what to do of they will never learn for themselves. I get this! It makes so much sense however, after much contemplation here are my thoughts on this desert:

‘It’s fine to survive on desert rats, gerbils, hamsters, lizards, cacti and anything else you can find however it is pointless if you are eventually going to run out because you have walked in the wrong direction. You need to know where you are going and always be headed that way. In essence he could show us the direction to walk with out fear of taking anything from our journey. We will still have to walk the hard walk. We will still need to feast on sand dwelling beasts on the way. We will still learn from our experiences. Without that little beacon to aim for it is easy for us to flounder, second guess our own decisions, and make rash choices. ‘

Ultimately we need structure to function as a society. From the convention of saying hello to each other to the complex systems of tacit knowledge that veil the art of navigating traffic in your car.

Without structure we may be able to function though it will never be as efficient as it can be with structure.

Could you survive without structure?



PS: People that don’t work with me may find this hard to follow and I must apologize for that…

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

'God' is Infinite right?

So, people tell me that God is infinite.

All the qualms I may have about religion about following someone else blindly in some pursuit of purpose are still, in my own humble opinion, wholly grounded.

However... I don't discount this theory. That is to say I can see a reason that there would be a need for us, the human race, to have been created.
An infinite being created the human race with a finite life span. He created flowers, tress, land, seas, birds, (bees...) and everything else.
If he is truly omnipotent then why would he need to?

The conclusion I have drawn is that an infinite being surely cannot experience joy, love, beauty and pain the way we do? In their very essence these feelings and experiences can only exist within a protracted period of time... ergo he created finite beings to experience what he could not.

A baby is born in a couple of minutes and yet it is a new life entering the world! A release of nine months of hard work. Though for an infinite being this point in time is no different from infinite others.

One example of many I could name... I will just leave them for your indulgence.

I think this can be expressed in an equation but then I am no

Yours in complex arrangements of beauty over t1 minus t2..


Ps. Quite sexist there, I apologize: I shouldnt talk of God as a man and yes, yes, I know labour goes on for hours into days, I'm just trying to make a point..

Saturday, 13 February 2010

In response to the idea to reduce working hours

'Brilliant, yet another move in a completely pointless direction. The working week has been decreasing for years whilst the perks have been increasing to help hide the fact that most people’s jobs are menial and unfulfilling at best. Why not increase people’s responsibility at work to allow them the freedom to make their own decisions and manage their work life the way they want?
This reduction of hours will only increase recruitment and middle management costs. Give people a chance to add value.'

Creativity Bottle Neck

It comes all at once. You feel the spark inside and you just want to create. Then what happens? You sit at your writing pad, your blog entry, your easel, your piano and are stumped.

Everything is there, teetering on the precipice but just failing to come out. At the brink of almost finally letting the idea explosively escape, a tiny snippet slowly trickles into existence.

In writing, the words stumble and jitter onto the page. The order confused and the meaning unclear. The mess tangled and illegible; even you are unsure what you mean. You can feel yet more ideas stacking up behind the first that will not release.
Moving swiftly to the point of insanity, as the ideas fight each other to be the first out. The stream of ideas buffeted, twisted and turbulent heads from the back of your mind through the minuscule neck of the bottle. After an age of trying the glass contains a drip of an idea and the wisp of flair slowly vanishes.

Yours in hope of creative release,