Drink Some Concrete and Harden Up [Or Not, It’s Up To You Really]
There is a lot of misfortune and sadness around the place. It has always been that way. For some reason we think that we are always meant to be happy, skipping along life’s path with a latte in hand, radiating and receiving happiness and good will. But that isn’t what life is all about. Ask people who had relatives on flights MH 17 and 370, or who are fleeing persecution in Burma or Syria. Even at a far more shallow level ask your local goth or emo, two youth sub cultures who seem to have faded away, perhaps because the inherent irony of their position last century is now well, not so ironic.
The point is that life is meant to be difficult and on various levels at different times a struggle, and sometimes for various reasons you are going to be sad and down.
This week Blaze’s brother Gatesy did his shoulder whilst trying to improve himself. Unfair I know but there it is. No more surfing, fishing, bike riding, or anything physical for some months until he rehabilitates. It seems harsh to have got through a tough workout at the gym only to tear tendons opening up a good bottle of Riesling to go with lunch but there it is. Life is tough.
Gatesy is not letting it get him down and is doing a better job than I would under the circumstances. At our age an injury like this means your favourite leisure pursuits can come to permanent end. I know for me and Gatesy not to ever have a surf again is a depressing thought. Worse even than a Spice Girls reunion or a second Mama Mia movie or a Richard Marx’s tour, all of which are also real and happening now or soon. Christ, so much misfortune in the world.
To help cope I have been reading a book with the ambitious title of “12 Rules For Life - An Antidote For Chaos” by professor of Psychology, Jordan B Peterson. I asked Blaze whether he had read it and he said, “Of course not. It’s an antidote for chaos, isn’t it?”
Which I thought was quite witty for Blaze. He then said he had rules for life as well but 12 was ridiculous number and far too many.
Apparently Blaze’s rules are
1. Stay long enough for the top shelf liquor to come out but leave before the bottle is finished.
2. If something smells like shit and looks like shit it is probably shit
3. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force
4. If you are surfing a big day and you paddle inside to catch a little one you will have your arse handed to you
5. When in doubt play Led Zeppelin.
When I pointed out that rule 3 was in fact Newton’s first Law of Motion he just nodded knowingly.
Anyway Jordan’s 12 rules and his reasons for the formulation of them are described in some detail in the book [300+ Pages] and it can get tough going in part. He does approach things from a strong Judaeo Christian background and there is a great deal of lecturing on personal responsibility, bringing order from chaos etc. He is conservative, believes in traditional gender stereotypes and has become a bit of a poster boy for the right so you can bet there are some fierce Internet arguments about whether he is a lighthouse for some good old fashioned values or is he, as he has been described “a fascist mystic”.
Two words I never thought I would use together in a sentence.
I am not digging everything he says but there are bits I can dig especially when he points out that life is not all cold beer and Barbecue shapes at sundown and when things get tough you need to do some hard yards. And if you agree with that overcooked sentence you will like the book.
Now some of you have been pointing out that I have been delving more and more often into moral issues, politics and so called big questions of life. Blaze first pointed this out to me when I refused to join him one night for a Scooby Doo cartoon marathon [the original of course, not the shonky 21st century version.] I explained to him that I had bigger things on my mind and he seemed further disappointed when I explained that it wasn’t addressing the vexed question of who would fill the hooker role in the QLD state of origin team.
Simply I felt that my brain wanted a more meaty diet that the latest Jack Reacher novel or Foo Fighters release. And as these things happen, it was at this time that I stumbled across Waheed Ali’s and Scott Stevens podcast
“The Minefield”[available on ABC Radio National or where podcasts can be found.] Waheed is an excellent commentator on lots of stuff and can be found on the Ten network's The Panel, in Fairfax media as well as on the ABC’s Offsiders programme and the above podcast. Scott Stevens is a lecturer and writer on religion and ethics and the two together present the show that is 40 minutes of thinking about the modern world’s tricky ethical problems. A couple of samples of the sort of topics are -
Does multiculturalism pose a threat to national identity?
Should Private Lives be Subject to Public Scrutiny?
Pretty sexy hey? Not for everyone but given I suggested a bit if critical thinking would do us all good this is where I got the bug to expand my brain’s intake and try to think things through, understand other’s positions if not agree with them and not just write other people’s points of view off.
By the way the problems are not solved, most are unsolvable but like a good stroll it’s about the journey not necessary the destination.
As a result of this exposure I now spend most of my free time listening to podcasts on arts, politics, the economy and the modern world instead of music.
In my opinion Rock Music is now in old age and most of the new stuff sounds just like the old stuff anyway so I have no problem with this. I would rather do it than buy into the whole retro vinyl thing but to each their own.
And when I want some music, well there is no shortage of it and in fact as I have typed this I have had the shuffle working on my Mac.
So far I have heard Ryan Adams, Living Colour, Nick Cave, Suede, Iggy Pop, The Pretenders, You Am I, Camper Van Beethoven, The Drones, Sufjan Stevens, Band Of Skulls, Paul Weller, Gomez, The Smashing Pumpkins and Jackson Browne and I haven’t had to get up once to change the record over.
* The above image is not Blaze or Gatesy although I do agree the resemblance between Gatesy and Sir Isaac Newton is astonishing.