Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Friday, May 20, 2022
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Monday, April 18, 2022
Sunday, February 6, 2022
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Thursday, August 12, 2021
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Why does something have to last for eternity to be meaningful? Is there some kind of connection between permanence and having a "point"? Even if something did last for eternity, how would that transmute it into something that has meaning or a point?
Or maybe you think it doesn't have to be eternity, but only a long period of time. Well, people live for many decades. Let's round that up to 100 years. Is 100 years a long enough time to be meaningful? In the scope of humanity (200,00 years), 100 years is not much. In the scope of life on Earth (3.5 billion years) it's nothing. On the other hand, compared to most living things, 100 years is a lot.
Sit still and just look at a clock, doing nothing else, for 5 minutes. Seems like a pretty long time.
Again, what has time got to do with meaning.
So what if you will end? So what if when you are gone, that's it. Nothing else. You don't continue and you are gone forevermore. So what even if it's true that in 100 or 200 years no one will even know you ever existed? So what? What has that to do with meaning?
Meaning, or "the point" is whatever you want it to be? If you decide that the point is to last forever, you're fucked. If you think that the point it to make yourself happy in this moment, you maybe can do that. Maybe you decide a point would be to make your family and friends feel a little better. Or maybe you decide the point is to explore this crazy world by traveling.
Some people make the point of their lives to be about creating something that will last a few generations, like a book or a piece of music. Lots and lots of people accept that their point is to procreate and then ensure the survival of their spawn.
And most people, the vast majority, find a number of different "points". They mix procreation, immediate enjoyment, some notion of the eternal via religion, serving their friends, and numbing out the existential dread that they still can't fill -- as their point.
What will it be for you?
The great news is, no one is telling you what your point has to be. No God and no person is forcing a point upon you. YOU get to choose.
Or you can not choose and just bump along like a billiard ball hit by forces outside your control or even awareness.
And if you choose one thing for a while and then decide you want to choose a different point later, you can do that too.
It's all up to you.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Monday, March 8, 2021
Si yo pudiera darte una cosa en la vida, me gustaría darte la capacidad de verte a ti mismo a través de mis ojos. Sólo entonces te darás cuenta de lo especial que eres para mí y lo mucho que te voy queriendo. Qué es la vida, sino solo un instante... La belleza se va y con ella lo superfluo de un estereotipo, no me resulta complicarme, veamos el cielo juntos he traído galletas para ambos.
Frida Kahlo (o al menos adjudicado a ella)
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Ningún año nos ha dejado una mayor lección como humanidad como el 2020. Un virus que no entendió de geografía, se coló a todo el mundo sin importar las fronteras y vino a revolucionar el mundo.
Ese enemigo invisible, minúsculo y contagiosísimo al que nos enfrentamos en todo el mundo y que lo llaman coronavirus.
Preocupación, melancolía, tristeza, fragilidad, miedos, incertidumbre, ansiedad, vulnerabilidad y muchas noches de insomnio son sentimientos que tenemos a flor de piel.
La palabra positivo se convirtió en la palabra más negativa durante esta pandemia. Todos llevamos nuestra propia historia de sufrimiento. Hasta que no lo vives en carne propia o enferma alguno de tus familiares es cuando sientes que literal el mundo se te viene encima.
Ninguna operación matemática podrá resumir adecuadamente el efecto tanto físico, como emocional y económico de esta pandemia.
Un año que nos sacudió para cuestionarnos lo realmente importante y ver las cosas desde otra perspectiva más amplia, profunda y transformadora.
2020 nos regaló algo de lo que tanto nos quejamos: falta de tiempo!. Ojalá lo hayan sabido aprovechar porque son pocas las oportunidades que se nos presentan para dar un respiro y una pausa a nuestra agitada vida.
Físicamente me ha separado de muchos pero me ha fortalecido en mente y en corazón. Aprendí a reevaluar mis decisiones, saber que nada es duradero y que siempre se puede volver a empezar e intentarlo de nuevo.
Abracemos nuestra fragilidad, aceptemos la incertidumbre, y recordemos que no tenemos el control de las cosas y que los planes se desintegran en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Estructuremos menos, fluyamos más y seamos agradecidos siempre!.
2020 te suelto y agradezco el seguir teniendo a mi familia completa y sana, una casa en la cual resguardarme, comida y trabajo. Gracias a mi Covid support team sin ustedes hubiera enloquecido con mis demonios y el encierro.
2021 te recibo con esperanza, ya que la esperanza es la capacidad de ver que hay luz a pesar de la oscuridad.
“En los momentos de crisis, sólo la imaginación es más importante que el conocimiento” Albert Einstein. #Happy2021 #Blessed
Friday, December 25, 2020
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Friday, October 2, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Monday, September 7, 2020
At 31, I have just weeks to live.- Here's what I want to pass on
At the beginning of April I wrote a piece for the Guardian. If you haven’t read it, the headline pretty much sums it up: “Terminal cancer means I won’t see the other side of lockdown”. Given the pandemic and the announcement of shielding for vulnerable people, I thought I wouldn’t be able to live out my last few months in the way I’d imagined. It seemed like I would be stuck alone, with no light at the end of the tunnel, and without the comfort of friends or family.
Five months on, I’m still here, but much has changed. Thankfully, the experience wasn’t as bleak as you might think. During the first few weeks of lockdown I found I was floating nicely through the time by staying occupied and upbeat. In many ways, you can’t beat the liberation of being able to wake up when you feel like it, having few plans set in stone and being able to do whatever you want with the time you have.
Over the past couple of months, though, my energy levels have dropped, and I have started doing less. I look drastically different. I have lost a lot of weight. A 20-minute coughing fit is now part of my morning routine while my chest tries to settle itself. It’s nothing that some steroids, morphine, an iced drink to settle my throat and time spent dry-heaving in front of a bucket won’t eventually sort out, but it can get really distressing – like an intrinsic panic response.
At points I was really struggling. The loneliness of Covid was making me miserable, and I needed company. But my sister came to the rescue at just the right moment. She moved back into our shared flat at the end of June. It made a huge difference, and I don’t know where I would be without her. After months of isolation, having a family member close by changed everything.
At the same time, out of the blue, I was told I was finally suitable for a drug trial that had been dangled in front of me for more than a year. The oncologists made it very clear that this would not be a “magic bullet”, and the goal would be to extend life by a few months. The aim of the treatment would be to stop the cancer stealing all the nutrients and energy my body needs.
But I was not in the same good shape I had been in at the beginning of other treatments; I was extremely short of breath, unable to exercise and felt lethargic. And after pinning my hopes on the idea of a drug trial for so long, it took just over a week for it to batter me. My days involved moving from my room to the sofa, feeling like I had flu and struggling with mental fog. Almost immediately I realised I just couldn’t do it. Life for me is about living, not just clocking up the years. And this drug made living almost impossible.
I realised I had to finally accept the inevitable: that there was no treatment. I thought this mindset would leave me feeling completely liberated. I was wrong. With nothing left to fight, it really was just a question of waiting. The battle became emotional and mental. It has forced me to reflect.
The first three decades of my life were pretty standard. Well, actually they were awesome, and everything was going pretty perfectly with regards to work, health, relationships and friends. I had plans for the future, too: learn some Spanish, see more of central America, and get a bit more out of it with some volunteering too.
I imagined settling down in my 30s or 40s with kids, a mortgage and so on. Or maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe my friends’ children would call me Uncle Elliot as their parents gathered in the kitchen looking slightly concerned about their single 45-year-old friend about to set off travelling around Mongolia. Either way, growing older with my mates and living my life to the full was always my ambition.
Of course, the second part of this storyline won’t be written now. It’s a shame I don’t get to see what happens. But everybody dies, and there will always be places and experiences missing from anyone’s life – the world has too much beauty and adventure for one person to see. I will miss marriage or children, blossoming careers and lives moving on. But I’m not alone in my life being cut short, and I think my time has been pretty good.
At this point I should say a word to my friends. Being this ill complicates all relationships. The rut I found myself in a few weeks back hasn’t lifted. I’ve definitely been “feeling the victim” a lot more than usual. My acceptance that my time and energy is now limited comes with the knowledge that I won’t be able to catch you all properly to give our relationships the time and appreciation they deserve. I get so many messages from you all, which often exceed the energy I have to reply. Where I am able to see people, I’d just say keeping me company and being positive is helpful. I want fun, laughter, happiness, joy. I think it’s very possible to have this kind of death – there is likely to be a shadow of sadness hanging over proceedings, but for the most part I want everyone relaxed and to be able to feel the love.
Because I know that that moment isn’t too far away. I haven’t asked for a specific prognosis, as I don’t believe there’s much to gain from doing so, but I think it’s a matter of weeks. Medicine has luckily turned this into quite a gentle process. That really does take a lot of the fear away. And I’m hoping impending death now grants me the licence to sound prematurely wise and overly grandiose. Because I’ve had time to think about the things that are really important to me, and I want to share what I’ve discovered.
First, the importance of gratitude. During my worst moments – the shock of cancer diagnosis, the mental lows and debilitating symptoms of chemotherapy – it was difficult to picture any future moments of joy, closeness or love. Even so, at those times I found comfort in remembering what I have: an amazing family, the friends I’ve made and times I’ve shared with them, the privilege of the life I’ve had.
Second, a life, if lived well, is long enough. This can mean different things to different people. It might mean travel. I’ve had the good fortune to be able do this, and can confirm that the world is a wonderful place full of moments of awe and amazement – soak up as much as you can. It may mean staying active, as much as possible – the human body is a wonderful thing. You only appreciate this when it starts to fail you. So when you find yourself slipping into autopilot, catch yourself, and take simple pleasure in movement, if you can. Look after your body because it’s the only one you have, and it’s bloody brilliant. Knowing that my life was going to be cut short has also changed my perspective on ageing. Most people assume they will live into old age. I have come to see growing old as a privilege. Nobody should lament getting one year older, another grey hair or a wrinkle. Instead, be pleased that you’ve made it. If you feel like you haven’t made the most of your last year, try to use your next one better.
Third, it’s important to let yourself be vulnerable and connect to others. We live in a society that prizes capability and independence, two things that cancer often slowly strips away from you. This was naturally a very difficult pill to swallow for a healthy, able late-twentysomething male, but having to allow myself to be vulnerable and accept help has given me the best two years of my life, which was pretty inconceivable at the time of diagnosis. Vulnerability has shown me what phenomenal people my sister and parents are – words can’t do justice to how much they have done for me. The same applies to my friends – what better way is there to spend two years than being surrounded regularly and closely by these people?
Fourth, do something for others. Against the backdrop of Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and the desperate attempts of migrants to cross the Channel, my thoughts really turned to those who have not had my privilege – whether that’s by virtue of socioeconomics, ethnicity or the country I was born in. I always try to remind myself of this.
Fifth, protect the planet – I can’t leave this off because it’s so important. I’ll be gone soon, but humanity will still be faced with the huge challenge of reducing carbon emissions and saving habitats from destruction. In my time here, I’ve been lucky enough to see some natural wonders and understand how precious they are. Hopefully future generations will be able to say the same. But it will take a massive collective effort.
If you asked me what I’d want to leave behind, it would be a new awareness of these things among my friends – and anyone who’ll listen, really. I was astonished by the number of people that responded to my article in April. I now find myself in a position where people are asking me how they can help or what they can do that would make me happy. Apart from the obvious – looking after each other once I’ve gone – I’m going to push for people to give, be that money or time. I’ve already had so many people ask which causes I recommend, and there are loads, but I’d say any that align with the values I’ve sketched out above would have my blessing. Among friends and family there is talk of setting up a small charity in my memory.
Despite some very low times, it’s worth repeating that the period since being diagnosed has been made not just bearable but actually fantastic. I’ve had new experiences that haven’t seemed tainted by cancer – and those experiences were, as always, much better shared. In a situation that is pretty new for most of my loved ones and friends (I am yet to meet anyone I grew up with who has had to deal with cancer or a similar chronic illness at my age), it has been amazing watching them all rise to the challenge. I’m not sure if it’s just that I know a high proportion of amazing people (possible) or if most human beings have this capacity for connecting and recognising what’s truly important (very likely).
After the gut-punch of cancer diagnosis, I’ve really struggled to define a purpose for my own life. I found in time this came naturally. Life is for enjoyment. Make of it what you can.
• Elliot Dallen is from Cardiff and lives in London. He was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma in 2018, aged 29
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Monday, June 8, 2020
Saturday, May 30, 2020
En estas semanas me ha tocado dar intervención psicológica y emocional a pacientes que han perdido a su familia entera. A integrantes de una familia en la que solo han sobrevivido dos y no pueden estar juntos por el aislamiento obligado que deben cumplir.
Me tocó darle apoyo a un paciente que dieron de alta en el hospital. Estaba solo en su casa porque toda su familia contrajo el virus y todos estaban hospitalizados en diferentes instituciones. Su hermano menor murió.
Le dieron la noticia por teléfono desde el hospital. Después me llamaron para ver si podía brindarle apoyo. Lo llamé. La mayoría de las intervenciones con familiares o pacientes se hacen vía telefónica por la restricción de aislamiento. Eso lo hace más complejo.
Las intervenciones que hacemos en situación normal son presenciales porque trabajamos mucho con el lenguaje no verbal. Acá el reto es cómo manejas las emociones de los afectados solo por teléfono.
(Samuel Hernández, 30 años. Residente de Psiquiatría en un instituto nacional de salud)
El reto es grande porque no solo implica que han perdido a un familiar o a varios. Es que muchos no se van a poder despedir. No van a tener un ritual funerario y entierro que es fundamental para la elaboración del duelo.
Lo que hacemos es escucharlos, validar sus emociones, plantearles formas de despedirse: como redactar una carta para la persona, poner en ella todo lo que tienen que decir y después quemarla.
Al principio me daba mucha angustia esperar las llamadas. Decía: ahora qué voy a escuchar. Ahora ya estoy más tranquilo. Pero es difícil, porque es estar lidiando con una avalancha de cosas. Las malas noticias llegan una tras otra tras otra.
Hay también muchos compañeros infectados, porque sí hacemos intervenciones personales cuando los pacientes están en una situación tan crítica que la atención no puede ser telefónica. Vamos además al hospital dos veces por semana a tener sesiones grupales de contención con los médicos y enfermeras.
La semana pasada varios compañeros resultaron positivos. Sí da miedo contagiarse. Me levanto cada día pensando si ya estaré infectado, y solo me queda esperar que si es así no me vaya tan mal.
Lo otro que es muy difícil es no ver a la familia. Desde que esto empezó no he visto a mi hermana, que también es médico, ni a mi mamá. Solo hablamos por videollamada y también a ella trato de darle contención. Le digo que todo está bien y que todo va a estar bien.
Pero sé que no vamos a regresar pronto a la misma forma de vida como la conocíamos antes. Hay riesgo de rebrotes. Esto va a tardar. Debemos estar preparados. Pero también concentramos en el aquí y el ahora. Yo pienso que mi familia está bien, que no se han enfermado y eso ya es bastante.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Friday, January 10, 2020
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Monday, December 2, 2019
So how did fascism originally develop? It grew out of a European intellectual movement which criticized the alienating effect that industrial society had on modern man, as well as late 19th century critiques of Liberalism and Positivism. They believed that industrial society robbed men of their individuality; however they wanted to assert it at the same time. These ideas were adopted by many young people, especially young, middle-class socialists, because they wanted to rebel against what they perceived as pointless and archaic bourgeois morality and conformity. This is why in the 1930s, fascism looked like it might actually take over Europe: it successfully harnessed people’s dissatisfaction with modern society and directed it into political channels.
Fascists were influenced by philosophers like Gustav Le Bon who wrote about the need for a strong leading figure to lead the masses against social ills. He believed that people were fundamentally irrational, and should embrace their irrationality. This was taken up by fascist ideologues who thought that their members’ irrationality should be harnessed by the leader and directed into political action, which was mostly comprised of beating up socialists, communists and trade unionists (or Jews in the case of Nazism). Fascism was a fundamentally violent ideology which praised war and conflict. Both Hitler and Mussolini believed that war was the highest expression of human ability and society, and sincerely thought that life was a continual conflict between people for limited resources (hence the title of Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf). To fascists war was a good thing because it let nations or races decide who was the strongest and who deserved the planet's resources.
Fascism’s insistence on embracing irrationality is one thing that makes it hard to comprehend; although Hitler and Mussolini wrote their respective handbooks about fascist beliefs, they ultimately rejected concrete doctrines and always acted in response to current events. This is why a lot of fascist rhetoric and actions seem to be contradictionary.
The First World War gave fascism its mass base. Veterans across Europe felt alienated in civilian society after the war, which could not understand their experiences on the frontline. A lot of them wanted to return to an idealized comradeship and hierarchy of the front line, which fascist organizations like the SA and the Blackshirts offered. A lot of them didn’t actually care about the nuances of fascist ideology, they just felt like they didn’t belong in civilian society and needed order and comrades. Instead of a real enemy opposing army, fascism offered them a frontline against post-war society which was especially attractive in revisionist countries like Germany and Italy, where many wanted to destroy the existing Liberal order which they blamed for their countries’ humiliations.
Unlike socialists and communists, fascists wanted to cure modern society’s alienation through the creation of a hierarchal state made up of different social classes working together for the benefit of the nation. This is called ‘corporatism’ and is fascism’s only real contribution to economic thought. The competing segments of industrial society would be united by the leader act entirely through the state, which incidentally would preserve existing capitalist hierarchies and strengthen them. Fascists were for a sort of inverted social-democracy which would give social services to its members but not to anyone else. If you were not a member of the nation or the Volksgemeinschaft - tough luck. This is why many people participated in Fascist and Nazi organizations like the DAP or Hitler Youth; if you did not actively participate in the national or racial community, you were not a part of it and would be socially ostracized (or worse) and denied state benefits. They didn't necessarily believe in fascist ideology, and many opposed it, but the fascist state required them to participate in it.
The major difference between fascism and socialism is that the former was all about preserving hierarchy and bourgeois society, while getting rid of industrial alienation through the creation of a totalitarian society. Mussolini thought that by giving up your individuality to the totalitarian state, you could have your energies and efforts multiplied by its services. Paradoxically, by surrendering individuality, alienation would somehow disappear. In industrial societies, fascism was popular with the middle class because it offered a cultural and social revolution which would keep hierarchies and fortify them through corporatism. Unlike conservatism, fascism wanted a cultural revolution that would create a “New Fascist Man” who had no individuality separate from the state. This is why it was appealing to the middle class; it let them vent their frustrations about modern society and be little revolutionaries while simultaneously protecting their property and position in the social hierarchy.
The emphasis on maintaining private property and hierarchy was what made fascists hate socialists and communists. Fascism marketed itself as the “Third Way” between Liberalism, which was responsible for alienation and the post-war Wilsonian order, and Socialism, which threatened to take bourgeois property in an economic revolution. Conservatives and fascists usually got along because they both hated the same things, but most conservatives failed to understand the revolutionary aspect of fascism and believed they could be controlled to curtail workers’ rights and revise the Paris Treaties, which didn't really work out.
EDIT: I've got to go to class right now, and I'll try to answer all your questions ASAP!
Thursday, November 28, 2019
Thursday, November 21, 2019
From an outsider's perspective, I appear to be a very happy and stable individual. I have a financially secure job and I go to work every day and not only try my best but actively try to get along with others and make people laugh every day. My coworkers like me, and some look up to me. No one would think I have any problems at all. However, I feel like I am hidden behind a veil, and when I come home from work and when I am in the privacy of my home, I am in such crippling depression. I have such terrible episodes of sadness. I hate myself. I over-analyze everything stupid I do or say throughout the day and I replay it in my mind constantly and belittle myself. I don't feel proud of myself for any of my accomplishments and genuinely don't know why anyone even likes me. And yet I still get up every day, live this routine, and put on a facade like I am okay. It feels like I am living a double life that I cannot escape.
> This is where I am right now. There's a girl that I think is actually interested in me but I don't want to end up being a burden on her.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Friday, October 18, 2019
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Friday, October 11, 2019
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Friday, October 4, 2019
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
I think I'm retarded. Something, somethings - must have gone wrong when I was born. I don't feel human and I believe I'm beneath every single member of society due to my inability to connect to anyone. Oh, yeah, all these medals, even a scholarship and diplomas - wow, look, I'm so smart!
No. They're as worthless as the junk that I learn for education on a daily basis. And that's the only thing I'm good at. Iterating this learned junk so masterfully that everyone is blindly latching onto the idea that I'm the smartest student in class.
Even my parent has told me that I'm only smart on paper. Everything else that actually matters - such as social interaction, and following instructions so simple that people half my age would be able to follow it? Yeah, I can't do those. I'm a dull witted idiot. I fully believe something truly fucked up with my brain development. And the words 'you're only smart on paper' wouldn't hurt as much if they weren't the truth. And I know they are. It's not simply even being about socially inept anymore. It's just being an imbecile. And expected to be up to the standard of every normal and average human - and those standards I cannot meet.
I remember when I used to be happy. Absolutely nothing gives me what I would call joy. I like only a few things in this world, and without them I'd have jumped off of my balcony already. Knowing myself, I'd fail at that too. There's just this one ingredient that everyone has that I'm missing. The one thing that makes them behave like the normal person that I am not.
And beyond being a cretin? I'm ungrateful. I'm reminded that I'm ungrateful on a daily basis verbally.
I have a home. I have food. I have access to an electronic device. I have a cat. I go to school and receive top marks.
And then I remember there's people with none of these things, and people who're also out there, clinging to this world with the last specks of their sanity - people who have to challenge and beat prejudices, people who're discriminated against for the colour of their skin, race, religion, sex, gender, nationality, sexual orientation. And none of these things that trouble the abovementioned figures trouble me as an individual - I am unharmed by these negatives. But I still don't want to exist.
I don't want to kill myself. Because a lot of effort, time and energy, alongside money, was put in the act of raising me to the state I am today. I don't want to throw that away. But if there was just this button to completely wipe all traces of me from the face of this earth? I'd sure as hell sign up.
I wish I'd just been born like most of humanity on Earth; a part of the majority. I wouldn't even care if I had been born a homophobic twat if it meant I could blend in with others. Just for a little time. I wouldn't care if I had been born a racist, a sexist, or any other vile scum that are so well integrated into society. That's just how selfish I am. I wish I had been born an ignorant ass, if it meant just a modicum of happiness - for myself.
I still remember when my sister asked my mother about suicide as a young kid (she's not suicidal). My mother said all those who kill themselves are condemned to hell for all of eternity. And out of all the things that I've heard in all of my life, this one, this particular line brings a genuine smile to my face. This is how she expects, this is how society around me expects that they discourage suicide.
Besides, I'm going to hell regardless. Not that I've done any particular evils, no. I just never believed in God. So I'm cruising down to hell, I suppose, to punish for my lack of faith. But I sincerely hope it's just a big, endless, empty sleep that comes after death.
I'll go sleep it off now. Suicide would be wasted on a person like me, anyway.
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
con verte sonreír
y con verte pasar
nada más, nada más
junto a mi.
Me conformo mi amor
con saber, que a mi lado
fuiste tu muy feliz
aunque te olvides de mí.
Así es la vida
todo tiene un principio y un fin
mas yo quería
que a mi lado fueras
Pero me conformo con saber
que fuiste mío
y que eres en mi vida
El más querido.