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Showing posts from February, 2013

Humanity and Me

This world is not my world.

It probably sounds like a really stupid statement to make - and it is. I'm not going to pretend that it isn't. Every pretentious, jumped-up teenager who can't figure out a way to deal with their emotional problems says that, and if anything I'm at an age where I should be moving on from that and taking my place amongst the legions of the normal.

That doesn't stop me from feeling that way.

Ever since I was old enough to interact with society, I've had problems doing so. I'm an introvert; interacting with all but a few people drains me of energy. I'm shy; I have problems approaching others. I'm different, and not in the good way - not in the way of that one eccentric person with rainbow hair and a monocle who makes people have epiphanies just by talking to them.

I'm different in the way of that one weird kid at school whom everyone picked on. I'm not really some special-wecial snowflake, just a bit of a freak.

And a…

Independent Learning

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One of many markers of my geekiness is that I love to learn independently.

Yep, I said it: I love to learn, and I love even more to do my own learning. There's just something magnificent about trying to understand this universe and everything in it, and it's all the more magnificent to do it of your own free will.

Being a 17-year-old in the English school system, I still get spoon-fed information quite a lot and if I'm honest, I quietly resent it; I don't really like being told what and how to learn. I much prefer to do my own research - and I get pretty pissed off when someone tries to tell me that this is just the way things are.

So I was pretty pleased when one of my physics teachers started to get us to teach ourselves a part of the course through making notes and doing experiments. Hanging weights off springs, extending wires until they broke and making rainbow-coloured notes, I got a lot more done than I would if someone had just stood and talked at me for three…

Peaceful Resistance

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I support peaceful resistance.

Blah, blah, blah, whatever. A lot of people do; the idea of resisting without violence is not a new one.

I'm only posting about this because I know a lot of people who oppose peaceful resistance for their own reasons, and to be honest I have to admit I'm scared.

I'm scared because as much as I care about peaceful resistance, I doubt a lot of things and I'm keenly aware that I might be very, very wrong. I'm keenly aware that I might be oppressing people more with my refusal to take up arms against others, and I'm also keenly aware that violence is violence - that no matter who's beating whom up, someone is going to suffer. It's a point I'll return to very soon.

So here's my rationale for resisting peacefully - and if I'm wrong please rip me a new one.

My problem with violent resistance is the same problem I have with war: both assume that by putting more suffering into a system, you can end the suffering. In fa…

Shiny, Happy, Empty

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This is a post that I've wanted to write for a while, but have never really gotten around to trying to publish. I suppose it's time for me to stop putting it off.

I've been thinking again; as you should know if you know anything about me, this is a very bad thing. Happily, I've been turning my thoughts towards just why I hate motivational and inspirational things so much, as opposed to thinking about something actually useful (and therefore dangerous), like capitalism or war.

If you know me, it's probably not shocking to you that I have very little love for motivation and inspiration. And I'll admit something shameful to you now: even before I had legitimate grievances, I still mistrusted the people who exuded relentless positivity and cheer.

That probably makes a lot of you think that I'm a grumpy, blinkered, mistrustful cynic who's scared of change and wants to "stay a victim", in the terminology of many a positive thinker. Now, I don't…

On Killing

It sometimes seems to me as though people think killing makes everything better.

That's probably a strange statement to make, and perhaps an overly cynical one. After all, most supposedly civilised people would swear that murder is wrong - but then, after all, they'd sit down to eat their bacon and, sadly shaking their heads, affirm that war is sometimes a necessary evil and sing of the bravery of our troops.

Putting those sentiments aside, when you give those supposedly civilised people an internet connection or a gun, their behaviour changes. Suddenly, they'll be threatening to kill people they've never even met, trying to murder people in fits of anger, or going off to serve their fatherland by killing those bloody foreigners.

At this point some readers may protest and say "Well, I don't do that!". They may feel stung, hurt, even...offended. And I acknowledge that offence. I acknowledge that people don't want to think of themselves as murderers, or…

My super awesome choral workshop

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So on Thursday, being the elitist pig I am at heart, I went off for a choral day at Merton College, Oxford. I have to admit I was quite worried about how long the journey would take beforehand - and it probably doesn't help that my dad insisted on accompanying (and embarrassing) me all the way to the bus to Oxford, which for those of you that don't know calls itself a Tube. Weird, I know.

And there I was, sitting on a rumbly coach for an hour and a half, trying to avoid sleeping since I had my contact lenses in, trying even harder not to feel queasy sitting in a stuffy bus, and wondering just what the choral day would be like.

As it turned out, I had to wait about another hour to find out because in my panic to not be late I'd arrived quite early - and that day Oxford was freezing cold. Still, I spent a good hour or so wandering round Oxford at an hour when it was still relatively quiet, admiring its beauty, and trying to warm my voice up by singing under my breath.

I did…

On Sleeping

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I've got a confession to make. A dreadful, dastardly, horrible confession - and it doesn't help that it's probably a bit bizarre, too.

You see, I don't really like to sleep all that much. There's just something about spending a good couple of hours unconscious that doesn't really interest me. Maybe it's the utter lack of anything to do or feel...Anyway, I digress; regardless of how little I like my sleep - especially, for obvious reasons, while I'm snoozing away - I still need it. I need a ludicrous amount of it, actually.

And it's that frankly ludicrous amount of sleep that is my undoing; you see, like a fair number of people I can't get to sleep early but still need to wake up at a ridiculously early hour to get myself all presentable and ready for another day of slog. So I get some sleep - but not enough, and so, like most people, I spend the day walking around in a grumpy stupor.

Enough people do this for someone to recognise that there'…