Tag Archives: happiness

Love

Love has entered my life.  After several years of wondering whether I was invisible to the rest of the world, dealing with the depression of the troubles of last year at last there is positivity flowing towards me.  It is truly wonderful.

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Three Years Credit Card Debt Free

This post is to acknowledge that I have managed to remain out of Credit Card debt for three years now.  More recently I have used the card that I have, but I have used it for it’s insurance features rather than the carrying a debt over several months feature.  I made sure that I had money in the bank prior to using it.  I remember paying it off about two days after I charged it to the account.  The online statement system couldn’t handle it.  It said I had to pay a minimum payment but I had no balance.  I have absolutely no intention of carrying a debt now – it becomes just another bill to pay!

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The ultimate question?

Is life worth living?

According to Nietzsche our lord(s) and saviour(s); our God(s) are dead.  Dead in that their originating source is undefined and Religion(s) appear to be systems that provide a social structure for the continuation of our species.  Interesting stuff!  He points out that if indeed God(s) is dead this isn’t necessarily a negative thing.  Our horizons will have been opened up by the lack of moral boundary.  Anything is possible; at last.  However, if there are no Gods, then what makes life worth living?  If life is not a period in which to attempt to satisfy all Karmic debts, then what value does life have in and of itself?  Procreation and maintaining human numbers is one potential offering, but there are already probably way too many people on this planet so this seems like a very weak argument.

Baudrillard coined a wonderful term “Desert of the real” to describe the mere fragments of our experience that are actually sourced in true authenticity.  In the west we are surrounded by imagery which is used to construct our reality.  Only the other day did I realise the depth to which I had been conditioned by TV.  I was at a friends house (hi Jono!) and he put his TV on as background noise as people do.  The BAFTA awards were in their early stages.  People who I mostly did not recognise due to lack of exposure to the entertainment media over the last five years or so appeared in smart attire and were furiosly photographed by photographers.  As I watched with new eyes.  As if I hadn’t seen this kind of thing before, I saw one section of the media photographing another section of the media, to be published in a different form of media; the whole event being televised which obviously is another form of media.  TV was displaying its own child.  I think this is a simulacra or simulacrum?? (Answers on a post card please!)  Anyway, I remembered “The desert of the real” and as I watched actors and actresses be treated incredibly specially I wondered what they had done?  Have they saved lives?  Have they prevented wars?  Have they solved world poverty and starvation?  No, they have entertained those of us who are lucky enough not to be starving.  There are awards for this kind of thing.

So in the potentially godless desert of the real, is life worth living?  If not should it be ended?  If it is worthy of our effort how do we know?  What benefits do we reap?  In my experience the death of a loved one is an interuption to the precession of simulacra presented to us as reality on an everyday basis.  Maybe those who acknowledge and accept in their own mind that life isn’t of any value and act on this personal reality bring a moment of reality to the lives of their nearest and dearest?  Those who I have lost most certainly have brought a moment of reality and clarity to my experience.  I am grateful.

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Cleared my credit card debt

As of today I have no credit card debt again.  I managed to pay off the last £350.00 worth.  I had been paying around £160 each month on it for the last few months after moving my savings of £1600 onto it last december.  It wasn’t draining my finances completely but it really was an extra heavy weight to carry each payday.

Of course its all my fault, I signed up for the thing in the first place.  What did I buy?  I can’t actually remember which is probably pretty typical of a credit card user.  One thing for sure is that I didn’t use it for everyday spending like food and mortgage.  However I did find myself in what felt like an endless cycle of  “emergency=credit card use”.  I managed to stop this by starting an emergency fund and by being extremely stringent with my spending for a couple of months.  I managed to put £200 by for the servicing of my car (which turned out to be an MOT and new radiator! instead) so that I didn’t use my credit card – I used cash instead.

Car Insurance.
Books from Amazon.
A meal out.
A new computer.
A shirt.
Petrol.
New Car Tyres (pair).
Car repair (door window issues).
The odd ebay purchase.
Tickets to see Steely Dan in concert.
Vet bills.

This is what my statements say that I use my Credit Card for.  Most of these are now budgeted for but the Vet bills are a surprise.  I’m going to have to add that to the list of expenses.

Damn I really hate credit cards.  Things are just going to have to WAIT!  I’m not going back to that kind of suffering again.

Right now I feel like I need to keep it just in case I need it.  Looking at the statements the most expensive things were about £450.  I need to get at least this much into my emergency fund before the next emergency.  Once I have managed six months or so without it I am going to close the account and return the card.

My “credit card cut-up & shut-up day” is August 22nd 2010.

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Sadhu and their dedication

I went on a trawl of Google’s Images the other day looking for Sadhu’s. I find them curiously interesting. Sadhu’s are holy men of India. They are worshippers of Shiva living as ascetics who are in there last stage of the three stages of a Hindu life where efforts to achieve Moksha are upmost in and foremost in their minds. Being a worshipper of Shiva myself I am really drawn to their dedication and focus. Qualities that I have right now, but not in the same context and probably not in the same strength (by any stretch of the imagination). Their renunciation of the material and societial world interests me the most. I have always been drawn to things that completely buck the system and travel in a completely opposite direction to the norm. I am sure I have missed the point here, they’re likely to me going with the flow that is presented to them rather than making a poilitical point.

Personally I am currently attempting to live a more austere lifestyle, I’ve dumped my TV, I’ve severely reduced my possessions and I’m thinking of doing another round of recycling soon as I still have lots of things that I don’t really need. My iPod battery finally gave up the ghost the other day, I’m going to ebay it and pass it onto someone who can get hold of a battery and knows how to change them. I can’t compare my meagre efforts with the Sadhu’s who I admire so much, but I have a way to go before that stage of my life begins.

Click an image to see the full size version.
A SadhuJust looking at this picture makes me want to know what’s gone on in this mans mind. I find his efforts staggering. When do we in the west face this kind of experience?

Whilst looking through the hundreds of interesting pictures that people have put onto their blogs and photograph collections I came across this image of a young girl who lives in the city of Varanasi. Its not very often you see genuine happiness and freedom on someones face. I see this in her face. She seems so happy. She looks so genuine, she seems almost untainted. Untainted by the west?
Street Kids of Varanasi
What an amazing concept, that people can live in such terrible poverty by western standards, yet be so much more happy. I can’t remember the last time that I saw someone smile with such expression. Our overdeveloped western lives have so much to answer for.

Streets of Varanasi
This image shows the level of the quality of life in Varanasi. Dirt next to food being sold in the same street. A Bitch feeding her young. In the same place. What a great picture.

The Colour Photographs in this entry where taken by Ray Church. His photographs are found here: http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/893322.html and his travel blog can be found here: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Raymondo/

I feel that I should point out that I feel both grateful and annoyed at being a westerner.  There is much to be grateful for, as has been pointed out in the comments from the readers I appear to have annoyed with my ignorance.  Yet at the same time I do not feel a connection with the earth or with my community and to a certain degree with my spiritual life that appears to be the very foundation of the Indian way of life.  It is not my intention to annoy anyone with the comments I have made.  If they stir comments and even discussion then this is wonderful.  But I have posted the above pictures with the utmost respect for the people shown.  Namaste. Om Namah Shivaya.

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