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Fahrenheit 451

FiremenBack in 1953 Ray Bradbury published a dystopian science fiction/fantasy novel called Fahrenheit 451. If you’ve not read it, do! It’s not only a rattling good story, but it remains soberingly relevant today.

In fact, in many ways, we are living in the future Bradbury imagined. [Read more…]

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Cosmic Jokers

Today I’ve been reflecting on the seemingly capricious nature of life.

On Friday Chris, my business partner, and I were jubilant about the fact we’d been engaged that morning for an exciting new project, which we know will be both challenging and fun to complete.

Then that afternoon an impending cold worsened, and I spent the weekend mostly in bed feeling like death warmed up – aching, snuffling fit to burst, coughing and losing my voice. So Friday’s jubilation went the way of all flesh – replaced by a dose of bodily misery.

Much better today, with that dreadful lurgy receding into the past in its turn, I’m smiling to myself at the way the Universe keeps reminding us life is a ever a journey of hills and valleys, highs and lows.

Ok, so neither the high nor the low I experienced in the last few days could in any way be described as an extreme example of its kind. But the rapid shift from one to the other and back again has definitely revealed the Cosmic Trickster at work once more.

This is an archetypal figure that has many names and guises across different cultures and mythologies.

Cosmic JokerFor example there’s the Norse god, Loki – shape shifter and trickster extraordinaire. Or Prometheus, who tricked Zeus and the other gods into allowing humans the best part of animals killed for sacrifice and stole fire from the gods on Olympus for people to use. There’s Maui from Polynesia who also stole fire from the gods to give to humans.

Then there’s Bamapana, a god of the Yolngu indigenous people from Arnhem Land in Australia, who delighted in causing disruption and discord. Or Eshu, god of chaos and trickery from Yoruba mythology in West Africa. And maybe The Joker in the Batman story can also be seen as another, more modern equivalent.

When we mere mortals are sitting comfortably atop one of life’s highs, the Cosmic Joker laughs at our complacency. “So you think you’ve got your stuff together, do you? You think you’ve got life sorted? Well try this one out for size!”

Then, when we’re struggling in one of life’s lows, he usually laughs again at our discomfiture before throwing another upward loop our way.

So how do we best cope with his quirkiness, his cruelty and his beneficence? Let go. Allow ourselves simply to ride life’s journey without clinging too desperately to the good times or fighting too hard against the bad.

Either way, whatever we try, there’s likely to be another shift just around the corner that will try to pitch us off balance again. Whether it’s for good or bad, up hill or down dale, ‘this too will pass’.

It’s all part of that disastrous, delightful, damnable and delicious paradox we call life.

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All Fools’ Day

Today, on All Fools’ Day, I’m launching into the blogosphere. A very appropriate day to begin! :)

It’s a day to remember the archetypal Fool – the innocent who represents beginnings and the realm of unknowing.

I don’t know where my wanderings will take me here, but I plan to celebrate stories and share reflections on various things that bubble up for me – while both enjoying and learning from the journey.  If others – you who are reading this – should also like to walk a part of the way with me, I’ll welcome your company.

There’s a great Wiki page on  All Fools’ Day – probably more than you’ve ever wanted to know. :)  I was fascinated to learn that the spirit of April Fools’ Day is alive and well in many other cultures around the world. And that one of the oldest prank days in the world is from Iran. There people play jokes on each other on the 13th day of the Persian New Year, which falls April 1 or April 2 and is called Sizdah Bedar.

However I admit I’m far more comfortable with the idea of an April Fool being someone who is starting on a quest for understanding,  rather than someone who is simply the victim of a prank. Practical jokes may be fun for the jokers,  but I believe a good rule of thumb is ‘it’s not a joke unless both people are laughing‘. And by that, I mean the kind of shared laughter that warms the spirit, not the kind that is gained at the expense of someone else’s wellbeing.

I know humour is a very subjective thing, and that people can laugh when uncomfortable or embarrassed – or even when frightened. Like a cat’s frightened purr perhaps. But from my point of view, the best kind of humour is that which is founded on warmth and a generous spirit. It’s an open invitation to be amused by the follies and foibles of human nature, including our own!

So as I start on my own Fool’s journey on this auspicious day, I’m looking forward to exploring the unknown and to sharing some laughter along the way.