Readers of this publication and all of the things linked to or referenced therein will have noticed a bit of a lean towards unhappy, dark, even scary news. Or outright condemnations of some despicable behaviour, in some major cases. I am sure that it makes the world that I inhabit seem very scary, rotten, or outright evil. And on rare occasions, one will get the sort of person who does not know any better asking why no good news is forthcoming, or why references to good elements in the world the author inhabits are forthcoming.
I truly believe that when one makes reference to any event in their life, big or small, they set energy in motion within the universe. I am not going to go into any bullshit about “positive” or “negative” energy. This is because of one belief I have concerning the true nature of the universe that is reflected not only in my writings but in my view of all that happens near my person. Specifically, that energy is energy, and what really makes the difference lies in how we act in the real, physical sense of the word. If we, the Human species, worried as much about all of the (undetected and thus far unmeasurable, I must hasten to add) energy or karma or chi we put out, none of us would get anything done for fear of offending or hurting one another.
I do believe very strongly in the input-output principle. That is, what one gets out of any given source is a reflection of what one, or multiple ones, put into it. Let us take the increasingly low-rent media that we have today, just as an example. In the mid-1970s, laws underwent a flurry of change in order to create the almost completely unregulated markets that we know and love today. As a partial result of this, the film industry in particular was flooded with newcomers who raised as much money as they could from smaller sources, shot product as cheaply as they could, and brought it to the market as quickly and profitable as they could. Of course, there were some positive effects to this. Many film stars and crew of the 1980s owe their very careers to this first-stage deregulated market. In fact, I would think it is safe to say that if not for the deregulated and home video-oriented market that existed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Chuck Norris would not have a career. Yes, yes, I know that he owes it as much to Bruce Lee having hired him to play a character called Colt in what has been titled Way Of The Dragon in the English language as he does his own talent. But the continued existence of a market for films like Way Of The Dragon during the 1980s and early 1990s can be credited to these independent startups that were willing to gamble on the base desires of young men (or older boys) to see big and strong men fighting one another. No, I am not going to go on with crap about so-called Chuck Norris “facts”. I like to deal in real facts, and whilst I severely disagree with Norris‘ political values to an extent, I respect the man for what he has achieved in life.
But herein lies the rub of what I am trying to impart with you, the reader. As much as I disagree with or respect Chuck Norris, I believe that he would agree with me that what one does in their life is heavily influenced by the input one gets. For all of the waxing that people of his political alignment do about self-reliance and independence, they sure seem insistent upon giving additional support that is funded by taxpayer dollars to commercial entities that are demonstrably bereft of need for it. You may have noticed that I said that word “additional” in that sentence. Good. You see, contrary to what some individuals of that political styling will tell you, free markets cannot exist without infrastructure to support them, police to protect them, and laws that are properly enforced in order to keep potential customers believing that they are trustworthy. If one has seen Hellboy II: The Golden Army, then one has seen in the troll market scenes an example of a market that is as unregulated and unsupported as is physically possible. And whilst the market is certainly well-patronised, I doubt that they would kick a large handful of funds to renovate out of bed, based on appearances in that film.
Everything flows to and from somewhere, is basically what I am getting at. As I have mentioned Chuck Norris and how the market for his (in some cases patently terrible) films would not exist without external support, I will continue along that line for a moment. I think Mister Norris would agree with me when I say that nobody learns martial arts (or indeed, much of anything) entirely alone. Someone has to give each student a pat on the back, or a push, along the way. Even people who have learned several things on their own, such as myself with computer-based editing, photography, or even reading, encounter certain limits to what self-directed learning can achieve. Not to mention that the tools one uses to learn in this manner, such as computers, software, footage for cutting up, cameras, lenses, or books, all had to be made by other people.
I have to confess something here. As much as I would like to be able to change it, I am not the most disciplined or even focused person. Often, I spend entire days, even weeks, either idle or trying to accomplish tasks with no discernible purpose, such as trying to write a statement for the disability services in my local area. Physical arts such as martial arts or sports, whilst not totally repellent to me, also have very limited appeal at the best of times to me. When I am told that I must fall down and worship this or that Australian athlete because they can run this or that distance marginally faster than their competitors, my first and biggest impulse is to tell the person soliciting such worship to come back and see me when that person has cured cancer or diabetes.
In fact, it is this comparison that I would like to invoke now. I do not think it comes as a surprise to anyone that the sports I tend to respect most involve either team coordination (such as baseball or real football) or actual competition between participants (such as boxing and other forms of martial art). Just like in science, when one is competing against an opponent or a whole group of opponents, one is fighting against competing forces. How one prosecutes their battle against said opponents depends on the sport, but at a basic level one must be conscious of their or their team’s strengths and weaknesses, plan a strategy according to same, and test it against the opponent. When that is done, one must then analyse the results against the opponent’s counter, make changes, or even improvise if need be. In martial arts, that entire process goes by in a matter of seconds.
Scientific research is like that to an extent. One must gather their own team according to each individual member’s strengths and weaknesses, analyse the problem at hand, and devise a strategy according to said problems strengths or weaknesses. Running counter to the team of scientists is the problem’s own inherent characteristics, the impatience of people waiting for results, and the question of where best to allocate resources. Whilst the processes and general mechanics of the battle differ a lot, both kinds of fight are very similar in that they require strategising. In fact, the one difference I can think off right now with medical research is that whereas sports and martial arts generally have a winner and a loser, medical research allows one side, namely us, to just keep going and going until we figure out exactly how we win.
It still boggles my mind how conservative types can kid themselves that everything they make is solely the result of their own effort, and use that as a justification of their strenuous efforts to avoid sharing anything with the rest of the society that they inhabit. Their complaint that they are being asked to share too much does not stand up to scrutiny, either. I have gone on at length about how the banking and military services that protect the money they seem to suffer great separation anxiety from has to be paid for, and I have said a lot about how when they do not pay for it, someone else has to.
This is what I mean about keeping the “good”, that is, the bright and happy that flows into your life, to yourself, or whether you try to share it with others. I make no secret of the fact that getting overtly good things out of me, especially as a verbal or textual thing, is a very difficult task. It is not for lack of effort on my part, but it is also the result of effort on the parts of others. I think it reflects very well on the experiences I had of interacting with others that when I originally read the Gustav Hasford novel The Short Timers as a twelve year old boy, it really did have an influence on the manner in which I spoke to others. I am in the process of reading Hasford‘s sequel to The Short Timers, a much lengthier and in my opinion better-written piece called The Phantom Blooper. Now, when I say that The Short Timers had an influence on how I spoke with others, I do not mean that I peppered every conversation with so many four-letter words that even a sailor would feel the words have lost their meaning. You see, the first thing that strikes me about the dialogue between the Marines in both of Hasford‘s novels about Vietnam is that the Marines are just as hostile towards one another as they generally are towards enemies. If not more so. I think that is reflected in how they barely fight in anything resembling an efficient manner. Many references are made to how the Marines shoot enough bullets at targets they can hardly see to kill their own many times over, but rarely hit more than one person for every hundred or so bullets fired. Not in those words, but the descriptions of battle in Hasford‘s novels reek of that implication.
When you compare this with the way units of infantry are depicted in the television series Band Of Brothers, it carries an interesting implication. You see, the soldiers in Band Of Brothers, whilst at times hostile and catty towards one another over differences such as race or experience (or how many times they have been shot in the butt), there is a common thread throughout the series about how the men in the story depended upon one another. They knew the man next to them might save their live one day, so they had best do the same if the opportunity comes right now. Other factors notwithstanding, I think that this reflected in how well each war was prosecuted. Nobody who served in World War II really wanted to be there, either. But the ones who volunteered, were accepted, and completed training knew that going out there and fighting the horrible fight was preferable to what would happen if the enemy they were fighting achieved victory.
You can also see this relationship between input, output, and general comraderie in how I feel about places and people like Queensland, or pretty much anywhere that is not a city with at least once-an-hour bus services. When I say that the infrastructure, support, and basic services of a place are not good enough to meet my needs, I am not just saying that to be contrary. I am trying to alert people to the fact that something needs to be done. Because if one person starts to become a recluse because they are incredibly frightened that they may end up isolated, stranded, and thus deprived to the point of needing medical aid as a result of trying to partake in what a part of your city they have to travel to get it offers, it begs one question. How long before someone you care about ends up in a similarly untenable position? Think about it.