To battle

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage; summon up all the coping systems and prepare for the siege. To be, or not to be? There are more thing in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Get thee to a nunnery. Head down, charge forward and damn the consequences. I’ll put a girdle around the earth in forty minutes.

This is our final stand. What happens here will echo through the ages. Regardless of outcome, they will know that we fought with honor. That we fought for the freedom and safety of our people.

Remember, heroes, fear is your greatest enemy in these befouled halls. Steel your heart and your soul will shine brighter than a thousand suns. The enemy will falter at the sight of you. They will fall as the light of righteousness envelops them!

We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive.

Once I was afraid, I was petrified. I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.

Do not go gentle into that good night; rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger.

When there is no peril in the fight there is no glory in the triumph.

Hinkles, hand me that whirring bronze gizmo and some fresh spring water. Cogspin, toss me that dirty trogg cloth and a handful of copper bolts.

What’s your favourite quote? and do you recognise these? It’s time for me to drag out these and any other coping systems I have to get me safely through the next few weeks and months.

Not waving but drowning? But screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that frets and struts his way upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

But does it matter? It matters to the starfish.


I am Schrödinger’s Cat

I am Schrödinger’s cat, and my life hangs in the balance. Am I alive or am I dead? I do not yet know. I am waiting for someone to remove the lid, look inside and reveal the truth to me.

What do I think? I think I refuse to think. It is not for me to have any opinions or decisions on the matter. My fate lies entirely in the hands of others.

It is a strange feeling, to be so helpless, so reliant on others. It is not by choice; and yet it is. The duality of it is fascinating and unpleasant.

The box is open. The verdict is in. The cat is dead.

And yet…

Are we really sure of what we are sure of? Is the truth the truth? Is the cat completely dead or is there still a glimmer of hope? Or should the cat refuse the box and run, free to make its own path or starve?

Sorry, it’s been a strange day 😉


Can you care too much?

Wer am meisten liebt, ist der Unterlegene and muβ leiden – he who loves the most is the inferior and must suffer.

Words from Tonio Kröger by Thomas Mann.  A book I studied at school in German, and which has haunted me since.  Are these words true?

Another story that has haunted me since my youth is Stella’s Heart of Stone – apparently it’s a common story theme, but I’ll explain it here:

Stella had a best friend (I’ll call her Lucy), and they were inseparable – until Lucy died.   My memory says cancer or something like that, but I’m going back around 35 years, so not swearing I’m accurate!)

Shortly after Lucy died, Stella moved home and school.  When exploring her new house and garden, she came across a statue of a young girl in the middle of an overgrown patch.  Still desperately upset over the loss of her friend, Stella admired the statue and made a vow to herself: “that statue never feels this sort of pain because she has a heart of stone.  She doesn’t care about anyone.  I’m going to become like that statue, and never care about anyone, so that I can never hurt like this again.”

So Stella sticks desperately to her vow, even when she discovers that one of the girls at school looks very like Lucy.  The story of how she hardens her heart so that she cares about nothing and nobody, and gradually learns that the pleasure of love is as important as the pain, is told over several weekly episodes in a children’s comic – the sort they just don’t make any more.

Another common theme in those comics was the child who was abandoned to the tender mercies of step-parents or foster parents or similar, and had only a kitten/puppy for company.  The carers allowed her to get fond of the animal, then would use it as a threat to make her comply with whatever they asked.

In both stories, love is seen as weakness, as something that causes pain and keeps people anchored where they don’t want to be.

So – is loving good?  or does it make us weak?  Does love always win through or is it a tool to manipulate?  In order to succeed, do we need to really care? or is it better to take a dispassionate look to see what really matters?

Back to those words by Thomas Mann – does loving too much make you inferior and doomed to suffer? or does it make you a noble being?

it’s all jamming up

I just made reference to the robot with a weakened 2nd law and strengthened 3rd law who ran around in circles all day.  Obscure reference, but it sometimes describes how I feel.  It refers to Asimov’s laws of robotics – law 1 is you must never harm a human or allow harm to come to one by your inaction.  Law 2 is you must always carry out instructions given to you by a human, except when it contradicts the 1st law.  The third law says you must protect yourself (robots are expensive) except when it would contradict the 1st or 2nd law.  This particular robot had been told to go and get something, but told in a casual way, which weakened the 2nd law.  It was also a very special robot, which meant it was very important that it was kept safe, which strengthened the 3rd law.  Now when he got to what he was supposed to get, it was in a dangerous area, so the strengthened 3rd law balanced the weaker 2nd law, so it neither got what it was supposed to or returned to base, but kept circling its target in an agony of indecision.

All that, and I haven’t read that story for years!

It’s an image that describes my brain rather well at the moment though.  There are many things I want to do, many things I want to learn, but not enough pressure to push me towards any one of them and away from the others, so I keep circling and dabbling, and not getting very far with anything at all.

So I’d like to write, but not enough to actually sit and do something.  I’d like to do more painting and drawing, but making a decision to do that is to decide I’m not going to write.  I’d like to practise my coding skills, but there are so many different languages out there that I haven’t got sufficient motivation to commit to any one and get on with it.

This is why I tend to react rather than being proactive – too concerned with shutting a door that I should keep open to actually go anywhere.  So I’ll sit and do nothing until something external pushes me in one direction or another. At which point I’ll become frustrated at the amount of time I’ve spent doing nothing.

Kick up the backside from someone please?