Are Dysfunctional Relationships The New Normal?

It’s difficult to label this movie as something that provokes an easy laugh. Rather it is the kind of movie that forces you to have a peculiar or uncharacteristic reaction that’s completely unnecessary, to begin with. And this aspect is the whole and sole of why Margot At The Wedding caught me off guard.

Beside the point, I specifically chose to write about the illuminating reality of conversations that bind the idiosyncrasies of two people in a kind of relationship that defines nothing but eccentric consequences. The characters walk in zig-zag lines to not only observe but shackle the bond of beauty itself into something self-serving and conceited. In short, you’ll find yourself bound to misery in its fullest dimensions. That is precisely what a dysfunctional relationship ought to explore as a deeply exhaustive yet thoughtful concept. Perhaps becoming unaffected to a point where showing little to no concern in matters besides yourself is the greatest normalcy of life, as we know it.

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The clever insanity and indifference portrayed is not shocking, but seems too real to be true. The kind of dispassion each character provokes in another through brutal honesty and constant justification humiliates the conventional families that are often plotted on-screen.

This same logic applies to Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).

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I loved the unorthodox display of unanswered affection and unresolvable temperaments of each character. At this point, I feel a part of me exists as all the characters in the movie, including Malcolm, Ingrid, Jim, and Pauline. Margot and Claude taking the leading positions in my frame of mind.

In whichever way the concept of “family” is portrayed in this movie, it certainly sticks, in my way of thinking, as the epitome of perceiving the out-of-the-ordinary as completely familiar and relatable. There’s more than just seeing, but feeling the characters unravel in front of your eyes in-between the socially awkward, yet seductive, language of storytelling. And that’s one of the expert functions of good films like Noah Baumbach’s Margot At The Wedding and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). Both exquisite tools of knowing how often people wish to be confronted by their harsh and unwavering realities, within their own limits, regardless of how much or how little they care for it.

You Are Nothing Until You Begin Again

The discovery that wanting to write is not the same as being perceptive of words.

You should know that I fumbled for a good 10 minutes finding the right words to suit the idea of this article. It’s certainly not easy to write when you’re struggling with stress and anxiety. Navigating the world of well-deciphered sentences alongside the scare of being labeled uninspired is challenging. But in hindsight, this fear bodes well with the objective of wanting to write and participating in the spectacle of poetic grammar that I’m so passionately fond of.

I must have written less than 50 articles, for myself, in my 21 years of living. Maybe 20 or 30. Even though I write more than my fair share as a freelance content writer, I never once understood the urge to keep on writing, for myself, daily. When the words came to me, I set out to either type my thoughts down on a blank document staring right through my fears or handwrite a scribbled and haphazard draft in a notebook. Saying it wasn’t easy for me to do this daily might sound like I’m defeating the entire purpose of wanting to write in the first place. However, it wasn’t simple. At the time, when I just started writing for myself, I was torn between my ability to write and my ability to think clearly.

How the grief and frustration in my life taught me to stop and take a breather, it also hampered with my crispness in translation and focus in execution. On most days, it interrupted my reflective state, while on some days I felt well-absorbed in my frame of mind to compose. The constant struggle emptied out all my thoughtful thoughts and weakened my sense of perceptiveness, not in understanding, but for the translation of thoughts on paper or in print.

To write, to read, and to create is necessary. All else is distraction.

In the midst of struggling with such deep feelings and emotions, I rarely composed articles that met my expectations. And when I did write such a piece, I sighed in relief and was well-pleased with my efforts in doing so. But that rush of positivity lasted for a short time bringing back the guilt of an unfinished goal. Until weeks later I decided to pen down another. This cycle kept persevering for months on end, and a result I failed to write even a single article in 2017. That was the epitome of me “letting go.” Which, to my surprise, wasn’t how I anticipated it would be.

Such regrets can destroy your self-esteem in ways you wouldn’t imagine. If not controlled, they culminate in inhibitions that eventually start showing face in every aspect of your life only because they’re weakening your ability to write anything. As much as I expected myself to defeat these inhibitions, the solution was to eventually outrun them. And so I’m trying. Instead of spending a long time on the things that I thought really mattered to me, I vow to spend time on things that could. It’s a tough road, but a necessary one. By disconnecting and destroying my past practices, I’m redefining what creation is and meant for.

One of Graham Greene’s quotes come to mind,

“Destruction is a form of creation.”

If you’ve seen Donnie Darko, it’s hard to miss the moment when Donnie says this in a classroom full of young cynics.

My hope may not be to live a better life, but to value self-reflection and to unblur the blurred subject of mind expansion so it’s possible for an ordinary person like me to choose to create something out of the ordinary. I do hope, however, to understand the tricks to outrun restraint and beat the hollowness that comes with feeling inadequate at the recognition of words that have the power to compose the greatest stories. And this is the beginning of the stories I can give you. It is my beginning.

“You are nothing until you decide, over and over, that you must begin again.”

Hope in A World Without Sensibility

Hope in a world without sensibility is much like a world lacking the ability to change attitudes toward people, things, and experiences.

Considering how human relationships evolve or limit or furnish what is known and what is not, hope is a dangerous word to believe in without giving it any conscious thought. So what if the balance of hope and sensibility becomes one of the most enduring ideas of living? And in moments of meditation, its breakthrough leads one within one’s own mind and not without. 

How did we end up being so conflicted with hope and so intrepid with everything that defeats the purpose of it? It’s because we thought we’re born with sensibility and that it doesn’t require constant rehearsing. Journeying through childhood into adulthood is an emotional and physiological roller-coaster for everyone. One that offers no validation and forethought. The very fact that it leads us to inevitable phases of critical self-evaluation, which causes what most people refer to as a “frame of mind,” strikes me as a philosophy that is often side-stepped in the initial stages of the loss of hope without sensibility.

I do not mistake hope for anything else. Hope- without the sense of being present in the moment, with looking forward to pleasures so much you completely fail to enjoy the experience of it, and without the understanding of thought and the implementation of it – is, to me, the definition of its destruction. This is the main problem. With people and ideas and relationships with people, experiences, and things. Hoping has become as essential as breathing. What it is, has almost been forgotten for who we are and what we want to be. And here is its meaning- it’s nothing. It’s a void without the presence of fear. It’s not an escape. But it’s a routine. A routine to hope, regardless of what is available to you and what you have to (or want to) work for.

But since when did routine become unfavorable? Have we become so naive to think that routine isn’t a part of our “getting out of the comfort zone” fetish? That we constantly strive and desire and insist to reach. The fact that we do things to challenge routine is, in itself, a routine we’re so afraid of accepting. So hope is just like a routine that we have tried to and will continue to try to challenge, along with all our existing preconceived routines.

While this exists without sensibility. What is hope with it? While I do not know the definition of what it really is, I do know what the definition is deprived of. And that is obligation. Hope with sensibility is when I’m on my own. Essentially, I decide how I feel when I’m supposed to feel about something. That can be anything. Being hopeful about a new passion project, a new book, a new hobby, a vacation, or about writing itself. Hope comes in many forms, so many that it exists as an infinite loop which repeats itself in moments of solitude and the understanding of my existence and the brevity of it.

The difference between sensibility and the absence of it feeds my ability to have a vision. To remain perceptive of not just my own, but other people’s emotions, intelligence, wit, judgment, and presence. After all, aren’t I the only existing finality of my own sensations, insight, and discernment that I take so seriously- and that which keeps purposely growing every day through thought and action?

The Scrutiny of Restricted Worldliness

Leo Tolstoy wrote in his beautiful work War and Peace, “Everything depends on upbringing.”

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A child’s personal identity, biologically and physiologically, unique and gentle – the years that create long and inevitable passages of perspective – are found and lost right from the start. It is a part of a metaphorical maze, that a child shouldn’t meander alone. The discipline of unraveling diverse and visceral cultures – that which also includes threads of languages and chronicle of events – is more important to be felt by a child rather than learned. This sparks imagination as much as it does temperament. But how soon is “the right time” to impact a child’s inner nature with stimulus resistive and nullifying, while also being realistic?

This question is deeply exemplified and astutely apparent in Black Mirror’s Arkangel, which is the second episode of the latest fourth season. The ability to blur out graphics that might elevate Sara’s cortisol levels, like in the episode it was the neighbor dog who barked incessantly whenever Sara walked past, sheds light on the general idea of parenting in this world. Anything that is considered, by the society, of course, a potential danger or stress-inducing experience to the community increases a sense of fear, anxiety, and mental and bodily distraction in children. A few examples pointed out in this episode were the suffering and finally death of a grandparent, porn, blood, or violence. Anything that stunts emotional growth, or at least is believed to, leads to the disorientation of the thing that constituted that kind of restrictive technology itself.

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This begs you to answer a question – what you do the same for your child if you had the resources to? Such kind of restrictive worldliness has its own consequences. The upbringing based on exposing a child to only good things and avoiding and unwaveringly pushing away the bad stuff disrupts the wholeness of a child’s identity.

This reminds me of a powerful passage which extracts the importance of negativity and teaching the perspective of it in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.”

But just as negativity impacts a child’s emotional and mental cognitive capacity, the complex intricacies of the mind and the core human tendency are deeply impacted, and not in a positive way, without the very things that arouse negative feelings such as guilt, regret, tension, worry, and all forms of psychological distresses. In experiencing the present moment, as real and unrestricted as it may be, in either speech, thought, or observation builds a sense of present-moment awareness. This is significant, I strongly believe, in the acceptance and non-acceptance of what is. As it habitually alters a child’s inwardness toward all aspects of life, it also contributes to the child’s narrative which, unconsciously, constructs what makes each human unique.

Even though experiences, when analyzed, hold together a set of emotions in each of us, the reasoning, sense, and readiness are still left unhindered. The ease with which a child navigates the unmitigated realities of existing between choices and people is what matters. And the kind of environment parents, siblings, and relatives bring into existence for a young soul remains the serious and most important quest for parenthood.

Before You Can Be with Others, First Learn to Be Alone

In 1840, Edgar Allan Poe described the ‘mad energy’ of an ageing man who roved the streets of London from dusk till dawn. His excruciating despair could be temporarily relieved only by immersing himself in a tumultuous throng of city-dwellers. ‘He refuses to be alone,’ Poe wrote. He ‘is the type and the genius of deep crime … He is the man of the crowd.’

Like many poets and philosophers through the ages, Poe stressed the significance of solitude. It was ‘such a great misfortune’, he thought, to lose the capacity to be alone with oneself, to get caught up in the crowd, to surrender one’s singularity to mind-numbing conformity. Two decades later, the idea of solitude captured Ralph Waldo Emerson’s imagination in a slightly different way: quoting Pythagoras, he wrote: ‘In the morning, – solitude; … that nature may speak to the imagination, as she does never in company.’ Emerson encouraged the wisest teachers to press upon their pupils the importance of ‘periods and habits of solitude’, habits that made ‘serious and abstracted thought’ possible.

In the 20th century, the idea of solitude formed the centre of Hannah Arendt’s thought. A German-Jewish émigré who fled Nazism and found refuge in the United States, Arendt spent much of her life studying the relationship between the individual and the polis. For her, freedom was tethered to both the private sphere – the vita contemplativa – and the public, political sphere – the vita activa. She understood that freedom entailed more than the human capacity to act spontaneously and creatively in public. It also entailed the capacity to think and to judge in private, where solitude empowers the individual to contemplate her actions and develop her conscience, to escape the cacophony of the crowd – to finally hear herself think.

In 1961, The New Yorker commissioned Arendt to cover the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi SS officer who helped to orchestrate the Holocaust. How could anyone, she wanted to know, perpetrate such evil? Surely only a wicked sociopath could participate in the Shoah. But Arendt was surprised by Eichmann’s lack of imagination, his consummate conventionality. She argued that while Eichmann’s actions were evil, Eichmann himself – the person – ‘was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous. There was no sign in him of firm ideological convictions.’ She attributed his immorality – his capacity, even his eagerness, to commit crimes – to his ‘thoughtlessness’. It was his inability to stop and think that permitted Eichmann to participate in mass murder.

Just as Poe suspected that something sinister lurked deep within the man of the crowd, Arendt recognised that: ‘A person who does not know that silent intercourse (in which we examine what we say and what we do) will not mind contradicting himself, and this means he will never be either able or willing to account for what he says or does; nor will he mind committing any crime, since he can count on its being forgotten the next moment.’ Eichmann had shunned Socratic self-reflection. He had failed to return home to himself, to a state of solitude. He had discarded the vita contemplativa, and thus he had failed to embark upon the essential question-and-answering process that would have allowed him to examine the meaning of things, to distinguish between fact and fiction, truth and falsehood, good and evil.

‘It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong,’ Arendt wrote, ‘because you can remain the friend of the sufferer; who would want to be the friend of and have to live together with a murderer? Not even another murderer.’ It is not that unthinking men are monsters, that the sad sleepwalkers of the world would sooner commit murder than face themselves in solitude. What Eichmann showed Arendt was that society could function freely and democratically only if it were made up of individuals engaged in the thinking activity – an activity that required solitude. Arendt believed that ‘living together with others begins with living together with oneself’.

But what if, we might ask, we become lonely in our solitude? Isn’t there some danger that we will become isolated individuals, cut off from the pleasures of friendship? Philosophers have long made a careful, and important, distinction between solitude and loneliness. In The Republic (c380 BCE), Plato proffered a parable in which Socrates celebrates the solitary philosopher. In the allegory of the cave, the philosopher escapes from the darkness of an underground den – and from the company of other humans – into the sunlight of contemplative thought. Alone but not lonely, the philosopher becomes attuned to her inner self and the world. In solitude, the soundless dialogue ‘which the soul holds with herself’ finally becomes audible.

Echoing Plato, Arendt observed: ‘Thinking, existentially speaking, is a solitary but not a lonely business; solitude is that human situation in which I keep myself company. Loneliness comes about … when I am one and without company’ but desire it and cannot find it. In solitude, Arendt never longed for companionship or craved camaraderie because she was never truly alone. Her inner self was a friend with whom she could carry on a conversation, that silent voice who posed the vital Socratic question: ‘What do you mean when you say …?’ The self, Arendt declared, ‘is the only one from whom you can never get away – except by ceasing to think.’

Arendt’s warning is well worth remembering in our own time. In our hyper-connected world, a world in which we can communicate constantly and instantly over the internet, we rarely remember to carve out spaces for solitary contemplation. We check our email hundreds of times per day; we shoot off thousands of text messages per month; we obsessively thumb through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, aching to connect at all hours with close and casual acquaintances alike. We search for friends of friends, ex-lovers, people we barely know, people we have no business knowing. We crave constant companionship.

But, Arendt reminds us, if we lose our capacity for solitude, our ability to be alone with ourselves, then we lose our very ability to think. We risk getting caught up in the crowd. We risk being ‘swept away’, as she put it, ‘by what everybody else does and believes in’ – no longer able, in the cage of thoughtless conformity, to distinguish ‘right from wrong, beautiful from ugly’. Solitude is not only a state of mind essential to the development of an individual’s consciousness – and conscience – but also a practice that prepares one for participation in social and political life. Before we can keep company with others, we must learn to keep company with ourselves.Aeon counter – do not remove

This article was originally published by Jennifer Stitt at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

Jennifer Stitt is a graduate student in the history of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


 
Before you can be with others, first learn to be alone

Featured Image by Elisabetta Foco on Unsplash

What I Think About When I Talk About Working Out

I don’t always think out loud. But when the time’s right, I do.

One of the most titillating conversations about life involves talking about the things we do to stay active and healthy. Such conversations aren’t frequent, but they’re certainly a mind-opener beyond the stereotypical perspective.

Stating that fitness is nothing but an accomplishment to lose weight disappoints me to my very core. If you’ve ever been a part a similar conversation that lasted for not more than 15 minutes about the importance of staying physically fit and nothing else, then I feel sorry for you.

Who I don’t feel sorry for is the person who shares such an incomplete and self-defeating perspective about fitness. It’s clear why anybody would think the way many do.

Entering a gym is a matter of “necessity” because weight loss is at stake. It is also a matter of “gaining pride” because it’s rewarding, especially for men, to prove their masculinity with muscles. While the idea of a girl or a woman working out is beyond such standards.

Practicing yoga is a matter of “importance” because our culture does well to strike a chord with regards to dealing with stress and life problems. Yes, yoga does help you deal with emotions, but it isn’t a solution in itself. There are many layers to practicing yoga or any other form of exercise that stimulates flexibility and patience.

There’s a benchmark we’d all like to meet, in one way or another. For me, it was to be able to do a split or do a long-mile run. But it’s not anymore. These are no longer goals I’d love to reach, but rather stepping stones for the purpose of doing something. The idea that it’s my purpose to do something, whatever form of physical fitness it may be, might sound vague to you. But it’s what I use, daily, to get on that treadmill, head for my aerial fitness class, or do my inversions training.

The way to do something, is to do anything that requires you to get out of your comfort zone. This thought changed the way I perceived and pursued fitness in my life. I no longer had to incorporate a lifestyle that involved giving time to fitness, it instantly adapted to mine.

You don’t have to force a fitness schedule to reap its benefits. There is a strong case against feeling physically out-of-action and languid. All I did was metamorphose the ropes a bit and the effort I put in inevitably did me.

The psychology of running has been around for years now. And by giving it deeper thought, I’ve realized that it’s non-existent if it’s taken word for word. There is a certain kind of process or transition you go through when you start running. It doesn’t unwrap itself in the first week of training, or even the first month. Running feels different when you do it with the hopes of actually changing. And running feels different when you do it because you want to do it more often. I did it for the latter, but in moments- for the former. Even so, the effort to run reflected back to the way I converse with people and to myself when I’m alone.

When I started feeding my brains with the things that should have motivated me to work out, somehow they never satisfied me. I never obsessed over the details, the tips, or the easy ways to kick-start the “life-changing” process. I was being fed the same things millions of people are and that didn’t work. So I decided to sign up for something that might seem less ordinary, but effective. At least it was in my case.

The act of simply doing it. I didn’t wait to strike a chord with some fitness instructor or diet plan. That wasn’t my purpose. What was, and still is, is to do any form of physical exercise and keep at it. Imagine you’re reading about the same topic over and over again. Not that it’s not interesting to you or you’re getting bored of it, but there will come a point when you need to shift the scales a bit. Read about something else. Some new idea, research, or essay.

I just translated the way I read into what makes me physically active. This kind of behaviorism made up the rest of my life. The expression “know thyself” is confusing and, at the same time, terrifying. Because once you start on this journey, it’s not so much about changing the way you think, but discovering the ethos that exists inside you.

What I’m going to say next is ordinary, but it’s the hard truth- working out shouldn’t be your aim to be accepted and appreciated by others, it has to be your aim to accept yourself. So is working out a good decision or is it a decision that’s right for you, as a human?

When someone tells you to start working out because you start panting when you climb the stairs or when you eat a lot of junk food and are growing a belly- that’s bad advice. It’s normal to start working out because of those reasons, but it’s time to look above and beyond such a confined purpose.

What’s dangerous advice? It’s telling someone to understand the workings of their own mind. That’s when you see yourself as yourself when you work out and not how you want the world to look at you. There’s a slow shift of self-image, the kind that contradicts your effort along the way. And this contradiction cannot be predicted or explained, it’s only felt. That significant mental and physical effort you make for your physical set-up isn’t only physical. It leads to unexpected discoveries and revisions, even emotionally.

The best thing about working out is that you can make up your own purpose of doing so. It doesn’t have to be only one thing or one motive. We live stressful lives, all of us do, and having such options that force us to break that shell, step out, and reflect our choices is what we truly care about. Even if we are a little late at realizing it.

And running along with the fact that there’s a deeper problem (or gift?) to our lifestyle – and that is change – we set up these unrealistic objectives to beat them down and rise above. And that’s precisely what makes us bear a grudge against the idea of working out and living a healthy life.

Can We Do Better?

This article is concerned with online reading.

It’s no longer easy to stand one’s ground when it comes to online reading. It’s overwhelming to consume information, day in and out, on several topics. As consumers of the digital world, there isn’t only one topic we’d love to read about. There is plenty. And the list is growing still.

So should we dissipate every ounce of stamina we have left, for each day, to consume whatever tabs we have left open? Or there’s some simpler, less confusing way to read what we read today and remember what we have read the day before?

I wouldn’t go so far as saying that the internet is draining our lives because I may it sound like it’s supposed to happen that way. That our habit of responding to the internet is causing the sheer burdening on our brains. While it’s also taking away our social hustle and bustle. It’s now become easier to respond to a comment or article online than it is to reply, via message, to friends and family.

The truth is that we’re letting such godawful things happen to us. And there’s a possibility we aren’t even noticing it. Shrugging it off by believing it’s indifference or contemplation in society.

What role does online reading play on these protocols? It’s quite clear to me, even though it’s not the whole picture. Deciphering the paradigm of online reading down to its last bits is impossible because the existence of it depends on the lives of millions of people worldwide. People have been welcoming and responding to all kinds of information; whether positive or negative, valuable or redundant, accurate or red herring. And it’s because of this movement that we are now throw off guard with so much to read and so much to like and dislike on the web.

The result of such behavior is a sort of disconnect we have with the outside world. While we have become a part of the technology, we are slowing plucking little pieces of it and keeping it for ourselves. A thing like this soon escalates into a habit, a behavior, and later into an invulnerable personality.

Living independently isn’t an option anymore. It’s practically non-existent. The freedom to read, learn, and grow is definitely empowering. But the idea that such a lifestyle holds the license to self-discovery and individuality is horribly, horribly wrong.

Online reading is like an empty parking lot. It’s not your responsibility to fill up the empty spaces, but because you cannot comprehend its emptiness that you decide to show up with all sorts of puzzling pieces of information that aren’t worthy enough to influence your way of thinking.

Collectibles, of any kind, digital or materially-bound, need to have value. So adopting versatile strategies to create a sort of enclave of genuine and unfiltered information is the only way to straighten the little we can of our mystifying digital presence.

Drawing Breath

The sun does down,
the moon dips.
The clouds scatter
while the birds
chase trees to sit.

The rivers tell a tale
of how fast they run.
The roots never whine
of being under and done.
The flower blossoms,
the soil gets stronger.
The winds race
and the hills embrace.

What’s left is how
they choose to grow.
What matters is how
unready they take the fall.
Unexpectedly, there’s more to come.

So rise with gratitude
only to fall without a sigh.
So be yourself
and imitate
the nature’s way of life.

Am I The Rational Creative?

Can one mistake hinder all of your creative impulse and ambition? What kind of mistake would that be? Where does the power to recuperate its backlash come from?

These are the sort of questions most creatives are compelled to answer. Whether they work in creative agencies. Or even as freelance writers or freelance illustrators. We’re so comfortable to answer questions within our framework, we lose sight of the real trouble at hand.

What I’m talking about here is the value of ideas, in general. As a content writer, I often find myself inspiring action, but to what extent, I cannot comprehend. A mistake reveals my insecurities. My flight or fight response gets activated. Should I do another or make my current fault flawless? It’s a constant maze that makes me smile, cry, scream, and wonder.

“You must not let it hinder your creative flow”, my power of creativity tells me.

I’ve predetermined my powers on the basis of the kind of knowledge I acquire by reading and lots of reading. It’s not something I’m afraid to pursue, acquiring knowledge through articles and videos I mean. Especially when social interaction is one of the most effective and productive ways to increase knowledge. My story is a bit different.

The clear perspective of my life is my inevitable approach to redefining the subject of creativity. The power that unpredictably puzzles me into the fear of never moving forward. Remaining stagnant is never a good thing. And why shouldn’t it be?

Everywhere you look, the abstraction of objects, behavior, and experiences never remain as they were when they took form. Well, it’s simple to imply that the biggest mistake occurs when you stop at either nothing or everything. That means when you don’t learn at all. What’s next?

What we don’t say to each other is the inevitable experience of trying too hard. Trying too hard to stay informed, to remain fresh with ideas, and to be unpredictable. Our behavior takes form of that functional and, sometimes, too overwhelming brain we carry around. It’s not easy. But it doesn’t feel so difficult either.

That’s to say that nothing really kills creativity apart from the fundamental hypothesis of substance abuse, idleness, and lack of information flow in our heads. If we don’t read, we listen to music, if we don’t do that, we have something that we constantly feed our brains with to remain creative. Never let that creative juice stop. It’s a firm decree.

So, am I the rational creative?

The work we do is intended to strike a response. Any handy piece of advice is considered wisdom or crap. There’s no telling of success or failure because both are building blocks. A temporary state of inspiration is often filled with new ideas and conversations, but how?

The concept of delivering more when it’s demanded is simple. But in that process, we’re losing our social production quality of life. That means, content is becoming more ambiguous and those on the other side of the screen, the ones reading that content and inspiring action like it’s a never-ending spectrum, are contradicting.

It’s bewildering who’s the creator and who’s the consumer. Are you both? Of course, you are. But when are you taking the form of one while trampling on the other?

Wicked Masks We Wear

How’s the pain?
The gain.
The vain.
Of trying,
maybe not.
Of failing,
but how?

What a wicked mask to wear.
Another right you make wrong.
You’re done
maybe then.
You’re here
sometimes then?

Thanks to you
you’ve come this far.
Struggling for breath
fighting the scars.
Don’t let them stay.
Never mistake its charm.
For it is what it is
that’s how you’ve learned to calm.

. . .

Want to see more of my poems? Follow me on Instagram, here. You’ll find my latest tweets, here. And my new Facebook page, right here

Uninterruptible Awakening

Uninterruptible awakening
the clarity has made
our wisdom go dark.
What was yesterday
will be our tomorrow,
but what’s today
is the purest moment we have.

Don’t let what frightens
you let you sleep
you must stay awake.
Forge your name
with tears and blood
until your veins feel lost.

Tired is for the weak
haven’t you heard them scream?

Surviving comes easy,
but this feels forced
you feel trapped
and you don’t
find your reality.

. . .

Want to see more of my poems? Follow me on Instagram, here. You’ll find my latest tweets, here. And my new Facebook page, right here

The Banned Books of Belief

After stumbling on The New York Times’ The Banned Books Your Child Should Read article, I found myself carving out particular details and reviews of many such repeatedly banned books worldwide. Whether it’s a book written about a complete totalitarian society, sex, the face of racism, religion, or cultural promulgation, any book that depicts a more challenging and open-minded perspective surrounding both children and adults, regardless of what the nature of the book’s message, was considered a threat to humanity. The assessment of how famously some books were banned from bookshelves across the globe is predictable, yet embarrassing.

Given the long history of controversies, suppression of thought, censorship, and the stereotypical ways of raising children, distinctively prescribing roles to both genders, I thought it was time to play a small role between such paradigms. It’s inevitable that once a book is published, if it stirs some unusual sentiments, it will be susceptible to control and confrontation, but does that also mean that the book is simply challenged or banned from public access?

Historically speaking, the roots of banning books digs deep into the past where the attempts made to control literature existed ever since published literature became a way of living. That’s to say that after years of doubtless accessibility, most of the books famously banned today are classics such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, 1984 by George Orwell, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Conflicting similar sentimentality to such literature, these are also books that are considered “Classical Studies” books for children and young adults.

When books are challenged it means that there had been numerous attempts to restrict a particular book, while banned books are completely kept away from freedom, based on factors that attempt to exclude books from the curriculum, libraries, etc. To understand transparently why books shouldn’t be banned, it’s crucial to understand the concept of psychology for reading books.

To be able to map emotions, feelings, actions, and experiences, also body language of yourself and others, having a mindset beyond your conscious capacity of perception is paramount. It also guides us into emotion perception and overcoming roadblocks to mindfulness. Reading books for pleasure is not always how it appears. When you read books that are challenged or banned, you have the power to harness awareness about the world. It’s a great resource to gain information, discuss, and talk about why such books are troubling, in a more general sense.

Primarily, books were pressed in society as being extremely inappropriate for children. Materials that contain offensive use of words, are sexually explicit, or irrelevant for a particular age group are challenged time and again for the existing generation.

Reaching out to read books that have either been challenged or banned, is something every reader must do to make an effort to form a certain worldview in both cultural and social identity. If you want to deal with historical ideas with a modern twist, it’s impressively common to read banned books first. That way, you won’t be afraid of challenging relic ideas for thought-provoking ones.

ULYSSES by James Joyce

A modernist novel, Ulysses is considered to be the most dangerous book- to the extent that it has been banned by the United States and England, also it has been consistently confiscated and burned repeatedly. This book has seen episodes that led to its prosecution for obscenity. And throughout the 1920s, the United States Post Office Department had burned more than 1,000 copies of the novel on the basis of the book’s content and message.

“What is so staggering about Ulysses is the fact that behind a thousand veils nothing lies hidden; that it turns neither toward the mind nor toward the world, but, as cold as the moon looking on from cosmic space, allows the drama of growth, being, and decay to pursue its course.”

Carl Jung

The Banned Books Of Belief-ULYSSES by James Joyce

THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank

Considered too explicit and veracious for education institutions, The Diary Of A Young Girl is a hard-hitting account of a 13 year old Jewish girl of her 2 years hiding in a Secret Annex because of the Nazi Invasion. This book was repeatedly banned not because of the Nazi Invasion narrative, but because of the kind of words she believed to express in the book. If you’ve read this book (as I have), you’ll find her intentions extremely transparent and of a curious mind. This is no ordinary novel. It has been challenged and banned from formal institutions because it expresses the curiosity and intelligence of a young girl who is learning the ways of her growing body and her relationship with those around her.

Also, The Diary of a Young Girl has never been permanently banned, but it has been censored many times for its literature (that is a young girl’s thoughts) which was marked with “unnatural” homosexual tendencies.

The Banned Books Of Belief-THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. SALINGER

A striking novel about a blatant teenager Holden Coulfield, The Catcher in the Rye has been subjected to many censors between 2000 to 2009. Because of its sexual, wicked, and provoking literature, this novel was identified with 785 profanities for a high school syllabus and was marked down as “part of an overall communist plot.” The meaning portrayed in this novel is to save children from losing their innocence, something the audience rarely sees. Rather they choose to focus on the teenager’s grumpy, angry, and sinister perspective on life.

The Banned Books Of Belief-THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. SALINGER

FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

This book’s prediction of book burnings has taken the whole world for a startling ride. A dystopian novel published in 1953, it talks of a very futuristic American society where firemen were designed to start fires where books were outlawed. It’s a classic representation of how humankind craves to suppress what isn’t understood by them. In a radio interview, the author, Ray Bradbury had stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of the emergence of threat of book burning in the United States. He also concluded that his novel takes a whole new approach at how mass media encourages the interest of disregarding reading literature as a way of life.

The Banned Books Of Belief-FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

Speaking of a complete hedonistic society where everyone seems to be permanently happy, warfare and poverty are nowhere to be seen or felt, and humanity is technologically advanced. All this because under the thumb of the society’s hatred to family, culture, art, literature, philosophy, and science. Those things that make humanity are eliminated for a totalitarian society. Aldous Huxley’s bold literature has been rigidly compared with George Orwell’s 1984, which too is a popularly challenged book. Many notable incidents have been censored because of its negative use of activity and perception of a futurist society. The book was banned in India in 1967, as the author was accused of being a “pornographer”.

 

The Banned Books Of Belief-BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

There are many more straightforward books that are a part of the family such as

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

I think the scope of such books is a brave one. For once, shouldn’t we allow ourselves to expose something beyond that which is permitted and comforting to the masses. 

After all, if a book doesn’t affect the realms of consciousness and intelligence, then why read at all?

Other reads:

V for Vendetta, Fahrenheit 451, and five other books that reflect Trump’s America

Bannings and Burnings in History

6 Historical High Points For Book Banning

Complete The Circle

Expression I have long considered mortal and short-lived.
I have craved withdrawal from myself as much as
I have struggled to contract my wants.

Now, I demand the pictures that frame me small.
I draw from the imagination that forces me to see the truth.
Pure everything till my ends allow.

I choose to complete the circle.
Not because I’m alone, angry, or powerless.
Because the things that once existed no longer fit to make me brave.

It is the beginning of the end of my romance.
I drown with a raging desire for fantasy
with a reality that doesn’t understand my love.

A love so kind and filled with unanimity that
my identity touches a crack on a spotless land.
A stream in the middle of nowhere;
flowing in directions that have no boundaries to fill.

To animate this relationship with myself,
I must expand my horizons and look beyond finite.
Instead of standing under the glass myself to learn my intricacies,
I must fall under the millions that shine over me.

Lay under the fire, feel the burn, and become a subject of stillness
to comfort the role that society illustrates.
How many times this sentiment arises and
how many times do I blink and lose sight of it all?

This will make me strong. Make me live. Make me affect.
Yes, these emotions are brief,
but night comes and the pain makes it last forever.

. . .

Want to see more of my poems? Follow me on Instagram, here. You’ll find my latest tweets, here. And my new Facebook page, right here

Be Her Shadow

It’s not easy to raise a girl. She’s fierce. She’s perceptive. She’ll learn the ways of life by how you treat her and how you do not. So let it all go and be her shadow. That’s the only thing you can do.

. . .

Be her shadow.
Raise her mind.
You won’t know until you do
because she’s little known
to her ways of life.

Don’t mistake your anger for love
that’s not the dress up she knows.
Down the road,
she’ll say yes from your no
she’ll be from your all that you weren’t
that’s just how she grows.

Don’t give her playthings dressed up and fair
that’ll make her believe
she’s not as good as for such flair.
Encourage her a talent
whatever it may be.

Don’t tell her what isn’t hers
rather teach her to dream.

You don’t make her a believer,
you make her wise-
wise enough to say what is,
strong to not string along lies

Perhaps, she’ll never be like you
and why would she?
She’s a part of nature-
like a leaf that falls from a tree.

. . .

Want to see more of my poems? Follow me on Instagram, here. You’ll find my latest tweets, here. And my new Facebook page, right here

A Dark Alleyway

What do you see when you walk down a dark alleyway? Do you see only the wreckage or do you see the path?

. . .

A dark alleyway,
you are so fated,
but not by yourself.

Look around you,
I beg you to see,
all those chains
telling you not to and to be;
telling you to breathe,
telling you to stab,
every emotion you possess.
All the worldliness you believe.

Don’t look away now,
you know you’re dragged.
All that you felt,
has not been riddled.
You’re on display,
in that dark alleyway,
but you don’t know it yet.

For your soul is alive,
still lifeless.

. . .

Want to see more of my poems? Follow me on Instagram, here. You’ll find my latest tweets, here. And my new Facebook page, right here

This Is A Medium Marketing Article

Having a place online where you can understand the dynamics of media websites and traditional blogs, while creating quality content, on the same platform, for your business is a good opportunity. As content creators, you work hard to show your readers the good stuff, not only for the popularity for your business but for publishing a variety of topics – ideas/news/discussions currently trending on social media and search engines.


Want to know which tool helps you stay updated with trends, in any country?

Check out Google Trends


 

Gone are the days when businesses took months and months to become successful. If you keep publishing new content on a website like Medium consistently, optimize that content for SEO, and remain active on social media, providing the audience with crispy content to read, over the long term you’ll be a hit!

Until Medium took over, there existed only a standard method of blog posting for most businesses. Now, with Medium, you can take over, target your audience, generate better leads, and quickly publish crafted content in an organized fashion. There’s no waiting, no fabricated responses, and a completely new option to post on a daily basis that will alleviate your business in a matter of months. I, personally, love Medium because it allows you to care less about social media promotions or backlinks to get your content in front of potential readers. It’s a whole new world with over hundred thousand writers and readers, and you have the token to get your content to all of them. So the possibilities are endless.

Create

When you first join Medium, signing up is completely free and so is publishing limitless content. You can either opt to register with your Twitter or Facebook, or you can opt to register with a standard email account (either your personal or company account). Your profile page includes profile thumbnail, your name, an introduction, links to your Twitter and Facebook profiles, and the number of “followers” and “followings” you have.

Medium offers everything you’d want. You can add images, embed content, add breaks to your post for more white space, create notes beside your post, add a subtitle to your article, and a striking featured image. Inside the new post window, you will find of customization options to increase text size, to highlight, to make it in bold or italics form, add a quote, or attach a link to a particular word or sentence.



To know how well you can illuminate and compose your story on Medium, read:

Your Content Feed Is Broken


 

Just before you hit publish, Medium also offers you to insert relevant tags (up to 5), share your newly published article on Twitter and connect to share on Facebook.

As soon as you publish a new post, it shows up on your ravishing profile page under “Profile” and “Latest”.  The main Medium profile page displays the following sub-sections:

  1. Your “Latest” post list, which includes all the posts you’ve published in order of time.
  2. Your “Recommends” list, which are all the posts you’ve recommended ever since you started reading interesting posts composed by other Medium writers on Medium. To recommend an article on Medium, at the end of each article, you will find a ‘heart’ button to do so.
  3. Next, is the “Highlights” list, which displays all the statements, quotes, or paragraphs you’ve highlighted from other articles you’ve read on Medium. This helps your readers resonate with your business ideas, goals, and shows which articles you’ve enjoyed the most and why.
  4. Last, the “Responses” list, which displays all the comments you’ve published on other articles on Medium. Another great way you to show your readers what kind of articles you love reading and how you choose to appreciate their content for your benefit.

 The most significant part of your Medium strategies must be to take into account its Analytics section. Medium gives you free access to all the key metrics one must consider to know how well readers are interacting with your content. Just go to “Stats” to access all the important data you need and you’ll observe:

  1. Number of views in 30 days
  2. Number of reads in 30 days
  3. Number of recommends in 30 days

And if you want more detailed analytics of your individual posts, Medium does it too. Just below the above graph, you will see stats for a particular story or post you’ve published. Next to each post, you’ll see:

  1. Views
  2. Reads
  3. Read ratio
  4. Recommends

Moving forward, Medium understands how well you’d like know what’s working in your favor and what’s not. With these simple metrics, you’ll soon know what kind of content is the most popular for your business and how you can generate more reads and recommends based on those stats.



Read my most viewed and read post on Medium:

Doing Writing The Right Way


 

Read

Medium is a talented marketing channel for your business. And posting on Medium offers lots of potential benefits for setting up and maintaining your business blog. Once you establish yourself as the industry expert at what you do, it’s easy to craft content by observing what others are doing and, according to you, missing out on. Once you embrace the assignment of reading articles on Medium, your stories will get seen, you’ll gain more ideas, introduce yourself to more friends, and naturally set the tone for your business goals. If you’re looking to start from somewhere, Medium is a great place to start. You can always re-publish content from your website on Medium and have that as your front. And if you decide to craft content particularly for your Medium audience, that’s alright too.

Here’s how you can kickstart your Medium marketing strategy:

Choose a category
While there are many you can pick to distribute your content, evenly. Before you begin to publish consistently, you’d want to make a list of potential categories or topics with your target audience. For example, let’s say you are a digital marketing and marketing communications company. In this case, your focus should be to either search for “marketing” related topics into Medium’s search box and find out the best possible articles on that broad category to improvise and work with. That way, you can follow fellow marketers on Medium, resonate with their ideas, and make some friends while you publish quality content.

Just a thought, as a business, you can have other interests too. You could employ freelance writers or contact Medium writers to have their posts shared on your profile as a particular collection of related posts to make your profile look more gripping and impressive.

Write for publications
One of the best things about Medium is that you can join other publications and create quality content for them, to expose yourself to more people and ideas. To research for good publications, just enter an idea, category, or tag into Medium’s search bar and click “publications” on the left side bar. You can write relevant posts for those collections, within their general guidelines, and tap into top posts that have a wide variety of possibilities.

Tell stories
If you aspire to be different and distance yourself away from standard posts, telling business stories is always a major advantage. Medium is individually designed for telling stories, before anything else. Stories that are rich in content, visually appealing, and have a human element to them. Between creating content and promoting your business services, you need to find the best possible way to share some of your stories for those readers who aren’t familiar with the way you work. Instead of consistent bragging about what you do, start with how you do it and why.

Conclusion

Once you create an account, link back to your website, engage with other writers, share stories and publish engaging visual content, recommend, share, bookmark, respond, and analyze, Medium will make your business the number one funnel to meet your goals. While this no designated strategy to become known on a platform like Medium, you can always experiment with versatile tactics and see which fits your scale the best. As you dive into Medium, your business will grow in terms of audience, methods, and dreams. And for those who are new to blogging, Medium will show you what you really need to write and compose to be respected and ground-breaking. Once you learn to accelerate your business on Medium, you will get your content in front of thousands of people beyond what you thought was previously impossible.

Loving Yourself Can Hurt Too

From a very young age, you have to realize you’re enough. Instead of letting go of your fears and your toxic thoughts, all at once, strive to be reflective to reason with those toxic thoughts and you’ll soon realize you’re being harsh and incongruous with yourself. Of all the people on the planet, you talk to yourself the most, so make sure you’re saying positive things to yourself.

Question yourself why you struggle to ache for other people’s acceptance. You’re chasing importance as much as you’re craving attention. Don’t do that. Accept, question, and let go of your thoughts and actions that you always find yourself stressing about later. They’re not worth being in you as much as you’re worth something beyond your own comprehension. You’re born out of the same circumstance as anyone who has ever let you down or hurt you and don’t let anyone tell or show you otherwise. It’s about time we realize our own depths and dive into them rather than question it, at every turn. And if it’s pain you crave for, if you want to destroy yourself and anything you touch, as humans do, begin with yourself. If you want to feel pain in love, try loving yourself first and see how that feels like. Because loving starts from within, and if you can love yourself, you can conquer and build anything.

You must realize you’re enough. You must love yourself to experience pain first because the first kind of pain you’d ever want to feel shouldn’t have to be out of a broken relationship. It shouldn’t arise from a loved one. Try loving yourself enough to want to make amends to be better and more grateful.

Who said loving has to only hurt when it’s loving another human being? To love, any kind of love that is, you can hurt yourself too. Trusting others might be difficult, but trusting yourself is no less. If you never loved the way you were, the way you looked, and the way you changed- it will hurt when you start to love yourself now. You’re looking for the perfect relationship with no trace of lies, anger, and suppression, but how would it feel if you love yourself so much that you can’t lie to yourself anymore. You can’t pretend to be somebody else for yourself because you are the way you are. Being you can hurt. It can make you cry. And it can make you feel things you hadn’t felt before. You can scare away your past or prepare for what’s to come while loving yourself and having that hurt you too.

Be the love you never received.

It’s the rush of mindfulness of being who you are and accepting. It’s the practice of letting go of guilt, letting go of fear, and just breathing for the moment. Loving you can take effort. It doesn’t happen in one thought. It takes many nights. But you do love yourself. You love yourself because you work for it and you work on yourself everyday. You don’t mind failing. You don’t push yourself away from you. You stand, you fight, and realize some of your strengths and weaknesses. That’s what makes you unique. That’s what makes you human.

Why do you have to love someone to feel hurt or beaten down by them? You can do that to yourself too. The question is, do you want to? Because only after you feel hurt and destroyed, do you feel the greatness of anything that is love, happiness, gratefulness, and faith.