The Firm Fragility of A Life Well Lived

In the end when all is said and done, life is fragile, isn’t it?

As our eyesight fades and our memory meanders into meaninglessness, do you sometimes wonder what is the point in it all?

Why do we toil and fight and rise and fall day after day after day?

Why do we resist entropy? Why do we resist death?

Perhaps it is no surprise that the thought of death rises so swiftly to the forefront of our minds as of late. After all, we are nearing the second Christmas of a global pandemic, a post-apocalyptic optimistic new normal that should go down nicely in our history books, just like the Spanish Flu did. Wait, did they teach that in our history books?

I thought not. Like many random and meaningless events, it too will be lost in our global memory, swept under the floorboards like a bad dream that left a sour taste in the mouth. Or a lack of taste, I should say.

However, in spite of this constant threat of death, these thoughts of doom and gloom were not Covid inspired. To be fair, when is there not a constant looming threat of death?

In an eerie series of events in the past weeks, the reaper has reared its rickety head and presented itself at my neighbours’ doors on many occasions, until I cannot but heed its steady rapping and tapping.

It began with a mysterious disappearance. My significant other’s relative decided he would take a drive out to the salty coast of Negeri Sembilan to get some sea breeze, and ended up abandoning his car in the dunes of Port Dickson, never to be heard or seen. Despite a somewhat unstable past (don’t worry, no horses were hurt), it seemed a bit out of character to be a disappearing act for this boy. I like to imagine he was inspired by the film Into The Wild, where the protagonist valiantly and somewhat recklessly abandons his life and cuts off all contact with his past to experience the natural world to its fullest, to return to nature on his own terms.

Spoilers aside, it did not end well for a number of characters in the surrounding subplots recently. Our cat was found cold and curled up in an old shirt; several colleagues lost their loved ones; my significant other lost her grandmother. And there I was binge watching Sean Lock standup videos.

Spoiler: RIP to the legendary Sean Lock, said every single top comment of every single video.

I watched Dune (the latest one), and despite the stunning visuals, poignant acting and compelling plot (I’ve read the novel and have always loved it, and they did it more justice than I could ever put down in words), I couldn’t help but be saddened by the immense loss of life, albeit highly dramatised fictional loss.

Spoiler: some characters may not be returning for Part Two.

Extra spoiler: yes there is at least one sequel.

To avoid more spoilers, just go read the darn book. It’s a bit of a slow start, but once you get used to all the gibberish words (Mr. Herbert enjoyed crafting his own vernacular) it’s quite the ride!

It amazes me that it took decades and decades of special effects and computer graphics and visual bumfuckery to finally be able to achieve what this mastermind of imagination concocted back in the 60’s. It took the glorious mind of Mr. Villeneuve (I had to Google how to spell that) and Hans Zimmer and a ridiculous boatload of A-list actors to craft an epic science fiction masterpiece that could live up to the opus dei that is Frank Herbert’s Dune.

I was rather miffed that they gave away the sandworm riding so early on, because that was a major mindblowing moment for me in the novel, and in the film they almost casually toss it in, like some dude just randomly surfing the sand seas.

Wait until you find out where melange comes from.

Now that I think about it, they never once use the term melange in the movie…

Also the tone of the film is a little different from the novel, with the focus being drawn heavily to the local indigenous population of the battle-scarred planet of Arrakis. The novel focuses primarily on Paul of the house Atreides and his compatriots, while this film almost hijacks it by portraying a lot of it through Chani and sparkly dream sequences.

Anyway, this has somehow become a movie review. My point was that the film portrays loss and death very viscerally and directly and it does not shy away from the rather unsightly nature of the whole affair. Although not as graphic as Game of Thrones and its modern fantasy ilk, Dune is certainly a violent writhing mass of slaughter and…game of thrones, with great houses and factions vying for control of the known universe through the control of resources that come from this parched planet of pulverised spice.

So yes, you could say that death is at the forefront of my mind.

However, while it is something I contemplate greatly at times, it is not something I would consider myself partaking of, at least not prematurely.

I doubt I will go by my own hand.

Is that something I should be contemplating?

I see death somewhat romantically, cheesy even.

I see death as a celebration, as a brief flicker of a bright flame on a stodgy little birthday candle. Out, out brief candle as a lord once exclaimed.

For there to be death, there must first have been life. And so death is a celebration that there once was life, that there once was some degree of activity and vibrancy, a spark of joy and lust and growth and sadness.

All our lives we battle against the forces of nature and physics, defy gravity and entropy and the elements. We rise slowly and quickly and raise our fists to the sky and each other. And at the end we lay back down to rest, yielding to gravity and decay and the laws of the world, giving back what we have taken, gifting life to others.

Spoiler: in the end, it gets us all.

So the question is: what are you going to do about it?

For starters, go check out Dune if you haven’t already.

Life is so very fragile, isn’t it?

The One-Eyed Beast Watches

The One-Eyed Beast

The one-eyed beast shines upon me from its perch beyond the clouds, its solitary cry ringing within my hollow cranium, the voices of a thousand wailing teenagers echoing like metal in a spinning barrel, endlessly turning and ringing and sounding out across the galaxies of forgotten times, making me crave the simple silence and a swift end.

An end to the intolerable rise of the tides within my temples when I hear the half-arsed murmur of a lacklustre human, a zombie with no will of its own but an undying hunger for pills and processed junk food. An end to the meaningless screeches of the bourgeoisie, trying to fill their fat pockets with breadcrumbs of the pigs that tower above them, resigned to their impotent destiny, powerless to change their own fates.

With a sword I shall end it all, put an end to these soulless ghouls with a satisfying stab through the midriff, muddying my blade in foul mists of coagulated humour. And not the mirthful kind.

Ever deeper I wade into the sea of rotting carcasses, bodies piling up all around me as blurred, unseen faces of ex-people pass left and right, tumble and spill beneath my blade. This never-ending torrent is but a test, a test of wit and will, for the undead can never truly harm me unless I let them, unless I let them inside my mind and let their black greed and pessimism infect my soul.

My fortitude and forebears protect me, allowing me to swing my bastard sword again and again, keeping the enemy at bay. Offense is the best defense, as is oft observed, and by defeating these beasts I am not only protecting myself, but the days of the other living.

And yet these mindless marching zombies do not appear to mean me any harm. They appear to be shambling beyond my bitter frame, despite the harm I am bestowing upon their brethren, lurching towards an unseen ledge like the lemmings of legend that rush over to their doom (it’s a myth, by the way). I begin to question my quest, my bloodthirsty hacking journey. What do they really want? Where are they marching?

Perhaps they are merely following a road laid down for them. Perhaps they are all in my mind…

Who really knows where the roads in our mind will lead us?

It is a contorted, distorted road that I walk, one with more twists and turns than life itself, this weathered imaginary flagstone path that I follow. Much like the foul beings that march all around me, I have been conditioned to follow the path, condemned to stick to the safe passage crafted by those that came before me for all eternity.

But then I realise that within my own mental realm I am free, I am imagine a road of my own, a path less travelled, or many forks snaking away into the abyss that the likes of man (and woman) knows not!

How do I access this lofty world of freedom where I can go wherever I want and be whoever I want to be? Where dreams can be dreams and be truly imaginarily explored and fulfilled?

I must escape the undead hordes, release myself from their grimy clutches, not just on my figurative physical form, but also on my mind. Their mind-numbing march is not my own, their misdirection is their own folly and I choose not to walk the murky, trodden path that their decomposing feet trample.

I must find my own freedom and break free of these ethereal shackles, fiery brands and twisted daggers scorched upon my wrinkled dome. I want to break away, I want to break free.

And I’ve realised running is the best way to free my mind, to free the spirit. Dashing out from between these sedentary lumbering corpses with their guts hanging out of their tattered apparel.

The one-eyed beast watches over me as my feet pound the pavement beneath its gentle light, beneath the towers of stone and sand built by man, beneath a steely sky that glows from within, a fire in its belly that never sleeps.

Strings of the Past

Do you like acquiring new things, keeping them, stashing them away like a little squirrel furiously caching acorns?

Do you feel the rush when you find the perfect place to store that handy little morsel you managed to salvage from the wreckage of the parking lot of your shopping trip? Do you enjoy playfully patting it to sleep in its new home and staring longingly as you close the cabinet, sealing your new friend away for eternal slumber, never to be seen again until the world calls for it, summons it by its very name?

Perhaps you enjoy…hoarding?

Do you feel personally attacked? Don’t worry, this isn’t an attack. I’m personally something of a hoarder at heart, although I know a few people that could certainly give me a run for my money.

There’s something of a line between saving up for a rainy day and hoarding the heck out of your humble home, but regardless the joy of acquiring new materials and toys to call your own is undeniable. And there’s more to it than that.

I just had a thought – when we squirrel things away for future use, no matter how practical it is, we develop an attachment to that thing on some level. We deem it to have some form of value, even if the value is not immediately apparent or obvious to others (or even ourselves).

And when we develop an attachment to something, we tie a little strand of our mind and emotions to it, so wherever we go there is a string we keep attached to the back of our mind for us to yank back into action should the need arise.

However, as we bring in more and more materials and goods and gewgaws to our neat little nest, we create more and more strings, many a strand to our mighty stash as it swells and grows, like our pride as we gaze upon our treasure trove.

And wherever we go, those strings follow us, give us a sense of pride and accomplishment, a sort of satisfaction that we are fulfilled and moving up in the world, climbing upon our pile of material achievements, one trinket at a time.

Beware the strings of the past.

Here’s the thing: perhaps we might use those objects and bring them back into the land of the living at some point. Perhaps we won’t. If we never touch or look at those objects, they basically becomes items of our past, objects that used to bring us joy but now leave a dull feeling of nothingness. And living like that is akin to living in the past.

Not akin to – it is living in the past. Living vicariously through the lives of our objects past. And every time we come across them items of our past, we can’t bear to be rid of them, because we developed a past attachment, and we tell ourselves that these objects are still of value, still of use to us, if not now then at some point in the future.

So we are living in the past, for our future. Never in the present.

And so we continue to search and to hunt and to find new things to bring us that brief joy, that brief rush, more retail therapy, more things to fill our homes with and to bring us closer to…what exactly? Fulfillment? Fully filled to the brim, for sure.

Is it wrong to want to acquire things, especially useful or pretty things? Useful pretty things?

Well, certainly not. Isn’t that part of the human experience?

We obtain objects through our travels that mean something to us. Maybe because they mark a momentous event in our lives. Maybe because they were given to us by someone we cared about. Maybe because they remind us of someone we used to be.

So we are living in the past, for our future. Never in the present.

These objects have power. They all have a power over us, whether big or small. They tug at the strings in the back of our minds, summoning the memories and emotions that we associate with these objects.

And it is certainly not wrong to want to cling to those things that matter, those memoirs of a life well lived, of the journeys we have been on.

Then why are there orders and doctrines that dictate a life devoid of attachment? The Jedi Order certainly deems it so, and yet they all run around with throbbing tools attached to their waists.

I guess we have to ask why do people hoard?

I imagine hoarding brings a sense of achievement, a sense of satisfaction like that of a magpie finding fresh fleshy shiny things to adorn its nest with, to beautify its interior and bolster its external walls. Hoarding is a form of control over an otherwise uncontrollable world of crazy people and crazy events and crazy concepts of conquest.

Should our attachment be solely to living objects then? Is that healthier? Does it prevent the hoarding mentality? Does it give us a better sense of control in a world where most people feel their sense of control slipping between their buttery fingers?

Hoarding is basically living in the past, but with objects. Letting past presents tear you away from the present, letting worn out weapons weigh you down, letting anchors drag you back into the undertow, deep below the surface where no one else can reach you.

Often we don’t realise it as we accumulate stuff that we don’t need and don’t use, and we get to the point where we have to force ourselves to do things or use things so as not to allow them to go to waste. Especially when we acquire things that have an expiry date.

Yes, things in the freezer still go bad, mum.

I swear everyone has the misconception that things in the freezer will last forever. Or at least, out of sight out of mind.

This is the sort of old baggage that doesn’t just make you mentally sick, but has the potential to make you physically ill as well.

I’d like to think I’ve improved from my hoarding ways, like to think I’ve cleaned myself up and sobered up. But perhaps I’ve just gotten better at shuffling things around, or better at pretending to utilise the unwilling objects I’ve lugged home.

I guess it’s good to have a balance, to tether between being amply stocked and resourceful, and excessively cluttered to the point of being unproductive. I don’t have a three step plan to declutter your life, to Marie Kondo-ing your world. You can go check out Marie’s Kondo for that.

The irony is not lost on me

Just take small steps, one thing at a time, one dime a day.

You can do it.

Start snipping those strings of the past.

An Afternoon With An Olive-Backed Sunbird

Today I saw an olive-backed sunbird!

Olive-backed Sunbird Birds Malaysia
This little dude! (Photo credit: Internet)

It was flitting and hopping about alone right outside my window as the rain gently gilded the green boughs of my pink bird flower plant.

And so I stood there and admired it meticulously going from flower to flower, bird poking bird flower in some strange silent pantomime.

Didn’t have my phone on me, and because I didn’t want to spook it and I didn’t wish to miss a moment of it, I stood there for what felt like an hour just gazing out at the energetic little warbler. So I didn’t take any photos, just the memories in my mind of that magical moment in time when I came close to feeling like some Disney princess.

And I was perfectly fine with it.

Listening to the little passerine let out a few chirps and tweets, I wondered what Mr. Trump was up to these days. Then it was back to work.

Here’s the pink bird flower plant I mentioned, and a brief shot of the rain today:

The Consumer Is Always Right

Do you consider yourself a consumer? A healthy, wholesome consumer?

Aren’t we all? All our lives we are taught to be jolly, obedient consumers, fulfilling our duties and our every need with the necessary stuff, the good things in life. Supporting our local companies and stimulating our national economy and making the world go round.

Well, I don’t want to be a consumer all my life.

I mean, of course part and parcel of living in a humankind society requires interactions of a fiscal nature, requires transactions above the basic social exchanges. There requires an exchange of money and goods and services. A comfy capitalism society.

But what about creating, producing, adding value?

Isn’t that what our jobs are for? Contributing and creating value for society? Let me ask you a simple question: do you feel your job directly contributes to adding value to another person’s life?

In our modern day and age, sometimes that feeling of contributing to our fellow human, to our society becomes blurred in bar charts and graphs, beautiful spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations. We see numbers instead of names, KPI and targets instead of people.

What does that have to do with being a consumer?

Well, when we’re in the mindset of the consumer, we only see what we can get out of someone or something, what’s in it for us. We focus on the boons and benefits and how does this further my goal of a lifelong dream of hedonism and pleasure?

We become laidback and languid, waiting for the world to pander to us, to provide us with sustenance and entertainment at our beck and call. All we have to do is wave our credit cards and phones, and voila – we have it all instantly! Or if it’s not instant, we get mad.

In a way, consumerism promotes self-centeredness and materialism. I mean, that much is obvious, but what about the effects of it on the rest of our outlook on life? Is it the reason we have become so entitled, so self-righteous? Because we believe the adage that the “customer is always right”? Customer, consumer – they’re basically the same thing.

I’m not saying that we should deny all forms of consumerism; I’m just saying we should create more, inject more of ourselves and our gifts and our craft into our lives and our work.

People often lament about their lack of talent or God-given gifts, but I believe that if you look long and hard you will find many things that you can do well or have a knack for, if only you gave it a good hard try. Or maybe two or three.

Deep down we all have a yearning to do something good with our lives, do something noteworthy, something memorable. We yearn to create something or contribute in a meaningful way to the people around us. And perhaps you disagree with me, but that’s alright, because at least you’re thinking. Keep it up!

Sam’s Copywriting Sample

Whether you’re looking for a casual clause, professional prose or a humourous haiku, look no further! For starters, I can tell when to use “your” and “you’re”. 

Generally most of my clients look for something to put a snooze in their reader’s step with standard bombastic buzzwords and robust compositions to set themselves apart from the riffraff and their commoner colloquialisms, with extended expositions and circuitous sentences that have more secondary subplots than a Saturday afternoon soap opera. Hold up, nobody watches television anymore! 

Oh but I digress, 
Let’s talk about you and just
What you need right now. 

I put the “Sam” in “Copywriting Sample”.

Perhaps I could use a better buzzword for the tagline.

I put the “Sam” in “Copywriting Samurai”!

And just what is Samshu?

三燒? Seems to be an antiquated term for Chinese rice wine.

Is There More To Life Than Making Babies?

Do you consider yourself a modern citizen in a modern world?

Enlightened and elevated above the base thoughts and needs of our carnal progenitors? No longer slaves to our lowly instincts and vices and shortfalls of our ancestors?

Were you brought up to believe that you could do anything, achieve anything in life, as long as you put all your heart and soul into it? You could live your childhood dreams, be whoever you choose to be, do what you love for the rest of your life?

And then you wake up twenty years later, groggy, alone, an electronic device dictating your life, your every waking and sleeping moment. Having spent the majority of your life lying on your sides or studying something you were only mildly interested in. And then your basic instincts kick in, creep into the back of your mind – you need to eat, you need to drink, you need to get laid.

Is There More To Life Than Making Babies?

Those around you do not see your plight. Day after day your parents and relatives inquire about your marital status, or if you’ve had the good fortune to shack up with someone permanently then when the 贵子 are going to arrive.

Your friends are “moving on” with their lives, most pairing up into units to continue on the evolutionary necessities and satisfy some societal requirement, signing the contract everyone craves, ticking off the big box of life, preparing to tick the next big item.

When will you tick off the big box of life?

Which one, you ask?

Are there that many to choose from?

And so we toil and slave, and if we’re lucky not so hard because our parents or predecessors saved up some for us. And we continue our hunt – our hunt for meaning, for purpose, for life.

We put our hearts and souls into our careers, into creating things of value, of meaning, into keeping our bodies healthy and fit. All by our own choice, our own cleverness, staving away the primal instincts that gnaw at our minds, either from sheer will or fear of rejection.

But at the end of it, we always come back to the same things: continuing on the family name, the bloodline, under the guise of finding happiness, achieving success.

Of course one cannot deny that happiness is intimately tied to interpersonal relationships of some spread or depth, being the deeply social creatures that we are.

But we have overcome that, have we not?

We are intelligent, able to control our urges, our innermost instincts with rational, logical reasoning!

We can overcome widescale devastation, largely initiated by our own hands, but still avert physical crises through reasoning and communication. We avoid nuclear annihilation, natural disasters, global pandemics with the power of logic and science!

And it’s true, we have adapted and conquered and overcome. And in the madness and chaos, we have sought out our clarity; in our desperate isolation, we have learned the meaning of togetherness; in the darkness we have learned to treasure the light.

And yet, as adversity unites us, as we fight illness and loss with logic, we realise that we are but base animals. When all is said and done, it is the same driving force and motivations that drove our forefathers thousands of years ago.

Are we that different from our ancestors? Have we changed?

Is it hardwired into us?

Making babies. Do people still need to do it?

I mean the process is great and all, but is it still necessary in this day and age?

Well, yes of course, otherwise who is going to take over once the elders pass? Who will care for the aging population of our broken world?

Perhaps procreating has been painted in a negative light with all the recent talk of climate change and overpopulation, of unsustainable living and dwindling resources.

While reproduction is evolutionarily obligatory, and to be fair it is the entire purpose of evolution, where exactly do we see ourselves in the evolutionary scale of things?

What is the point of continuing to spawn and evolve exactly? To populate the earth? Colonise beyond our borders, beyond our planet?

For what exactly?

Are we not akin to drops of bacteria in a petri dish full of nutrients? Akin to a virus let loose within a thriving, healthy host? The world is our oyster, and we will take all we can, multiply as far as we can reach.

Until our resources run out? Then let’s find some more!

Is there an end? Should there be an end?

Like a creeper plant stretching its limbs into the sun, across the soil, growing and growing until it reaches the boundaries? And then…going up, and up, like a beanstalk to the sky?

In the end, is it not all just a circlejerk, a fun little game to keep ourselves busy as our cells reproduce and rupture and return to dust?

So shall we get back to making babies?

So let’s talk about babies.

Say we yield to the fundamental cause of our species, of being alive, our supposed purpose and destiny – of making the babies and keeping the wheels turning. Say we decide we’re DTF and churn out a good one, we lock ourselves in with a bundle of joy with no refunds, no takebacksies.

Congratulations! Now what?

I can honestly say that evolution has not been kind to us sapiens. Seriously, how difficult can babies be?

Ask any parent – they’ll be happy to share with you their processes and their experiences of bringing up a child. Yes, I’m sure the whole thing is fun and full of fulfillment and satisfaction and new lessons in life. But it’s a fucking full time job, mate.

Evolution/intelligent design/the one true deity has not been kind to us humankind. Think about it – have you seen a new parent that is well-rested? Then they’ve clearly got lots of help.

Most new parents do not make a good case for having babies. It is a costly, cumbersome, challenging thing to bring up a baby.

From a business perspective, the ROI on these things is astoundingly low. They’re expensive, they’re time-consuming, they’re fragile, they’re high risk. They require a lot of attention, a lot of training; you don’t get to interview them beforehand, and you certainly can’t fire them from the position.

People tell you kids are an investment, a priceless asset. Well okay, what’s the appreciate rate on kids? You have to sink in at least two decades to get these starving sponges up to speed, not to mention countless dollars and sense, all while maintaining a happy facade lest the darn things develop a sour disposition or take on your bad values.

And once they’ve matured, what do you get? Some may pay you back in cash, buy you some nice things, or sometimes just in gratitude. But can they ever actually repay you for all you’ve done for them, all the sacrifices you’ve made?

Perhaps I’m missing the entire point of parenthood. Yes, parenthood is about pouring yourself into your offspring, so that they may have a better life than you ever did, so they can gain grander, greater things, surpassing all you’ve ever achieved. You shouldn’t care about getting anything in return, because the return is seeing them healthy and happy, right?

You will give your all, expend your time and energy, disburse your dividends all to them, because they deserve the very best, right?

Well what about you? Is it selfish to consider, to think about yourself for even one second? Our genes are selfish, are they not?

Oh, so our genes are alright with us giving all without any expectation for anything in return? Unconditional love, as they call it? That was a pretty clever marketing campaign. Generations of filial piety set in stone.

Well, even if our genes are gladsome and full of glee at the prospect of us popping out a few new ones, what about our logical selves? Our thoughts and feelings? Are we really alright with going through physical and social transformation and turmoil just for the privilege of hearing a little genetic mishmash of ourselves squeak out the words “mama” or “dada”?

What about spiritual children? What about having non-genetically related progeny? Pets? People love pets!

Vote Dog: A Pet Comics Collection by Make That Thing ...

I’m not saying we should all get pets and forego having children. I’m just curious if there are people out there who have found a greater purpose in life than spawning children.

Yes, I’m sure creating pieces of art or music, or an app or software that changes our virtual landscape, or a business that benefits billions is a worthy cause, a righteous reason to fight and live on. But can it truly replace that evolutionary call, that urge deep within our souls, to replace something that we can biologically call our own?

Do I have an answer for you?

There are many, many answers out there, and in this day and age there are many voices and stories vying to be heard and adored.

All I have to offer are questions. Simple questions that you and I will have to answer for ourselves.

What do you believe your life is about?

Australian Dog Party!

This needs to be a real party!

Shiba from the Australian Dog Party

I mean, I don’t imagine immediate sweeping changes to the landscape of the country, but I do imagine if our nation were more dog friendly then many other things would naturally fall into place. Like the economy, for starters.

I’m just dismayed that the Australian Dog Party doesn’t have an adorable (or regal, whichever you like) dog icon in the logo. I mean, that could be New Zealand for all I know! I wonder if New Zealand has a dog party…

What would the Australian Dog Party stand for?

That’s a great question! I’m glad you asked.

The Australian Dog Party will stand for:

  • More dog facilities e.g. parks, paths, drinking trowels
  • More laws to protect dogs from unethical breeding and abuse
  • More jobs for dogs
  • More dog-friendly media
  • More dog translation services
  • Implementation of National Dog Day
  • Rename party to Australian Dog Paw-ty
  • Include a longer item so the bullet points ascend in length

It’s the leash we can do for our furry friends!

Anything is paw-sible!

National Dog Party Day

Vote for the Australian Dog Party!

P.S. They really missed the chance to call to it the Australian Dog Paw-ty.

Enjoying One’s Company

During this time of lockdown, I’ve come to a realisation: I like being alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy human interaction as much as the next person. Well…maybe not nearly as much as the next person.

Sometimes dealing with people drains you and you’d like some peace and quiet for a change, without people demanding things every other second.

The point is I like my own company and being by myself and bouncing thoughts off myself. I like operating on my own time, in my own space, in my own head.

And perhaps on some level, I can’t stand the complications of engaging and catering to the needs of other people. Some days it just feels like everyone just wants something from you. Boy, I sound like a proper sociopath, don’t I?

Does that make me damaged or deranged? Am I defective in some way?

Or am I just a true introvert?

I used to believe I was an extrovert, feeling alive and energised in the presence of others. But now, after a long day out I just feel drained and depleted like a Vespene Gas mine. Now I relish the thought of spending an evening with just me and my earphones and running shoes, my guitar, the night, the silence.

Does that mean I’ll be forever alone? Let’s not get all reductio ad absurdum now. Of course not – I imagine there will still be room for social activities. But my limit for them might be a lot lower. Perhaps there is a natural order of things that gradually reduces our need or yearning for attention and constant interaction.

Or maybe I’ll just end up a crazy cat person.

Crazy Cat Lady - TV Tropes

My tolerance for people’s bovine faecal matter is waning, and I realise that with age and maturity it’s not your tolerance level that grows, but rather the apathy and ability to not care about things that don’t matter. Discerning what matters.

Is there someone out there who won’t drain me and exhaust me? Someone who matches my energy levels or jives with my flow?

I imagine even in relationships, sometimes people need a hiatus from each other, no matter how brief. I was listening to a discussion recently about how sleeping separately is not necessary a bad sign, but rather a mature move by two people who care about each other enough to accept that being well-rested is more important than trying to maintain the image of traditional love and cramming into the same bed.

That concept resonates with me, the thought that being in a committed relationship doesn’t mean that you’re glued to each other at the waist. Sure, some couples can spend every waking moment staring into each other’s eyes, but realistically most people have their own jobs and activities and lives not intimately linked with their romantic relationship. Hell, it’s probably necessary to keep the relationship alive.

I feel a relationship should be two people committed to growing together, but still with room to develop individually. Perhaps the thought of your counterpart potentially changing into different characters as the days go by scares you. Maybe you cling to the relationship to save and redeem you.

But the fact of the matter is, you don’t have control over other people. Only yourself.

As much as you try to gaslight or manipulate others so they feel like they need you and you alone, your insecurities will consume yourself as well as everyone around you.

So give other people the same freedom, the same space that you would wish for yourself.

Everyone needs their own space, and I have found mine.

Cats. Lots of them.

Superiority Complex – Problem or Necessary?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the inferiority complex, but have you heard of its self-proclaimed bigger brother the superiority complex?

Those familiar with Adlerian psychology will have heard of the superiority complex, but for those of you who haven’t heard I imagine you can take a guess at what the complex is about. There are numerous articles on the topic already, I’m sure.

Now the question is this: is having a superiority complex a problem?

Or is it a pre-requisite to succeed in this fast-paced, widely-connected social media era?

What Superiority Complex?

So what does a superiority complex look like in this modern day and age?

I mean, aren’t we all trying to gain the upper hand in this world one way or another? To climb the ladder of life, to scramble ever upwards in this rat race we call capitalism and the Malaysian/Singaporen/American Dream?

In that sense most of us are trying to become superior in some form, right? And is that wrong?

The superiority complex lies not in what goals we aim for and how we manage our finances; it has to do with how we regard our fellow man (and woman). Because as Adlerian psychology teaches, life is all about interpersonal relationships.

To think of it from a loftier perspective, is not our very human existence all about finding meaning and purpose? And where do we derive this meaning and purpose? Is it not from our interactions with our fellow human beings and other living and inanimate things in our world around us?

If you boil it down, even higher pursuits like religion and science are about guiding and exploring relationships between humans. It is teaching us how to experience life and togetherness and closeness with each other.

So if life is all about us interacting in harmony with one another, then the superiority complex is about regarding oneself as above our fellow man (or woman). It is the mentality that a certain trait or ability or status makes one greater than everyone else, the belief that one is better.

Basically this dude:

Magneto superiority complex
superiority complex

To be fair, he does have a good reason to believe he is superior.

Now the problem lies not just in the belief, but the actions that result from believing you are God’s gift to mankind for whatever reason.

Ironically enough, the superiority complex tends to arise as a defense mechanism to help a person cope with feelings on inferiority. And this is not something you develop overnight – it is an ingrained habit of thought. Most people don’t even realise they have it.

Those with superiority complexes aren’t that far off from narcissists, and in times of strife (like during, say a pandemic) they may struggle because they cannot do what they do best – exploit others for their own gain.

You see, those with a superiority complex gain their self-worth and esteem from external sources, relying on others to boost their frail ego. During a pandemic, with limited social contact, they’ll need more than some online affirmation to feel validated.

Oh wait, that’s what social media is for!

Got Complex?

Do you think someone might have a superiority complex? Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. They compare themselves to others constantly
  2. They have a strong sense of entitlement
  3. They don’t like it when you don’t act the way they want
  4. They seek validation all the time
  5. They don’t own up to their mistakes

And what does that look like on social media?

I Am Very Smart Bingo : iamverysmart superiority complex

There’s a subreddit (on…Reddit) named r/IAmVerySmart where…people try very hard to look smart.

It’s a fun sub.

r/iamverysmart - One step away from being gandi
superiority complex social media
This one hurts a little

You’ll notice in the above excerpts there are comparisons using age: one implying that they are an underage precocious genius, and the other implying that kids are not smart.

As the saying goes:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

And yet we all still do it, because we need a benchmark or just want to feel good about ourselves. We all have insecurities, but does that mean we all suffer from a superiority complex?

Where do we draw the line? Our self-worth still has to stem from something, some belief that we are enough or we are capable. Or does it?

Is it possible to have a strong sense of self-worth while not looking down upon others? Not needing to compare and measure yourself against other people, just your past self?

It’s easy identifying this in others, but funnily enough if we have it ourselves, our superiority complexes probably wouldn’t allow us to admit that we have one.

At the end of the day, we all need some form of reassurance that we are good at something or have worth in this world. But when that title or object makes you think that you deserve better than others and that you’re better than other people, then that might be a superiority complex on your shoulders.

When you start treating others as beneath yourself due to their upbringing, race, religion or just because you’re in a better position than them, then you might have a complex.

Is it a problem?

That’s for you to decide.

Problem attitude superiority complex

And I’ll leave you with this one final quote:

Sarcastic superiority complex

Oh I’ve known some sarcasm masters in my time.