Observations – Consciousness; realisations and revelations of who we are

We think things automatically, millions of things through our lives and not all these thoughts are ambiguous or neutral, sometimes these things are prejudiced or childlike or cruel for no reason. I don’t want to offend by saying them out loud but I do want to recognise and question these automatic thoughts. Why are they automatic? Where do they come from? Perhaps just by bringing them to light I will gain a better understanding of myself, and by you reading them maybe you will gain a better viewpoint of yourself? I’ll be updating this regularly, please feel free to comment if you feel touched by any of these subjects. By knowing it touched you I will know that I am changing myself and affecting the world. I’ve been making these observations for a while now but lets start from where we are now…welcome to my personal crazy

2 asian guys just walked past me and both were shorter than me, I instantly laughed inside at how “little” they were. Why? Why did their height instantly emasculate them to me?
I gave a woman directions today, we were walking in exactly the same direction but social ettiquette and awkwardness meant that neither of us felt like we could walk next to each other. So she followed me instead, thinking about knowing she was following me and I was “leading her” made me feel like some kind of messiah which made me laugh.My thoughts were, I feel like Jesus, my brain is odd
I find the dynamics really interesting when I see 2 people from completely different countries trying to communicate to each other in a 3rd language. Here in Plymouth its often a Japanese speaker and an African speaker trying to communicate in heavily accented and broken English. There’s something very patronising about it and also very unifying at the same time.
Films affect us more than life events sometimes, I just looked up and a droplet of rain fell in my eye. My immediate thought was of a scene in 28 Days Later where a drop of blood falls from a crow into the taxi drivers eye infecting him. His immediate response was to look at his daughter and say I love you before the infection took hold. I remember it vividly in spite of only ever having seen the film once. I’ve been rained on a million times, why didn’t I remember any of those instead?

Sometimes there are so many oriental people around here that its hard to see the locals. I wonder if thats how people in places like Tokyo and Hong Kong feel?
Looking at old people holding hands makes me sad and happy at the same time.

Today people kept looking at me, well that’s how it felt anyway. It made me feel really insecure, but why? I’m petty sure I didn’t leave the house looking like a medieval witch or anything so why do their glances affect my mood?

I don’t have a TV but it seems commonplace to have them playing  in waiting rooms now. Is this a mind numbing venture by commerce intended to instigate crowd control? Or can people really not cope for any length of time without being ‘amused’ by something?
I think I must be getting old, I remember my parents saying it but fashion confuses me. The hairstyles are worst, they look ridiculous! I wonder if maybe I did look as stupid as my dad said I did when I thought I was cool?

I posted an Aural observation the other day, about how the council housing rent help department would assess you on a Nil income for up to 5 weeks. Its been playing on my mind ever since, 5 weeks with a NIL income, nothing coming in. There are 2 parts to this awareness, one is that how would someone survive for 5 weeks with absolutely no income? Why is there a bureaucratic process for that? And that links to the second part, with no income and no rent money and no food to eat and NIL to live on, why was that person sitting calmly in an office filling in a form looking unperturbed? Why weren’t they panicing about starving to death or freezing in this winter? Obviously society must have a slightly warped concept of what NIL means or we wouldn’t accept this as daily life. Now I’m not one to throw the african charities around but this is a good example, those families are starving literally but they have an income, a pitiful one but its not Nil….if this woman is earning less than the african family then why is she in the offices wearing clean reasonable clothes, coloured hair, make-up etc etc? I’m surrounded by people all day who’s version of being “totally broke” is only having enough money to go out twice that week and not enough to buy a kebab on the way home. We really need to reassess our concept of the world here.

Why is it weird to eat your dessert with 2 pieces of cutlery? Is it weird to use 2 pieces or is it the spoon fork combination that makes it weird?

Why do we talk faster when we’re nervous or stressed? Why does a fast heart translate to a fast mouth? How is that association made inside us and why can’t we overide it?

I don’t have anything to add to my visual observations file, This is largely because the things that i see that I find interesting are usually a bit unusual for people to stop and take photos of, so I don’t if there are people around. Why do I care what they think and what is it that I’m afraid will happen to me if I’m seen taking photographs of strange things? Why am I so afraid of “people”? I know the city I live in now isn’t a very nice city, it has a lot of people in it who are horrible examples of human beings and shout, swear, spit, fight etc etc on a daily basis but is it really their reactions that I’m afraid of or is it something else?

I’m a compulsive communicator, I’m obsessive about answering phones, replying to emails and text messages as soon as I get them etc. There are several points to this observational ramble, one of which is that although obsessional about responding to communication I feel no compulsion to initiate it at all! The other is why I feel like that about replying, I wonder how much of that is a result of the amount of talking therapies I’ve been through? Then there’s the point that for all the talking therapies I’ve been involved with and all my compulsions to communicate, I STILL don’t communicate to others when I’m distressed or have an issue. I wait until I can resolve it personally and then perhaps speak to others about the problem.
I’m quite a manic person, I move quickly, I talk quickly, I think quickly, I react quickly. But today I realised that a large percentage of the people I choose to have in my life are the opposite, they are slow thinkers who consider a lot before they speak or act. I wonder why I choose these polar opposites? They have several impacts on me, some of which are contradictory and not all positive so its an odd life choice. Having someone slow often makes me faster, it’s like it triggers something in me that makes me need to move faster to get more done, more than is needed often. Its like deep down I need to compensate for their slower pace by speeding mine up. Another effect is that sometimes watching them live reminds me that I can choose to slow down a little sometimes and the world will still be ok, things will still get done. I need that reminder sometimes. I’ve forgotten the 3rd thing, a side effect of thinking quickly is often that things are pushed out by the next thought before I can write them down.

Why is it that the more famous an artist, the more acceptable it is to refer to them by only one of their given names? In fact the other name often seems to get completely lost in history.
Ok, some of us know that it’s actually Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet but what of Matisse or Gauguin or Cezanne? Do you know their first names? Do they even have them or did they accept a single moniker like Madonna, Cher or Prince? The use of a single moniker implying we all know who they are, they are “great” “immortal” the “artist genius” they have no need of a peasant name. And poor show us for questioning that!

Sometimes when there are 2 people trying to pass each other in a confined space like a doorway or a stairwell, it gets all flouncy and almost dance like. sometimes a happy dance where the comedy is acknowledged and smiled about but sometimes a darker dance where there is unspoken tension and anxiety and isolation.
Today two things occurred to me as I regaled the story of Guido Fawkes to my son that every year we watch a man burning and cheer as his legs fall off, not a great nationwide mentality and also that we are the only people who do that. I never really considered the fact that Guy Fawkes night is only in the UK, its history means nothing anywhere else.
When i see people who are working so hard to keep the sunshine in their faces but obviously have some kind of sadness showing through it makes me feel impotent and uncomfortable. I want to help them or just hug them and let them know that I can see it and its ok but you can’t just hug people randomly and tell them that you think they’re sad inside but it’s ok to show it. People don’t like that. I just want to let them know that whatever it is, its probably ok and it’s probably not their fault.

I was just listening to people wander around the studio and their shoes tell me who they aren’t. One of the people I speak to I never hear coming because she always wears sneakers. Bit late I realise but I had the sudden realisation that they were sneakers because they’re good for sneaking up on people, they don’t click clack. The click clacky girl has WAY too much perfume on and I’m choking on it…thats not related to the sneakers revelation.

I found a repeat script for methadone on the floor yesterday as I walked. I was horrified and felt disgusted and instantly felt concerned the person it belonged to would appear. I’m not sure if I should have been feeling negative feelings that they were an addict or if I should’ve been feeling positive feelings that they were trying to get clean. I picked up the script, I’m going to hand it in to the Surgery.
I found a damaged Passport photo on the floor today as I walked and I felt compelled to record it. I also felt (for no discernable reason) that it must be in some way related to the methadone script I found yesterday. It made me uneasy, I think the uneasiness was because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with this information. I left the picture on the floor but I took a photograph on my phone first. I put it in the Visual Observations page because I felt so compelled to record it.
I want to make a connection with someone, I think they’re a great person and a useful contact to keep but I feel awkward trying to add them to my network. We wouldn’t socialise necessarily, I don’t ever socialise so Facebook is where I make sure I keep contact with people. But I feel like I can’t because of the situation we met in. Why do I care? Because I think they would, why would they care? Why would we perceive some form of inappropriateness?

Today the rain is coming sideways and as I walked home I was periodically protected from that sideways full onslaught by a local government care facility, a church and a school. It was kind of like society/life really, growing up. I’m not sure if that’s clear but there was an irony that I appreciated.
I think its really interesting the way people pretend not to be listening to your conversation when they aren’t involved but obviously can’t not hear what you’re saying.
Sometimes when I look at people I find myself imagining them as old people and what they’d look like. I don’t know why I do that, maybe its a subconscious acknowledgment of my own aging process, but sometimes its so easy to really visualise them as elderly people I find it a little disturbing. I don’t know why that is either
Someone said to me the other day, ‘why is it so hard to be nice to you?’ I hadn’t really thought about it before but it keeps coming back to me. ‘why is it so hard to be nice to me’ He meant I rebut compliments, I cynicise niceties and question motives. I do do all those things. Theres probably a hundred reasons for it, none of which I feel like sharing right now, thats part of it too isn’t it, I don’t share things like that. I’m intolerant of weakness, I’m suspicious of people who are nice to me. I need to look at why. Last night someone did something that was probably the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me but I find it almost painful to acknowledge and admit that. I need to work on this and find a balance that leaves me protected and safe but not so defensive before I become hardened and bitter forever.

I’ve developed a small obsession with medicinal litter. I don’t know why or where I expect to to lead but I feel compelled now to record it. I figured it was just me being odd as usual but discussing it with a colleague it seems it might be an interesting awareness so I thought I’d share it. Why do we get these compulsions that verge on paranoia? I feel like I HAVE to record these things or something might happen. Maybe that’s just another sign that maybe my stability mentally isn’t good at the moment, we’ll mark recurring OCD tendencies up on the line with the increase in periods of mania.

Today I heard a woman in a shop saying that she was fat because she’d had 9 children and my first thought was Oh my god, 9 children!! And I labeled her in my head as a bad person, chav like etc, but why? a generation ago 9 children wouldn’t have been frowned on, most of our parents come from families of 5+ children and it was just accepted. Maybe the woman was a catholic? Why did I feel the need to judge her negatively just because she had chosen to reproduce more than the average person?

If we thought of plants like we think of people then we wouldn’t jump in piles of dead crunchy autumn leaves….and we wouldn’t say ‘thankyou’ when someone gave us a bunch of cut flowers…. Florists would be like abattoirs and daisy chains would be gross. This isn’t a new thought for me, just one I’m sharing as it came to mind today when I crunched a brown leaf on the path.

I missed a whole month, its been a hard month. I’ve had some realisations but not had the inclination to share. Defeats the object really. Well here’s one for today and maybe it’s a fresh start.
I have had my phone on silent for the past week more or less, I realised today that I’ve put it on silent because it feels less lonely if I can’t hear my phone not going off.

I was thinking about prejudice, There are all these “ism’s” out there that in one way or another govern our actions and our social guilt, an ism is a prejudice right? Feminism, racism, sexism, chauvinism etc etc but how come the prejudice against homosexuality doesn’t have an ism to validate it but only a fear to excuse it? If you are chastised for being prejudiced against a gay person you aren’t judged with an ism but forgiven for having a “phobia” Homophobia, that’s the only word out there for it, so you’re not being MEAN to the gay people, its an involuntary reaction because you’re afraid of them? Is that right? That SOUNDS like what society is saying? Seems a bit ridiculous in this culture of political fear and correctness that we are ‘accidentally‘ missing bits, I’m sure there are others but this one just occurred to me.

Life is hard at the moment, I don’t feel like thinking let alone sharing. This morning though I looked out of my window at the grey sky that’s stopped me from filming today and saw the spider web, there’s a little spider who lives somewhere in my window, I never see him but everyday he wraps things in silky material. He doesn’t make stringy webs with strands but rather he weaves sheets of fabric, dense and delicate, which he wraps things in and suspends to blow in the droughts that pour through my double glazing. I clean them, I hoover them away and sweep them back but each day he comes again. He never gives up, he never gets knocked back. He just keeps creating, I don’t honestly think he can catch very much there so it feels a bit like he does it for the love of it, for the beauty or for the job. Today I really thought about him and I felt envious, jealous of his surety and his purpose. Jealous of his resilience, people with true faith often make me feel that way too. I don’t have it in me to just accept and do, I always question. That’s not a bad thing but sometimes, especially when the world is black, I envy the comfort those people get from their faith. I envy their quiet security and sense of belonging. I don’t have those things, just questions.

People always say that we shouldn’t compromise who we are for other people. They say all these things about being true to yourself, honest, self belief etc. BUT actually, when push comes to shove you are EXPECTED to compromise who you are for others or you’re called a bully or accused of being obtuse, you are expected to put yourself second and to silence your thoughts and opinions on things in order to make things go ‘smoothly’, for a ‘quiet life’. Its such a contradiction. They say ‘love yourself’ but if you do choose yourself and your own wellbeing and happiness over someone else then you’re called selfish and judged for it. We profess this spiritual awareness as a society and we convince ourselves that we believe it because it, in its own way, is a way of convincing yourself that YOU aren’t selfish, that you put others first by telling them that they matter most. Its a messed up merry go round of contradictions and self delusions.

I went to the aquarium yesterday, there are amazing tanks in there, incredible wildlife that you would never see up close, stuff from around our shores and far away. Its all so spectacular, but the most spectacular part of my visit? Sitting by the high window eating lunch and spotting a wild seal out of the window, only for a minute but WOW, for all its novelty you can’t compare seeing captive wildlife to real nature can you.

Sometimes I spontaneously miss odd little activities from my past life. Just then for example for no reason at all, I missed walking down the hill from Winchester train station to the town centre. I don’t know where the memory came from or why I would miss such a non-event but I do.Maybe its linked to a bigger missing of a simpler time. A time when I would walk to work from the train.

Being up here on a plane above the clouds makes me feel conflicted. I feel so alone, no not alone maybe bereft is closer? I don’t know why though because I am also so glad that the world is gone, that there’s a clearer space where they aren’t. Maybe its the illusion that makes me sad? I’m sad because I know its a halfhearted dream and I’m sad because the people that I do love aren’t here. Maybe I don’t want a dream if I can’t have them with me? We’re all so isolated and up here I’m so far away from the only few people I give 2 craps about, the only people who get to exist within my defenses, the only people I consider to be worth enough.
Maybe I’m not so great at being alone anymore?Maybe I need them more than I need solitude? Everything feels so surreal and slightly frightening, i feel trapped like a rabbit in the headlights; just like that bunny there are no walls to stop me, i could choose any direction to run but I can’t, I’m frozen and unsure.

Sometimes I just want to write, I don’t mean type I mean pick up a pen and actually write. To feel that natural pressure as you push down and force the ink past the tiny metal ball to make words, to make silent noise. I don’t have anything to say necessarily, like this time I just hovered over the paper with my pen trying to think what I could write, should I just scribble? Write someone elses lyrics? So I decided to write this, to share my love of pen and paper with you. A dying art, a lost pastime, that thought makes me sad. I have a badge that says “writing is rebellion” and looking around me at laptop after Ipad, after tablet after blackberry I think it may be right.

Two things, At 1.24am on a coach full of sleeping people I realise two unassociated things, 1 is that I love night driving, watching the world whoosh past when its too sleepy to know like its a secret world that you don’t get to see often. Maybe its the lights that make it feel magical? 2 is that I’m not ready to give up being alone yet. There’s is too many elements to it that make me ‘me’ and make me stronger. I don’t think I’m ready to surrender that again so quickly.

I’m looking at a “pass the cause along” image on Facebook and listening to the levellers. I’m remembering my friends who were travellers who got abused by the police, I’m remembering the people I knew who protested in the trees at Twyford down to protect the wildlife, I’m remembering the marches for Greenpeace across London that I participated in, I’m remembering the coal miners pickets and the student protests in front of downing street and then I’m looking again at this new form of protest, where its norm is a facebook group and its most extreme version appears to be the act of camping in random places and I’m worried. People moan and rant and whine and post on facebook about how ‘no-one listens to the little guy’ but we seem to have lost our grasp of reality vs virtual. Why would anyone listen to you if you aren’t even talking to them? Just to an invisible mass? What happened to our souls? What happened to our fight? We moan we are treated like sheep but we behave like them. We are so corrupted by the mass media to worry about a million miles away that we dont’ see whats infront of us and we don’t know how to make people listen anymore. We are the loudly moaning silent masses and we’re confused. Get up people, shout at the RIGHT people, stand outside the RIGHT front doors, mean what you say and do what you mean. That’s the only way to get this back. This isn’t a call to revolt, I don’t follow politics anymore, this is a call to your feet, a call to consciousness and a call to wake up!!

Today I am wondering why some people are born without the ability to see other peoples points of view, wondering how they exist without ever considering their actions on the people around them. They will lay on a sofa and never even notice the 2 people who are having to stand because of it, they will drink the last milk in the evening and never think about the person who needs to get breakfast before work in the morning. Its not that they are mean or cruel, just thoughtless in the truest sense of the word. I have been trying to explain something to one of those people today but all I keep getting back is “I want this, why can’t I have it” and when you say to them because there are other people to consider they just look at you blankly. Like they can’t comprehend that those other people won’t just accommodate them automatically. They make me both angry and sad at the same time. I have to try and be patient but there’s a point where I just think the only thing to do is to tell them to go away that they can have nothing. I am not the kind of person who gives in to people like that, I wouldn’t give a toddler a biscuit because he screams and I won’t make allowances for an adult who does similar behaviours. Its so disheartening though to know that no matter how many times you explain it they just don’t understand how to care about anyone else, what do we do with that?

I just had a full on ‘voices in my head and outside my head’ schizophrenic holding a conversation with me/her on the bus. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mocking her, It was fine, she wasn’t a problem than the other ‘slightly odd’s’ who talk to strangers on the bus but what I found fascinating were the specifics of the conversation with herself. Asked me if I was a Goth, I said no, in a totally different voice (tone, timbre, even less accented) she asked ‘are you a goth then?’ to which she replied in the 1st voice, yeah I’m a goth me, look at my t-shirt. Then she spoke to her self a bit, in the 2nd voice she would ask questions which the 1st voice would answer. Like 2 people getting to know each other and discussing their mornings. The fascinating thing for me was that the 2nd voice was so different I initially thought she must be talking to someone else, you could have sworn it was 2 people talking. I never really thought about that before

Sometimes I look from a removed perspective at my artwork and I look at the creative people around me. When I do that I see one thing that shines out more than anything else, My strength is helping other creatives move on and progress. I’m not passionate about my work, I’m passionate about ideas and I don’t mind who’s they are but my joy, my real joy comes from finding a way to help another creative person grow their practise, sending them a link that might get them started, sending them an encouraging email, sharing their work with others and giving them the confidence to push on or even just being the person that they can bounce the idea they are worried about off of, being the person who say, YEAH that’s a great idea, all you need to do is this, clarify that, move forward, go for it! That’s what makes me happy. That’s what makes me feel fulfilled. I don’t think I’m supposed to be an artist, I think I’m supposed to help them.


I’ve missed a few, I have some written down I’ll find them. I’ve been so busy. Being busy is like a lifeline sometimes, its all we have that’s holding us together. I feel like that anyway. I’m not busy now, I need to make a schedule for myself, find ways that i can be busy. Falling apart isn’t an option.

Its been too long to keep dates now. No more regimented structure by a society’s timekeeping method, our thoughts shouldn’t be managed like that anyway.

Vegans…can they swallow semen? Its technically from a livibg creature, hell technically it is alive itself. So if they argue its wrong to eat something like honey then where do they sit on that issue?

Have you ever noticed that the nicest part of a country is often considered to be the southern part? South of France, southern Italy, south coast of England is known as the riviera, South America is the natural end…why is that?

I was thinking about the older couples that we see together, happy and hand in hand etc, we romantacise them, make assumptions that they’ve been together for decades and are still in love but I wonder how many of them are actually quite new couples, divorced or widowed maybe and finding new relationships. They’re still in the endorphins stage of the relationship even. I feel a little cheated with this realisation.

Watching students run in front of buses to cross the road rather than wait for the crossing to be in their favour. I wonder how many of those same students would describe the importance of their education as worth being hit by a bus for?

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3 thoughts on “Observations – Consciousness; realisations and revelations of who we are

  1. Jude Butcher says:

    I believe I’m one of the slow thinkings mentioned on the 1/11/12. I sometimes find it exhausting watching you go from one thing to the next so franticly and conversations can have up to three threads which is so hard to follow! I know if must be frustrating to only think about one thing at a time but both methods have advantages and disadvantages. For example I’d make a good monk and you’d be good at the general running of the earth 🙂

  2. Jude Butcher says:

    your observation on the 5/11/12 about people trying to move out of one another’s way is very true. It’s surprising how often it happens and how different it is if you introduce a vehicle of any kind. The same situation in a car leads many to anger and even people with shopping trollies in the supermarket become angry and may even crash into each other on purpose in protest. I wonder what it is about the introduction of a vehicle that changes the situation from a dance and unspoken tension to a confrontational and sometimes violent encounter?

  3. ArtisNow says:

    I will make time to respond in more detail at a later date. Suffice it to say, I love this.

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