Died a little

Jordan Peterson’s second rule for life reminds me a little bit of Immanuel Kant’s theory of the goodwill, except that Peterson expresses it with more compassion and takes it from a different perspective. Kant’s moral theory teaches us that there is nothing good within humanity except for the goodwill. Generally, there is no good or bad in this world – the world is merely natural. There is only the survival instinct. We are the only species that try to define good and bad by acting it. The only way to show good, according to Kant, is to treat others how we wish to be treated. Though in Peterson’s eyes, we should treat ourselves like people for whom we’re responsible. I see a strong connection between these two statements. They actually made me realise that I’ve been doing my best to live my life according to Peterson’s principles the most. And to be honest, you have to prioritise yourself in a way that you take care of your physical and mental health.  By doing that, you’re responsible for your well-being, and as long as you are content with yourself, you may start treating others the way you wish to be treated. I don’t know how to call this, if not a Buddhist principle. You can’t refer any of this to Christianity or other, because religion has triggered conflicts and wars. (Note: I don’t view Buddhism as religion.) But this is not what I want to discuss. I want to talk about selfishness. I don’t know about others, but I am very prone to a guilty conscience, mostly in situations where I shouldn’t feel guilty. I know what is right for me and I apply that to my life as much as I can. Knowing myself well, I only take so much responsibility that I can handle, and I am honest about it. If I don’t have a full grip on existing obligations, I won’t just mindlessly add another responsibility to my life. But this situation becomes debatable if a component of the evident responsibility requires an addition. Anyway, is it fair if you accuse me of being selfish? I currently don’t feel like I have a good grip over my life, and I think I need help and time to fix it. The motivation that I have is nowhere close to a year ago when it was all about self-publishing my book and make meaning of the ten years that I’d spent on it. Although very proud of the accomplishment I don’t agree that I’ve done enough. In other words,...

Five

It’s supposed to be a warm spring day, but I don’t feel it yet on the side of my office. There is also not much for me to do since my boss is taking forever to give me feedback on the Expression of Interest that I’ve been working on to help the company apply for funding. There is only so much that I can do. I’ve also been trying to help the new accountant who has trouble tracking the previous accountant’s footsteps, because, while working here, she didn’t set up a good system for anyone new to jump straight in. She was Chinese. I guess Chinese people just like things complicated or have things structured and organized their way. I’ve witnessed that many times before. Anyway, I am not at all knowledgeable enough to help out with accounting. I was just googling the map of China, because I wanted to see where exactly my dad was born. Hong-Chow showed me the very east of China, south of Shanghai. My mum is full-on Hong Kongese, my dad migrated there when he was younger, but I’d like to say that both my parents are from Hong Kong. I think I feel some sort of a pride along with them. People from Hong Kong don’t usually like to be compared to people from mainland China. It’s like Hong Kong gives them privilege, because of the British colony. It’s the same with Cantonese, which, I personally find sounds much better than Mandarin. The origin of Cantonese is not 100% known. Apparently, there are not enough historical records, except that it leads back to the Tang Dynasty. People like to call it a dialect, but it’s, in fact, a language. If it was a dialect (which literally means: ‘words used’), then I would understand Mandarin perfectly, but I don’t, except that every now and then I spot a word that sounds the same. But the tone and structure are different. I remember when my mum sent me to a Chinese School in Hamburg to learn Mandarin along with writing Chinese. During that time, she befriended a lady (whose kids I also made friends with) who advised her to find me hobbies, or leisure activities outside school, saying that it would be good for me to socialize and discover things that I might like. In hindsight, I do appreciate it, but I wasn’t made for Chinese school, piano lessons, or tennis, therefore, I didn’t last six months at either activity. These activities helped me a little bit on the socializing front, but I was no...

The fear of the ageing mind

Springtime has always been kind of daunting, but I am starting to understand what Hemingway used to see in it. You should always look forward to a new beginning and leave the past behind you. Having said that, I must admit that today I’m doing the complete opposite. I’m consumed by nostalgia in a very soothing and pleasant way. I remember feeling productive and at peace in London, probably because there were no commitments to make me feel guilty and never did I realise that I was, in fact, a very selfish person. Other people reflect you – that is true, but the people engagement used to always be for a short amount of time. I was never able to handle more than a little. I am now though and I’m not happy with the self-discovery that I’ve made. Do people still choose what they think they deserve? What do you think you really deserve? One scary thing about growing mentally and emotionally is that, at first, it doesn’t feel like you’ve grown in any way, but your new perception indicates all the learning for you. But with each new perception I feel like a part of me has died sometimes, as though I’ve lost touch with my imagination. It only comes back gradually when I write to the music that gives me enough warmth to be present. With autumn being my favourite I’ve always had the chance to simply dwell and reflect during it and I get ideas for writing. Things are coming to an end, and yet they need time for digestion. Another reason why I love it is that people start to get sick and stay inside, and I’m the only one out, or at least it seems so. Spring is more about spring cleaning and getting ready to launch. It’s a reminder to get started. Like the new book I’m supposed to be...

…because friends can’t review you

Writing became an important part of my life when I turned ten and started keeping a journal. It didn’t take long until fiction dominated my life, and I would spend a great number of my teenage years hiding in the bedroom, writing. There have been many attempted novels until after my bachelor degree. One of my short shorties made my tutor laugh so hard, he told me to develop it. My stories never really struck me as humorous, and it took me a while to see the black humour that made people laugh. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve read too much Bret Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski, but somehow that short story became a chapter in my novel. You may call it dark – up till now none of my close friends have been able to give me a clear opinion on the themes and underlying meanings of the book. It’s like they’re too scared to talk to me about it, and yet it would mean a lot to me. I left it too late, but I’m seeking for professional critics/reviewers to review my book. I understand that this is how it’s supposed to be, as nothing can be any more objective than this. However, the thought of being misunderstood and torn to shreds is kind of daunting. But doesn’t this happen to every single writer? Better be torn to shreds than not get noticed at...

It was never meant for us

Humans have the tendency to associate their five senses with memories. You hear a song and think of a place and time. You smell a particular scent and think of a person or a feeling. Every day we think of something from the past, because ultimately that is who we are. With that influence we try to resuscitate that memory and transform it into something new. There is this need to relive the past, not necessarily to make it better, but to feel at home and understood again. It could be a comfort zone or something. This is what it is when people talk about being born into the wrong era – a time and place where they don’t fit in and cannot adjust to contemporary customs, i.e. social media. Growing old is another possible explanation to all this. I am completely aware of what reality is. It’s something that doesn’t go away, even when you stop believing in it (P.K.D.). And it’s the awareness of it in the back of your head that will always leave a bad taste in your mouth. People no longer understand each other. They don’t listen, or there is a language barrier, or they hear what they want to hear. Blinded by capitalism and politics, misunderstood within the world of immigration and multiculturalism. It’s endless. The truth is we’re no longer trying to understand anything, because people don’t get on. How is this going to end well? These five senses that we have are enough to make us living creatures. What ultimately makes us human is our conscience – some form of cognitive voice teaching us what is right and wrong. That voice has been teaching us for centuries that life is more than just survival, but what we learn is all the same. Only our personal perception of things defines our personality and makes us different from one another. And that’s why humans don’t get on. And we’re not just territorial like the moose; we want power above all. More and more of it. Sometimes I just can’t help but think that we’re just an experiment. And I don’t know how we can still prove ourselves worthy. I have a childhood memory of writing in my old bedroom. I remember taming my conscience with pure creativity of the...

Five Questions picked for Paula

Why are your favourite male authors accused of chauvinism? – I don’t know why. But then again, I don’t see or analyse stories with an eye like that. Over fifteen years ago, when I first discovered these authors, I was a very angry person – with no ways of channelling negative emotions, except for listening to heavy music and reading books that described characters being chopped up, hearts being violently broken, etc. I was basically reading about arseholes just to try understanding them. Yes, the victims were women for the most part, but I viewed them as people. We are all victims in one way or another, even if you choose not to be. I’m not a feminist that analyses fiction with a gender approach, not like that. It gets too one-dimensional. Why are my top favourite authors men? I named a few on my website because I love their technique of storytelling. One aided my anger management by imagining my former ex being tortured for the pain he inflicted on people. The other writer had a semi-autobiographical style, which had a huge impact on the way I write today. You create a fictional character, dump your thoughts and feelings on them and see how they handle them. And voila, they handle it better than you – learn from them – they happen to be your alter ego. Your alter ego is often the better half of your mind or your dark side that nobody knows of. Anyway, that way you’re not hurting people for real, but you’re tackling your problems – on your own. You’re bringing across a new form of honesty that a lot of people cannot handle sometimes. This is how storytelling should be, especially for those who are unable to express their feelings in a way that people get it. Sometimes you have to feed a little bit off the dark to be able to understand yourself and the world around you. It doesn’t mean I agree with everything they say or write. It’s not like you’re going over the top like Cioran. It’s just that if you don’t go to your own personal dark place, you won’t ever understand happiness, and you won’t ever find peace. And yes, you can use this as a motivation to write. Why the hell not? Know your limit is all I can say. Oscar Wilde is the only one that knows the beauty of words and the power and passion that comes from them. Every choice of word that he uses has a purpose and the ability to...