Respect

Now that this place is officially closed, I thought it was about time to give it back some life. Recently I have been watching a lot of different documentaries and short films about how we live and what the human being has become. I find it extremely shocking and this is why I thought it might be an idea to return to our original or initial goal here at the BLS – to find great ideas, think about the world and maybe just make a little difference at some point.

So having said that, today I would like to write about respect.
For me, it is always been an important matter to respect others. And I generally also expect everybody else to respect me. The definition of respect by modern world’s Holy Grail Wikipedia outlines very nicely what respect is. So it says that “respect is a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion) and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. (…) Specific ethics of respect are of fundamental importance to various cultures.” Professor Jonathan Haidt from the New York University Stern School of Business identified respect for tradition (…) “as one of five fundamental moral values shared to a greater or lesser degree by different societies and individuals.” Respect can be given and also received.
The article continues to outline signs of respect. Cutting this long story short, respect shows itself in language as well as in physical gestures. Generally respectful behavior usually is shown by more subtle gestures and voice as well. I have not yet come across any situation when people were respectfully shouting at each other or fighting with each other on the street. (although apparently there is a lot of respect in martial arts)

Now, why this longwinded introduction?
I have recently watched a film that came out in 2009 already and I am sure some of you have watched it, too: Food Inc. It is a very realistic look at how our food, and more specific, our meat is produced nowadays. For us, it is normal to just go to the supermarket and buy a piece of meat. All that matters (for the majority) is, how cheap it is. Nobody asks the question where does this piece of meat come from? And what life did the animal live before it was slaughtered? We are not interested. We don’t care. The reality is that our meat is a mass-product. Of course “Food Inc.” shows how animals are kept in the US, and I am sure that we have not yet reached the same scale of factory farming, but we are on a good way. Animals are treated with no respect at all. It is important to earn as much money as we can with the meat. We feed cows corn, something they would not eat if they had a choice. We keep them in tight spaces with no real natural environment. The animals are literally standing in their own excrements – ankle-deep. If one animal is sick, every other animal will also become sick.
Chicken… another horror story. Nowadays they are fattened and grown so fast, it is absolutely insane. The food industry has “re-designed” the chicken, so that they grow bigger and we get to eat bigger chicken breasts. These poor animals become so big in such a short time, they cannot even stand on their own feed. Not all of them witness the day they get caught to be carried away to the slaughter house. They “live” crammed together in a long tunnel-like shed without any daylight. All of them are injured in one way or another and they get fed with food that contains antibiotics to at least keep them alive. In the slaughterhouse, not all is over as quickly as we think. Just recently there have been reports that not all animals are sedated when the machine throws them in boiling water…
Pigs – just another sad story of how cruel we have become. These animals are often kept in way too small cages where they cannot move. Just recently a team of investigative journalists managed to film in a shed here in Europe. The sow is locked in its cage, bearing. But it cannot even move to protect her newborns and they are trampled to death by the other – also locked in – animals.

This is just a small section of what is happening every minute everywhere in the industrialised world. We have become blind to the fact that we are cruel to life. We show no respect for life. Much the opposite. The poor animals that we have tortured for their whole life get kicked at if they move too slowly on their way to the slaughter house. They get tortured by forklift trucks if they cannot stand on their own feet any more. So where is the respect that we should show these animals? I cannot see it. Of course, the world population is ever growing. And it is obvious that there has been a need to industrialise the food production in a way. But to what cost? I mean, we over-produce chicken massively here in Europe. Germany alone produces way more chicken that it would need. Same goes for all the surrounding countries. In Germany the chicken-farming industry is highly subsidised. So basically by the tax money we pay we are directly helping this industry to grow even further.
I think this is the wrong way. We keep animals because we want their meat. They will not revolt – how could they. But because the human race has evolved to the top of the evolution, we also have a responsibility to respect life in general. We are fighting world wide that humans are granted their rights to have a peaceful life, without harm and terror. But we terrorise and harm animals on a daily basis, and I think this is agains what we say to believe. There are ways to “produce” good food but in harmony with nature. We have to stop the stupid and unnecessary subsidy of an already over-growing industry and return to a realistic production again.

If you want to learn more, watch Food Inc., or have a look at their website here.
Another really impressive but also sad story is told in “More than honey”. There it seems nature has already found a way to defend itself. Maybe there is hope. But I am not so sure if there is hope for the human race once nature starts to fight back…

I can do anything

I can do anything. I can accomplish the seemingly impossible. I can solve any problem, procure any piece of equipment, provide any solution to any possible issue, problem or challenge you might put me up against. And not because I can do everything. But because you can. I try to be among the best at what I do – but if I succeed in beeing the best, it’s only because I surround myself with the best.

We can do anything.

tHanks.

Posted in hp

The people we are vs the people we will be

Well why not?

This is a subject I’ve avoided for a while, out of fear of not finding the things I wanted under the surface or out of sheer indifference to the subject, for sometimes it is better to live life rather than reflect on it. If forwards is where we are walking then why look back?

Well… it’s been a difficult week over on the island, the group of friends I was in in school, we are still technically a group of friends but are scattered around the UK and don’t ever really see each other all together, the only times I have seen all of them in one place for the past 7 years has been at funerals, at my mothers, and this week, two of them lost a parent. It is good to see good friends, but never good under those circumstances, and they have both looked to me now to help them through this time…

How do you help a friend weather the storm which they’ll rain down on themselves?… who knows…

To answer a different question, we look back to calculate trajectory, if the person I am is a result of the places I’ve been then the person I will be is a result of the sum of both of those things.

I realised some things when looking back… and that is that I’m not entirely satisfied with the person I’m going to be, so I thought fuck it, let’s change it, and it’s easier than you think.

Put an obstacle in your way and it’ll throw you off course, I was in a direction that was good and upwards for my career, finally directing, finally full time, finally paid for it! no more lifting steel deck for me (woohoo!). That is all good, and what I wanted but the person I would become by chasing it so hotly is simply not the kind of person I would want to have a conversation with let alone inflict on anyone else.

So I booked myself a flight, to a faraway place, several days after my last show (and looking like it’s my best show yet) of this incredible year closes. This gives me no time to squeeze in any extra work, no opportunity to do anything but spend my days now directing and packing, getting all the right injections (and some of the wrong ones apparently), try out the right shoes, the right bags, the right compasses etc, but most importantly it gives me the ability to say no.

To say no when I was offered to direct a musical, to say no when asked to go and assist at the RSC, to say no when asked to develop a new play. The ability to say no is important,  and I needed to put an obstacle in my own way, else I wouldn’t have had the strength to be the obstacle myself.

Like a river all of a sudden blocked on a bend, and bursting it’s banks and spilling over plans, flooding, and draining away I have created purposeful chaos in my own life, and very much intend to embrace every unexpected turn that it takes me.

 

EmbracIng the Chaos

#oslove

I will tell your story if you die. I will tell your story and keep you alive.

Some die old. Some die young. Some die for their beliefs. Some die for their country. All death is meaningless.
Thus it becomes our job, as survivors, to give meaning to death. To look for a purpose or a consequence to this endless void.

One year ago we decided to love each other again, to remember what we built our society on and that we are together in this world. One year ago.
One week ago, I saw poeple wanting to kick foreigners out of our country on the gneral basis that “their kind” are nothing but thiefs and beggars. One week ago, I saw mothers and fathers yelling at each other, one word stronger than the other. One week ago I saw 15 common people suddenly fill their whole with hate. One week ago.
One day ago, I saw the same people remember one year ago.

I hope that tomorrow, they still do.

We survived. We have to tell their stories. We have to give meaning to the pointless. We have to remember what they believed in, and to keep struggling for that belief that we are all here in this world together. If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we can show.

We survived. We have to remember and find meaning.
Some die yoUng. Some die old.

Just a funny thought.

So I found myself in this hall of old, with standards and flags lining the walls, surrounded by soldiers, guards, marines and warriors of the finest standard. But if war was ever to find our shore, it’s the people at my table I’d take with me.

United we Stand

the ghost in the machine

As we wander through the abyss that is history, we all leave our mark. We all leave something behind on our journey to somewhere else. Be it a thought, a story, an object or just a whisper, we all influence history in one way or the other.

Once, there was a miner working in coalmine somwhere in the world. His work was hard and his life had little joys besides his family. From 6 til 8, every day, every week, for years, he worked in the mines. Breaking coal from stone from coal. His fingers gripping tools made by man, carving lumps of black rock that would someday fuel someones adventure or dream. As drops of sweat fell to the floor, as his coughing could be heard in the neigbouring tunnels, his very soul stayd behind in the cave. He left, he quit his job and never returned, but his soul, or at least a very tiny fraction of it, was always there. Somewhere in his heart, he was always there. As he left this world all that remained of him was lost to us, his face, his name and his thoughts forever lost in the void of the universe. But the tiny fraction of his soul that stayed behind in the mine, it lingers on, a spirit left behind in the created constructions of man. A ghost in the machine.

The factory worker working on the model T-Ford in 1908, his name and face is forgotten by all but a few remaining relatives, but his spirit and soul, wether he wish it or not, is forever imprinted on the work that he did on the black automobile. If he polished the headlights or was responsible for tuning the gearbox doesn’t really matter, something of him was stored in that machine for all eternity. For as the machine dies, the impact it left on history, and thus our factory worker, lingers on.

The SkunkWorks engineer working on the SR-71 Blackbird, his pencil drawings dictating where the wings should bend, and exactly at what angle the tail rudder should be placed. He is remembered more for his work than the factory worker, but still, his most important mark on history is the spirit he left behind in the great blackbird. And as long as the machine is remembered, the ghosts of those who built it will remain in our cognitive memory and intelligence.

Computer programmers in the number of hundreds worked on the system on which this text was written. Alon the way, the implanted bits of themselves into the system, unknowing, unwilling or deliberate, some minute parts of their creative intelligence lingers on in thousands of systems around the world. Tiny strings of code, random or by purpose, they form unwanted behaviour, they create new or just sit there idle, they are perhaps machine in essence, but created by soul, they will always remain ghosts of their creators.

As we cross ways with inventions, creations and impossibilities throughout our journey, we leave behind something of ourselves at every waypoint. Every time our energy is focused to creation, every time we pour our creativity into something, we leave something else behind. Unnoticable, minute pieces of our will, tiny fractions of our soul, whispers of our ideas, they stay behind and inhabit our creations. Giving them life and sometimes soul themselves. Thus, we are all creators of ghosts. Thus, all creations are ghosts.

a gHost in the machine?

Recommendation

Yesterday we went to the cinema and watched a french film: Intouchables. All I want to say is that I think this film is a real pearl: Funny, sad and at times critical about the social problems we all face in the larger cities around the world and in Europe. This film made me laugh and it touched my heart. If you get a chance you should really go and see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYPb7T7LC7o

(I know the trailer is in French, but it is the original trailer and it is great)