Friday, 8 November 2013

Lie to me

The dust has settled and relative peace has returned to the household again, though I feel that there are a few questions that have been left unresolved by the whole affair in itself. When something negative happens and feelings are put on show, it can be supposed that afterwards a certain amount of reflection is warranted, though I don't think that 'navel gazing' is precisely a positive thing; though we are the internet generation, which is more or less a few billion people doing precisely that. Forgive me then, a little examination of some leftover feelings from last week.

The quote attributed to either Plato, or Plato on behalf of Socrates about the failure of the younger generations is an oft used motto to defend how each generation sees the next. Though, the quote would appear to be from Kenneth John Freeman, the sentiment remains the same. Each generation goes forth with the echoes of their parents' uproar as to how little they seem to think about their futures, or even those of the people dear to them. Society, and indeed the planet, snowballs on towards whatever end we are going to have.

A part of growing up is realising that the same horror that was bestowed upon your own generation's mis-behavings is quickly becoming your own at all that you can see happening around you. It is surprising in the world that we live in, where the speed in which information is passed can be measured in nanoseconds and the ominous presence of that monster named progress seem to have made us even more averse to any change at all in our little bubble worlds. It could be argued that, as everything becomes so global, we are resorting to labels, flags and little slivers of island in order to protect what little identity we feel that we have left. Humans love boxes, labels and order.

People can't cope with anyone leaving a pre-destined box and jumping to another. Our heroes have to be pure, our leaders have to be clean, anyone brave enough to step on a pedestal has to be both morally and ethically perfect; which sadly is rarely the case. Humanity is far less than perfect, and most of the people in the public eye also. We should never forget that human beings are made up of a thousand different choices and experiences and not prefabricated Ikea flat packs, but people do.

 My box doesn't fit me, although I have spoken about it at more length here, it does still seem to be pertinent. To be frank, Halloween, the Easter bunny, Santa Claus etc. are all a part of my culture, though as I get older they are becoming something to live through my children. It is difficult to believe in this modern society that we live in, that anyone could associate these things with a threat to national identity; but people do. I suppose that with time they have just become long forgotten traditions that no one really thinks about, their original meanings lost in centuries of people doing the same things over and over.

The children expect to have a Halloween party with their English teacher because that's what they do when it's Halloween. I accept that it isn't a Spanish tradition, but it doesn't really feel like an English one either. I have lived in various places throughout the UK and in France as well, and I don't think anyone really identified with any of the festivities in any of them. Christmas stopped having anything to do with religion a long time ago, as the whole thing has become a consumerist excuse to buy presents for each other, the same goes for Halloween and Easter. That isn't to say that they are bad because of it or that people shouldn't do them, just that they have nothing to do with any of their original significance. It's difficult to think these days that anyone actually believes that the dead come back to life to take you back to their land. Even the most devout Zombie aficionado would have problems with thinking that it might actually happen. None of us think carefully about poor Saint Nicholas trying to make life better for the small ones around him, we just fixate on buying presents out of tradition more than any sense of humanistic well being for others. The Easter bunny merits an entire entry for himself as the poor thing has been misunderstood for many years; I think that the point has been more than made clear enough.

This feeling of loss of culture is fascinating. The better our world becomes, the more advantages we have, the better we live, the longer we live, the more we spend all our energy missing the time when we were all little spaces with kingdoms, castles and battles. Any invasion on what is considered our little corner seems to go straight to the heart.

I leave this essay with the feeling that nothing has been resolved and no questions have been answered, though perhaps some of the readers could have a clearer idea of what is happening and what has happened, in which case do feel free to add your tuppence ha'penny's worth. Until the next pre-programmed expectation once again crawls back to the fore, I shall leave you with these thoughts.

Ben xx


Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Wishing Well

Having written the title, the song by 'Free' is now running around my head adding background music to yet another missive from deepest, darkest Castilla.

The wishing well in this case is a sort of play on words for small town Spain. People automatically wish you well whenever they pass you by. Even the most dour of residents here will happily wish a 'good morning' when passing; though this is something that is being reserved more and more for the older generation.

The case behind this blog entry is precisely one of those occasions of having been wished the best by a neighbour and then their semi-innocent enquiry as to why I was buying flowers at the local supermarket. The tone was fairly neutral, and despite the fact that it is common around this area to leave flowers on the graves of the dearly departed on the first of November, there were a few too many hints as to the nose for gossip to make it a comfortable conversation; that was the beginning.

The second verse to the song was to do with Halloween and its increasing popularity around here - though there is certainly a large portion of the Castillian population who don't trust it and associate anything to do with it as Devil worship. Upon arriving at one of the local schools dressed ready for a Halloween party with the kids, more than the odd question was raised about my religion, reason for having dressed as I had, insinuations as to my being a practitioner of the dark arts etc.

All of which led me to start having a serious think about my attitude towards the things that I share or have shared with the general public, or even local friends. Recent years have seen the business that I run going from strength to strength, an amalgamation with a close friend, to the point where we now have a large base of students throughout the locality. Certain things that exist on the net involve me, some voluntarily, some not quite so, and I now find myself under a local microscope. So far I have been quite reclusive and only 'exotic' when it has been required of me. Though I have had more than the odd experience where I have been badly burned by local opinion. After the two incidents in the supermarket and in the school, I started to think seriously about many of the things can, or could be found out about me on line. This has meant the deletion of Facebook and all pertaining to it. Tuenti is going to be the next to go, and even Myspace may be close behind it. Google plus I have left open as there I have a lot more control over what is or isn't shown of me, and I would like to have some form of contact with those of you who are further away that two roads along.

Thus if I have gone missing, it really isn't anything personal, it isn't anything that I'm holding against any of you, it's just survival kicking in and trying very hard to be allowed to continue without public scrutiny over every action or comment made on line.

Take care all of you, and kisses to all

B xx