This isn’t about marriage, this is about compassion

This wasn’t about the starving orphaned children of some third world country, global conflict, the environment or your particular religious beliefs. This had nothing to do with distractions and real issues. This vote was about kindness, compassion, understanding and acceptance, and as far as I am concerned that is the only real issue; rather, the core of all other issues.

 

There is no greater concern on the face of this earth then the peace and serenity of the hearts of human beings. For the heart of the human is the very centre of the universe, and the love, and peacefulness and acceptance that it feels determines the creation that it offers the world. This vote was as much a vote to legalise people’s love for one another in a relationship, as it was about our collective love for each other, for humanity.

 

What we were voting on was whether we are a nation of open-hearted, accepting and understanding human beings, or whether we are a bunch of fearful and prejudiced bigots who have only smokescreen arguments to offer… Thankfully the open hearts won.

 

This vote had nothing to do with any particular religion, because last time I checked we live in a secular society, and religious laws should have no say in anything other than how you choose to conduct your personal life. So shut up and put your holy book down, nobody is asking anyone to change their religious laws, we are speaking of the laws of Australia, not any particular system of faith.

 

And it wasn’t just the right to marry that was important here, but also, and more importantly the vote for acceptance. Let’s face it, marriage isn’t that big of a deal. About 25% of them are great, 25% are just ok, and 50% of them are dead-set shite and end up in divorce anyway. I don’t think the right to marry was the greater concern here, rather the issue of acceptance, acknowledgement and understanding. To know that your nation stands with you even if a few bigots don’t get you.

 

The real concern is that the queer identifying teenager who is terrified of school, can walk around with a little less fear in their heart and feel a touch more acceptance and love, from millions of people they have never met before. And even though the schoolyard bullies will not disappear overnight, at least that queer kid will know in their heart that the overwhelming majority of the country is with them, loves them, and accepts them exactly as they are. So our LGBTQI community can always remember that even though their families might not get it, the rest of us are there to support them.

 

Sure there are some legal concerns, and being in a legally recognised partnership is important in many life situations, and it makes heartwrenching hospital visits less painful… But what is even more important than the right to enter a legally recognised relationship, which is a basic right we should never have had to vote on anyway, is the fact that we are removing prejudice from our society, and though it still exists, and though legalising interracial marriage did not end racism, it sure as shit was a big step towards it right?

 

Voting Yes was just each one of us telling the nation that we are a kind and compassionate person. And any heteros who voted No, on an issue that has zero effect on their lives, should go up to the mirror, look at the person staring back and ask themselves ‘Why?’

 

Why would you ever do such a thing? Is your ideology somehow more important than the calm and peace that will come to the hearts of those who had been relegated to the fringes of your crumbling society? Is your opinion more valuable than the suicidality of a member of the LGBTQI community who is struggling to express their true identity to their family or community? Is it really that important to you that marriage remains between a man and a woman? Really… That’s a big deal to you?

 

Yes, it was a farce in many regards, and it should have been digital, or just decided by progressive leadership, and you might think that ending mining or global conflict is somehow more important, sure… but what did you do in the last 6 months to end global conflict, famine, mining or the signing of the TPP?
The fact is the removal of anxious tensions, the clearing of fears, the easing and calming of hearts, the opening of our own hearts, the acceptance of all forms of difference and diversity, is actually the most important issue that we have ever had to deal with. like ever! Since we lived in caves. All of the horrors that we have perpetrated against each other and against the earth have all stemmed from the carrying and enacting of fears, from prejudice expressed, and from discomfort within our hearts.

When we begin to put our fears aside and remove our prejudices, when our hearts are at peace and full to the brim with love, then and only then will our excessive and cruel diets, our arguments over meaningless shit, and our consumerism finally slow down, and our insatiable appetite for newer, bigger, shinner shit will finally be satiated with the deep reverberation that comes with expressing unconditioned love…

 

And voting Yes was a step closer towards that. And for that, I congratulate you Australia… Now can we please see to the needs of the 600 men left stranded on Manus? Get activists mobilised to end the needless slaughter of animals, and ffs can we end the Australian apartheid and bring Indigenous Australian leadership into our systems of governance?

 

Erfan Daliri

 

 

 

 

Nothing else matters

“…Let us commit, let us lean into life, and not relent…”

 

I’ve had enough time on this earth to know that there is nothing left here that can attract or distract me away from my true purpose. From our true purpose. There is nothing left here for me but to be a part of the evolution of human civilisation; the awakening of the soul and the very practical task of doing everything we can to create a peaceful, sustainable and equitable society. That’s it. That’s all there is left to do, and everything else is a distraction.

It’s not easy, I know. My friends and comrades know this well. It is not easy to be at all times considering and discussing themes of social change, justice, equity, equality, economics, animal rights, privilege, entitlement, rape culture, environmental degradation and domestic violence and suicide; without break, without rest, without drugs or alcohol to take off the edge, it’s not easy to not flinch, and instead to stare into the abyss, without backing away, and witness what is happening around us whilst remaining calm, clear-headed and focused.

But, it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in every single moment whilst not being a part of the solution. That refusal to engage is also difficult to live with. Shopping centres and dinner parties, careers, cars, homes, mortgages, drugs, alcohol, relationships created to fill a void that we should be filling ourselves, discussing politics and policy over wine and cheese platters while half of the world struggles to feed their family… That too is its own hell.

 

“…it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in and to not being a part of the solution…”

 

So in a way, everyone is free to decide which type of discomfort best suits them. The discomfort of uncertainty, of flux, and the personal exertion to change and evolve, or the discomfort of conforming to the familiar and known confines of an unjust prison.

And the fact is, most of us are actually fluctuating between the two worlds. One of abandon, full trust and commitment to social change, and the other of conformity and holding on to old behaviours, systems and ways of being. But the time has come for us to be brave and commit to the task at hand with full conviction and unwavering certainty. We are all already doing it, we just need do it a little more convincingly.

Our time will soon pass, and the chance to change the course of history will be gone. Create the future you want now my friends, instead of wishing that the present was not so painful to witness. What we are witnessing now, is the accumulative result of each generation before us, and the deviation or dent that we put into the trajectory that we were born into will be witnessed and noted, generations from now. Our efforts now will reverberate throughout all of time. Or not… depending on what we do with our time.

So make your dent, let us make our impression on this story, as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction against that which you do not believe in, do not resign to go unnoticed in the arch of human civilisation.

We all know within our core, which side of history we want to be on. And we know it will not be easy. Of course, it’s not easy. It is uncomfortable, it is painful, it is heartbreaking, mind-bending, and soul-shaping. It is not easy my friends. We experience panic, we experience anxiety, we experience loss and hopelessness at times, we hold each other up when one of us is finding it difficult to stand upright. It is testing and it is unrelenting. But nothing can compare to that feeling deep within our core that just smiles at us and says ‘Yes… this is the way home”

 

“…as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction count…”

 

I know it is not easy, and I know it takes fortitude and courage, and I know we need to heal our own broken hearts, to break off the arrows in our backs to roar into the face of the onslaught, I know we need emotional core strength and I know we need leaders to lead the way, I know we need community and compassion, I know we need to trust, to have love, to hold each other accountable but also sometimes we just need to hold each other up.

I’ve been running resilience training seminars and speaking on emotional core strength for some time now, and I am now letting the world know that though people are free to donate if they wish, I actually don’t care to charge anymore. I’ve decided that things such as income,  rent, and savings will no longer slow me down, or be a concern of mine.

The task at hand is clear, we need revolutionary people in order to have the revolution we want. We need brave and courageous souls to be unfazed, unflinching and resolved. We need to show kindness in the face of harsh words, and we must respond to hatred with uncompromising compassion. We need to be able to look at what is happening in the world and to not be triggered. That is the only way we will find solutions. And if I can help people do that, then that is what I will do.

We need resilience and core strength, to be able to witness the horrors around us and still maintain our calm, think clearly, and act with clarity, love and courage. When we are unafraid we are kind, when we are not in pain we are compassionate and considerate, if we can maintain our calm and composure then we will always make the decision that is just, fair, and noble.

It is for this reason that this work is important to me. Because I know at our core, we are good, we are kind and we are noble. I know our inherent nature is infinitely patient, forgiving, loving and supremely intelligent.

And that is why I am letting the world know that my resilience training sessions are now free and uncharged, I don’t want finances to be a concern for anybody. The next one is in Melbourne on Sunday 26th November, and the one after that is in Sydney on Sunday 10th of December.

The fact of the matter is the ones doing the most important work don’t often have $50 spare to book a ticket to a seminar. I know, because I’ve had days when I couldn’t afford to buy a coffee. So I will make sure every Unfazed seminar I do is always available for free to whoever wants to attend.

 

_erfan daliri

“The Earth does not need us to save her, it is our souls and the content of our hearts that need to be addressed.”

– Erfan Daliri –

 

 

 

 

Enough…

“…We must commit, lean into life, and not relent…”

 

I’ve had enough time on this earth to know that there is nothing left here that can attract or distract me away from my true purpose. From our true purpose. There is nothing left here for me but to be a part of the evolution of human civilisation; the awakening of the soul and the very practical task of doing everything we can to create a peaceful, sustainable and equitable society. That’s it. That’s all there is left to do, and everything else is a distraction.

It’s not easy, I know. My friends and comrades know this well. It is not easy to be at all times considering and discussing themes of social change, justice, equity, equality, economics, animal rights, privilege, entitlement, rape culture, environmental degradation and domestic violence and suicide; without break, without rest, without drugs or alcohol to take off the edge, it’s not easy to not flinch, and instead to stare into the abyss, without backing away, and witness what is happening around us whilst remaining calm, clear-headed and focused.

But, it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in every single moment whilst not being a part of the solution. That refusal to engage is also difficult to live with. Shopping centres and dinner parties, careers, cars, homes, mortgages, drugs, alcohol, relationships created to fill a void that we should be filling ourselves, discussing politics and policy over wine and cheese platters while half of the world struggles to feed their family… That too is its own hell.

 

“…it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in and to not being a part of the solution…”

 

So in a way, everyone is free to decide which type of discomfort best suits them. The discomfort of uncertainty, of flux, and the personal exertion to change and evolve, or the discomfort of conforming to the familiar and known confines of an unjust prison.

And the fact is, most of us are actually fluctuating between the two worlds. One of abandon, full trust and commitment to social change, and the other of conformity and holding on to old behaviours, systems and ways of being. But the time has come for us to be brave and commit to the task at hand with full conviction and unwavering certainty. We are all already doing it, we just need do it a little more convincingly.

Our time will soon pass, and the chance to change the course of history will be gone. Create the future you want now my friends, instead of wishing that the present was not so painful to witness. What we are witnessing now, is the accumulative result of each generation before us, and the deviation or dent that we put into the trajectory that we were born into will be witnessed and noted, generations from now. Our efforts now will reverberate throughout all of time. Or not… depending on what we do with our time.

So make your dent, let us make our impression on this story, as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction against that which you do not believe in, do not resign to go unnoticed in the arch of human civilisation.

We all know within our core, which side of history we want to be on. And we know it will not be easy. Of course, it’s not easy. It is uncomfortable, it is painful, it is heartbreaking, mind-bending, and soul-shaping. It is not easy my friends. We experience panic, we experience anxiety, we experience loss and hopelessness at times, we hold each other up when one of us is finding it difficult to stand upright. It is testing and it is unrelenting. But nothing can compare to that feeling deep within our core that just smiles at us and says ‘Yes… this is the way home”

 

“…as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction count…”

 

I know it is not easy, and I know it takes fortitude and courage, and I know we need to heal our own broken hearts, to break off the arrows in our backs to roar into the face of the onslaught, I know we need emotional core strength and I know we need leaders to lead the way, I know we need community and compassion, I know we need to trust, to have love, to hold each other accountable but also sometimes we just need to hold each other up.

I’ve been running resilience training seminars and speaking on emotional core strength for some time now, and I am now letting the world know that though people are free to donate if they wish, I actually don’t care to charge anymore. I’ve decided that things such as income,  rent, and savings will no longer slow me down, or be a concern of mine.

The task at hand is clear, we need revolutionary people in order to have the revolution we want. We need brave and courageous souls to be unfazed, unflinching and resolved. We need to show kindness in the face of harsh words, and we must respond to hatred with uncompromising compassion. We need to be able to look at what is happening in the world and to not be triggered. That is the only way we will find solutions. And if I can help people do that, then that is what I will do.

We need resilience and core strength, to be able to witness the horrors around us and still maintain our calm, think clearly, and act with clarity, love and courage. When we are unafraid we are kind, when we are not in pain we are compassionate and considerate, if we can maintain our calm and composure then we will always make the decision that is just, fair, and noble.

It is for this reason that this work is important to me. Because I know at our core, we are good, we are kind and we are noble. I know our inherent nature is infinitely patient, forgiving, loving and supremely intelligent.

And that is why I am letting the world know that my resilience training sessions are now free and uncharged, I don’t want finances to be a concern for anybody. The next one is in Melbourne on Sunday 26th November, and the one after that is in Sydney on Sunday 10th of December.

The fact of the matter is the ones doing the most important work don’t often have $50 spare to book a ticket to a seminar. I know, because I’ve had days when I couldn’t afford to buy a coffee. So I will make sure every Unfazed seminar I do is always available for free to whoever wants to attend.

 

_erfan daliri

“The Earth does not need us to save her, it is our souls and the content of our hearts that need to be addressed.”

– Erfan Daliri –

 

 

 

 

 

We are not angry, we are grieving…

Can we acknowledge that we are in grief? Are we ready to do that yet? Are we brave enough to say yes, we are hurting regardless of what others may think that might mean?

 

Are we ready to say out loud that we are still hurt from childhood memories? The way your father raised his voice or his hands, why your mother had to leave when you were ten, why your brother had to die in a foreign land, or why your cousin raped you on those family weekends.

 

Are we ready to fall to your knees and weep yet? Are we ready to accept the fact that all the hurt that was ever caused, came from the hurt that was caused in a time when you and I had not been born to this earth?

 

Can we see how humanity has passed trauma on from generation to generation, how it has become embedded in our DNA and our cultures, how innocent the victim that then becomes the perpetrator, how insidiously this trauma continues to exist and maintain its reign by means of the ego?

 

How this idea that we have a right to feel hurt has created only further hurt because we never stopped to ask how anyone else was actually doing. And when we did, we never really meant it.

 

Adults never really grew up, if you look at them, you will realise that we just got better at pretending. Working harder and faster and never relenting, planting trees, building orphanages or going out on the weekend and getting bent, we all have reason to hurt, we just pretend we’re ok differently.

 

We thought it was brave to pretend to be stoic when in fact we are actually very much in pain, suffering silently, and as a result becoming bitter and angry?

 

Are we ready to acknowledge the obvious fact that all the pain and suffering that we have inflicted upon each other throughout all of human history, was more than likely initiated by the unjust experiences we were subjected to in our early childhood and teens?

 

Can we see how those fragile hearts, like saplings, grew big and tall but slightly leaning towards behaviours that recreate situations of trauma, so we don’t lose our sense of identity…

 

You might not remember what it felt like to be spoken to sternly by a parent or screamed at, forgive us Father for we have sinned, but if you watch closely the children around you, you will be reminded of how heartbreaking and completely terrifying that might have been.

 

To have had your heart broken for a toy you really wanted but never received, or just the anger that builds up over years of never truly being seen. The hurt that grows each year for never being heard or for having parents who were completely absorbed by their community development work, however altruistic it might have seemed?

 

If you want to know why young boys fight in primary school or on inner city nightclub strips, why they torture animals, or hang themselves with they can’t pay the bills, it’s because they are still hurting, deeply, from things that happened when they were 3.

 

And nobody was there to teach them emotional stability, healthy relationship skills, communication tools or coping mechanisms. So they became disconnected drunks, violent partners, rapists, misogynist politicians, angry environmentalists, suicidal comedians or social change seeking revolutionaries.

 

Truth is, we have all experienced trauma and we all have things we need to be grieving. Childhood memories and experiences, the state of the environment, Palestine, Syria, Indigenous deaths in custody, and black men, women and children being gunned down for no apparent reason.

 

If you want to know why men become obsessed with muscle mass and footy stats, with loud cars and drink too much, it’s because their fathers were raised by fathers who were emotionally repressed and didn’t know how to give a hug, much less how to sit down and have a conversation with their sons and show that they actually care.

 

So that 3-year old soon turned eighteen and before he knew it he was let out onto the streets, told to pick a job, buy a home, settle down, and be a man when he was never even shown what that really means. Experiencing more trauma through his teens, while hiding his grief and trying to study a degree, to be something he never wanted to be.

 

We have an entire civilization of terrified little boys who never learnt what it meant to be still, silent and present with their children, who are running around pretending to be grown men, some of them even trying to save the world. They are in positions of power, they are growing older, they are still giving orders, and still not sure what it means to be a man.

 

They are hurting and grief-stricken and that inner child is weeping inside but boys don’t cry, so they bottle it up and sit quiet, go to jobs they don’t really like, and when it comes knock off time they do shots, visit strip clubs, and then go home and beat their partners to death.

 

We are all grief-stricken… are we ready to admit it yet?

 

It’s nobody’s fault, and somehow we are all responsible. I wasn’t there to save you when you were a child, or even last month when that man tried to rape you. And for that I am regretful. I am sorry for what you have all gone through.

 

I wish I could have stopped it, or that I could go back in time and sat with you on the edge of your bed that night when you were sad and told you, you were already perfect. Before you became a teenager, got into drugs and partying, before you thought heels would make you complete or that dress sizes and lipstick were things of importance.

 

I’m sorry I didn’t have this much clarity 20 years ago, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there for you when you needed me, but I was only in my early teens then, and I too had good reason to be hurting.

 

Instead of a teacher, a role model or someone to tell me it was ok to weep, I had a cousin who introduced me to porn and I became even more alone and life became even more confusing. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, but somehow we are all responsible.

 

I wish we weren’t all so wounded but we are, and it’s ok my loves we need to grieve, we need to weep, we will hold each other up maybe even lean, until we remember what joy feels like, what it felt like the first time you rode a bike, or flew a kite, back before grief took away our freedom.

 

We need to admit to the fact that we’re not really angry with the world or anybody else, we’re just upset at all the things we couldn’t stop from happening, for all the times we cried out for help and nobody heard us. That time my grandmother killed my dad’s birds when he was 13.

 

He still talks about it.

 

I’m sorry it’s taken this long for us to realise that we are all cells of one being, souls of one body, that there is no other, there is no enemy. We are a single form that is suffering from disease and together we might just be able to heal it. But first, we must acknowledge the fact that we have suffered trauma and we need to support each other as we go through this process of grieving.

 

But please I beg of you, know that this is crucial, it is extremely important, that while we undergo this process of shedding and growth, the transformation that comes with acknowledging trauma and weeping, please let us not cause each other any further harm, do not call each other names, or point fingers, do not break hearts or fire weapons, put out your Molotov cocktails, look me in the eyes, tell me you need to cry, and let us be done with it.

 

Let this be the last generation that ever has reason for grieving.

 

And one final request, the one piece of the puzzle that is most necessary for our peace and stability, for our collective evolution…

 

If you have children, I beg you, put aside your trivial pursuits, lay your goals and desires to rest, and forget you even have any purpose but to serve them, for I tell you that is the truth. Give them your attention, your presence, your fullest affections, and let them never doubt, not even for a moment, that anything is more important than their finger paintings, their dreams, or their seemingly silly questions.

 

All we ever needed was parents who were present, listened to our stories with bated breath, cared nothing for the world and all it’s troubles and problems, and cared only to read us stories in bed and make us hot chocolate.

 

That is how we will change the world… peacefully, without conflict, without revolution and bloodshed, genuinely and sustainably. By paying attention to our children and nothing else, knowing it will take time, but so do apple trees, you think you will change the world in a day? We’ve been at it for thousands of years, I tell you it will all be over in one generation.

 

If only we could learn to be present, to be gentle, loving, kind and patient. To give our full attention to whoever it is that is before us, grown man, ageing woman, angsty teen or a newborn child that still speaks the language of angels.

 

 

Erfan Daliri

 

Why I’m releasing my works for free

It has been a long journey and there is still much to go, but the next step for me is to begin untangling my creative expression from an economic structure that I fundamentally disagree with. After much deliberation, contemplation and reflection, I have decided that I will be releasing my existing works as well as my future books and albums as free downloads.
Those would like to support my work can still do so via Bandcamp, Patreon, or they can attend a performance, a talk or a workshop that I facilitate. In any case, all my future works will be readily available free of charge, and soon I will have to consider whether I will print any further physical books.
I am doing this because I want to acknowledge and bring attention to the fact that we exist in a flawed economic construct that is serving an increasingly smaller proportion of society. Because of this understanding, I have decided that I will incrementally disentangle myself from what I do not agree with. I do not wish to add any further momentum to the perpetuation of systems that are based on injustice.
I don’t mean to imply that I necessarily have all the answers, and I’m not criticising anybody else. The fact is, being a performing artist, a writer and a festival director, a large proportion of my colleagues and associates are free-thinking creative artists who are barely scraping together an existence and doing their utmost to disentangle from this system and make a living from their work.
The truth is I am just bringing attention to the fact that we need to give this some attention.
The world we wish to live in is drastically and fundamentally different to the one we currently exist within, therefore it goes without saying, there will be changes that will by uncomfortable and challenges that seem insurmountable, but we will get there. The pieces of the puzzle we each put forward seem illogical and incomprehensible when put into the current context, and it is for this reason that we should remind ourselves that these changes, challenges and solutions only make sense when we place them in the context of a future society. But we have to start somewhere.
And if we intend on ever getting there, we must be prepared to make massive changes in short periods of time. If we cannot accept that something is broken then we will not be able to comprehend any solution whatsoever. Once we acknowledge something is broken, then we must take a closer look at it to understand why.
The way we are conducting ourselves, our behaviours, social norms and the laws that we exist within have all contributed to bringing us to the situation we find ourselves in, and we need to look very closely at ourselves. If we are not willing to question the very fundamentals of what we have built our society on, then we are truly doomed. It is the every day, it is the embedded practices and socials norms or so-called ‘rights’ that have pulled the wool over our eyes. Those things that are so ingrained that they have become invisible to us; they are the practices we must reassess.
Like drinking chocolate milk out of plastic bottles, reading the daily papers, buying our coffee in takeaway cups, grilling sausages on the BBQ and borrowing money from banks and using ATMs. It is the every day and the invisible that we must scrutinise, and our financial construct is one of the things that we must reassess.
Again, I will reiterate that I do not assume I have all the answers, but I will say loud and clear, that we need to slow down, to stop in fact, and look at the damage we have caused ourselves and each other with our frenzied, frenetic and destructive behaviours. No one is to blame and no one escapes culpability. It just is what it is, and I think it needs to be looked at.
Here’s my rationale
Non-participation is one of the key tools in the arsenal of a successful activist and must be enacted if we wish to live and work from a place of integrity. If we continue to support the systems that we fundamentally disagree with, while consistently maintaining that we disagree with them, we become either hypocrites aware of our contradictions or we come across as ill-informed and ineffective human beings without answers or clear pathways of thought. It is the increasing of awareness and complex reason combined with addressing the cognitive dissonance that comes with the newly acquired awareness that will lead us to a more just future.
Whether it is the meat and dairy industries, the cutting down of ancient forests, or the rape and pillage of the earth through mining, we need to understand how it is all connected to us before we protest it, if we wish to become effective agents of change and to live a meaningful life of integrity and honour. If we ignore these things and fail to investigate the interconnectedness of the social issues that we face then, anxiety, depression, cognitive dissonance, confusion and substance abuse will accompany us throughout our lives.  If we fail to change and grow, to evolve and redefine ourselves throughout our lives then we may never truly understand what it meant to be gifted with the human experience.
In agreeing to always release my works free of charge I am expressing that I am not only an advocate and supporter of the open source movement and the opposition to copyright movement, but also that I am willing to stand by the implications of that.  It is an ethical contradiction for me to agree that medical breakthroughs, software and technology that can be used for the betterment of the world, should be open sourced and not owned by a corporation or copyrighted by an individual, and yet still require money for the purchase of my own digital content.
In order to understand this action I am taking, and to grasp why an artist charging for an electronic copy of an album or getting paid royalties for airplay has anything to do with affordable medicine and education, let us take a quick look into at the concept of copyright, patents, and a quick glance at our economic system.
Before we start we must understand that in our current global society, no transaction is beyond the financial ecology that we exist within. The use of ATMs, extending credit card limits, bidding at a home auction in Sydney and the global financial collapses we’ve experienced are all part of one whole. What you are willing to pay for quinoa, and how a cash paid employee in a Melbourne café decides to spend their money is connected to the price of tuna in China. It’s more closely related to the price of quinoa in South America, but they’re all related nevertheless.
Now let us begin with what copyright means, so we can move on to unravelling the implications of it. Copyright is a legal right that gives the creator of a work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. It was introduced into our world by the English parliament in 1662 in response to the invention of the printing press, as a way of protecting the work of writers from exploitation by the owners of the printing presses. You can understand how it could seem like a good idea at the time. The problem stems from the fact that those rights can be bought and sold.
The concept of a patent has existed in some form or another from as early as the 14th century. Its effects were localised and minimal, without global ramifications given the rate and pace of interactions and transactions. Again, there can be seen a glimpse of merit in it.
At a brief glance, if one was not able to grasp the implications of such a thing, the simple statement of ‘incentivising innovation’ would fool the novice. And it did for a few hundred years. The idea that this spurs innovation by giving the glory of financial gains to the innovator or inventor is a false one that has been dangled in front of us much like a carrot on a stick. While the whole time it has always been aiding the further accumulation of wealth by those who already had it.
The fact is, the overwhelming majority of financial gains will always inevitably go to those who have the money to buy and own the patent or copyright or have the ability to reproduce the product or idea. Whether it is a book, an album, a new medicine or technological breakthrough. It is a very deceiving way to ensure that money continues to make money; the extenuation of the extremes of wealth and poverty.
And all the while, the general population is none the wiser, believing that by buying into this idea they too will find financial salvation if they keep their heads down, their noses clean and work hard. Given the distractions of reality TV, sporting events, fear mongering media and the entertainment industry, we are all generally unaware of the damaging effects of the ideas that we have agreed to and the laws that we are obediently abiding by.
In the same way that the minutest misalignment on a woodworking lathe will have catastrophic effects on the wood being turned, or how a couple of degrees out at the foundation of a high-rise develops a disastrous lean as the construction continues, this simple piece of legislation has caused an immense amount of damage.  When extrapolated over a few hundred years and allowed to infiltrate every aspect of a multi-billion person society, interacting at the rapid pace at which we now conduct business, this idea has become a cancer that is destroying the body of this single entity called humanity.
This idea has become ingrained in all aspects of our lives, and even a large part of our psyche and the effects have been truly devastating. It has become our global culture. This concept of copyright and patent relates to ideas of ownership of capital, ownership of people, private ownership of land, it is connected to the apparently self-regulating free-market philosophy which is a lie; it isn’t self-regulating, it is self-perpetuating. The idea of an individual buying ocean front land for private use, subdividing and later on selling for a profit, the rape culture relationship that we have with our environment and this perverse condition in the mind that suggests we can pull from the earth whatever we want simply because we have enough money to buy the machinery to do so without even having to distribute that so-called wealth between every single inhabitant of the Earth; these are all effects of the ideology of private ownership taking the podium rather than the concept of collective commons.
You see, this is not a simple mess we have gotten ourselves into. It is immense, it is convoluted, it is complex and it is becoming increasingly painful at a much faster rate. We need to slow down. We need to take stock of our behaviours and consider the ramifications of our individual actions as they merge and add to the collective action of the masses. For what is this heart-wrenching mess we have ourselves in, but the result of our individual actions combining to create our collective experience?
We find ourselves in a world where not even the first person to have had the idea, but the first person to go through the process of registering that new idea or technology suddenly owns it. We exist in a world where the person who could afford to buy the rights to a song or an album can own that piece of music, even though they have no connection to its creation. Furthermore, they can again sell or pass the ownership of that piece of music down to their children, who can continue making millions of dollars of profits from a piece of music written by a musician who lived a hundred years before them.
The existence of and continued adherence to these laws means medical breakthroughs, medicines, ointments, evens cures for serious diseases can be owned by a corporation or an individual, and lifesaving medicines will be commodified and sold at a profit to benefit the shareholders or patent owner. Regardless of how many cannot afford it.
Software, for example, is easily reproduced, and the fact that we pay hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars for licensing each year adds to the already absurd wealth of certain companies and individuals. Add to that the fact that billions of others cannot afford that same product. Whether it is software, medicine or music we should be considering the benefit of the collective, not the individual. To generate income by exploiting a need, and then to offer a few hundred million dollars to charity is a joke and it is actually taking the piss.
It points to the fact that the majority of society cannot see the moral bankruptcy of such practices. To continue bleeding millions and millions of people of their money for something they need that you have, and then offer back a proportion of it and be praised as a charitable person, is a cruel and twisted joke.
Let us then consider the innovation that is stifled by not open sourcing it. When we implement the Open Source Model to solve a problem or create a new piece of software, innovation is accelerated at a mind-boggling rate. Hundreds or even thousands of individuals can contribute to generating solutions, to adding code, to proposing new perspectives.
Consider the thought that the slightest adjustment to a lab experiment that changes the course of history might not be in the mind of the scientists at Stanford but in the mind of a 14-year-old sitting behind a computer screen in India, and all she needed was to be aware of the problem you were trying to solve and to know what you had and had not tried so far.
We can begin to see how the very thing that we once thought would spur innovation, invention and creativity has stifled it. We can begin to see that by creating environments that nurture and foster competitiveness we have in fact been doing humanity a great disservice. We can begin to see more clearly how damaging it has been to have had academia, economics, philosophy and of course all of society literally ‘man-handled’ by the patriarchy.
Our ideas, our laws, the constructs that we have agreed to abide by, are imbalanced and incomplete. Our competitiveness and self-preservation is damaging all of us. We can begin to see how the Darwinian understandings that have become engrained into our way of life are still sabotaging human evolution and slowing down the process of moving towards social justice, equity and sustainability. How ironic that Darwin slowed down evolution.
This is one of the consistently repeated patterns of human beings and human societies. The implementation of a law, practice, behaviour or action that does exactly the opposite of what it was originally intended to do.
Ideas, Art, Music, Software, Medicine, Knowledge… How can we make these things commodities, place a dollar value on them, sell them only to those who can afford to pay for them, whether it be academic papers, poetry, Microsoft Office, or Daraprim, and then pretend like that isn’t insane?
In the system that we exist within, the patent to a drug that has existed for over sixty years can be bought by the highest bidder, and the price per pill can be hiked overnight from $13.5 to $750, all within the parameters of the law. Not only is it allowable, but in fact, it is how our entire society has been trained to think and behave. We celebrate it.
What is moral and what is allowed by the law do not need to be in agreeance in this system. Further to that, what is morally upright behaviour and what is acceptable behaviour do not even have to agree. We have, as a society, taken selfish and self-serving ideas as acceptable and praiseworthy. We are truly deluded.
If you consider it deeply you realise that this type of activity, this type of behaviour is encouraged and embedded into us at a young age, it is deemed upright and just, until the gross injustice of it is made glaringly obvious to us like it was in the case of Daraprim. In such instances, we snort and grunt in disapproval for a moment or two, and then continue conducting ourselves in exactly the same manner as the ones we bemoan.
We live in a reality where a writer, artist, painter or photographer will consider the value of their art, sometimes even their lives, by the financial gains it has brought them. The packaging, sale, and promotion of their work is now a consideration, sometimes the first consideration. We live in a reality where artists are creating their work to pay for rent, mortgages, rates, bills, cars, and living expenses. So now, how much, how quickly, and at what price something will sell is a consideration.
This is called the prostitution of the arts.
The commodification of the arts is what copyright brought us. I do not need to be paid for the electronic copying and distribution of my work as it doesn’t cost me anything to reproduce those works once they are created. And I’d rather not sign a publishing deal that gives the author 15% of the profit and distributes the rest amongst publishing company shareholders, distribution companies, transport and logistics companies and worst of all, the landlords of the premises of major bookstores.
Further to that, what artists are forced to endure, and what they have had to sacrifice in order to be able to create their work is not something that can be remunerated or compensated for with money. Artists receive their recompense from elsewhere.
This world is suffering from tumours and atrophy at the same time. We’re experiencing blood clots and haemorrhages of resources at the same time. We have obesity and malnutrition epidemics at the same time. We have more service men and women committing suicide than we lose in conflict. The greatest risk to the lives of men outside of suicide is their own diets. And the greatest risk to the lives of women is men. We need to stop what we are doing and take a look at ourselves, at each other, and start again.
The fact that a writer, a painter or a poet, a dancer or photographer must gauge the value or worth of their work or judge the success of their career by the amount of income they produced, instead of the number of hearts that they healed… this is what tells me that our society is broken.
The fact that artists, writers, painters, poets, must sell their art to pay the rent and buy food is truly heart-breaking. It means that they are considering what sells, and how to best market their work rather than creating for the sake of creation, for the sake of the collective. A move towards the days of patronage instead of commodification and capitalism would be wise, but this move will not happen if we all insist on clinging to what little we each have.
Somewhere along the line we were convinced that we had to compete with one another in order to serve ourselves, but this idea is destroying us.
When we take a look at what we are doing we realise that we have turned the highest forms of human endeavour, creative expression and innovation, into tools to serve the lowest of our needs, the procurement of our food and shelter. Is that not saddening?  We are a snake eating itself thinking we will find contentment.
Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how self-actualisation and particularly creative endeavours have been turned into a means of securing the basest of our needs. This is a sure a sign as any that the economic construct that we exist within is not adequately serving us, and requires reconsideration.
The copyrighting of technology, software, medicine, and art is not acting for the benefit of society as a whole, and it is simply allowing for the perpetuation and extenuation of the extremes of wealth and poverty. It gives this thing called money the power to determine who has access to medicine, agricultural technology, music, or educational software.
The existence of copyright and patent law is a concept that at first seemed like a good idea. It made sense to the minds that conceived of them hundreds of years ago, but those existed in a different world. Those minds did not possess the same mental capacities for complex reasoning or comprehension that even an average human being today possesses.
Those minds could not foretell the implications of such laws in a society like the one we exist within today. They couldn’t even imagine the world that we live in, much less legislate for it appropriately. When this idea came into being, it was still legal to beat your slave to death. Just as religious laws and cultural traditions become irrelevant, immoral or fail to serve us, so to do common laws become outdated and destructive.
As we develop our understandings of our world, ourselves and our relationship with each other and the universe we exist in, as our minds develop and our self-reflexive capacities become a more powerful and more regularly engaged tool, then we absolutely must be able to look at the things that we have considered as fundamental building blocks of our society with renewed curiosity and questioning.
If not the foundations of a building, then where else does one turn to when seeking stability and longevity. It is not the awnings or the blinds that need updating, rather the very frameworks and foundations we have built this society upon.
If we were to pause for a minute and consider our actions, and to consider the implications of our daily habits, accepted laws and social norms, we will soon realise that the reality we have created for ourselves is not one that we are benefiting from. And we will also realise that our daily actions when extrapolated across a global scale and reflected back to us, are not actions or behaviours that we fundamentally agree with.
So… If my work is of any use to you, then download it, read it, copy it, distribute it, enjoy it, I genuinely don’t mind. If we are to one day live in a world where we have free education, healthcare, housing, water, power and food, can we not first start with poetry?
Erfan

Thank You Headspace

 

I don’t do any more free gigs. I don’t need the ‘exposure’. In fact, more and more these days, I’m inclined to retract from society and maybe just grow apples to feed horses with. In any case, free or discounted gigs with the promise of selling lots of merchandise is not something I do anymore.

 

But… Every now and then. Not often, but occasionally, I will at my own cost, travel to another city to speak, perform or facilitate a workshop with no fee requested, if I believe in the cause or the person inviting me. And that is what I will be doing this weekend.

 

While planning and preparing the Townsville Cultural Festival, I will fly to Brisbane this Friday to offer a workshop in Warwick on Saturday afternoon, and a full-length show in the evening at the Warwick Town Hall.  The event is donation based, and all donations are going to Headspace.

 

I understand that Warwick is a long drive from Brisbane, and I know there are many things to do on a Saturday night in Brisbane. But, I also know that there are people who live in between those two places. And if you happen to find that you are free, this Saturday 1st of July, then do it. Perhaps make a day of it, maybe you’d like to attend the workshop as well or just the performance.

 

Come. Attend. Be present and show me your face. Say hello, and tell me what moves you. Whatever donations you make at the door will go directly to Headspace, and who knows, maybe hearing what I have to say might actually offer you some relief or solace. A support perhaps, as we come to terms with the end of civilisation as we knew it and this existential angst we deal with. Even if just for a short while, let us smile as if we’re not terrified.

 

It is so easy to forget that all we really want in this life is to be heard, to be acknowledged and to be of some form of service to others. That’s it really… to feel good and make people around us feel good. Am I right lads?

 

Anyways, having gone through some heavy shit in my past, having attempted to take my own life, having suffered from debilitating depression and mind shattering anxiety in the years gone by, not only do I have a few things to speak to you about, but also organisations and initiatives like Headspace are important to me.

 

Self-harm, suicide, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are all signs that our society is not functioning correctly, we are ill, collectively not individually. We have to acknowledge that we are in a bad state. Some would say we have cancer. If we had been a horse in the Melbourne Cup, we would have been put down. Stop eating animals it’s cruel and unkind. If we were a computer we would erase and reformat the drive. Maybe nature will do that for us. I don’t know.

 

But in the meantime, we need initiatives like Headspace, and we need to look out for each other, and we need to acknowledge that as fierce and powerful as we may be, just like nature, we are all also very fragile. We should remind ourselves that we are all seeking our own resolutions and trying to befriend or behead our own demons, however you wish to deal with them.

 

Consider the thought that those people you find so easy to judge, the ones staring at intently at their iPhones on the bus or train home, are just doing their best to not burst into tears in front of others. And maybe when they get to their home and they are alone again, they burst into tears the minute they see their own face in the mirror. Just a thought.

 

So be kind to one another, be gentle, be patient and if you are willing and able to make it to Warwick this Saturday, then be present.

 

Erfan

 

 

Warwick Town Hall 6 pm Saturday 1st July

For event details please email Bronwyn Clark at  bronwyn_millicent_clark@hotmail.com or call or text her on 0421 723 200 to let her know you’re coming.

 

Blunt force trauma to the heart…

 

Without a doubt one of the most effective and powerful motivators of personal growth is heartache. Whether it be, deceit, betrayal, the abrupt ending of an intense relationship, or a sudden death. Trauma to the heart, if it does not floor you with the initial blow, can be an accelerator of growth. Regardless it will make you grow, but how you receive it in that first moment determines how much growth is initiated.

 

How you manage to hold your tongue and remain calm, how you manage to catch your breath and stay at peace, how you manage to process instantly in your brain and respond with, “I understand.” This is how you accelerate your development.

 

To take a blow to the heart and not only remain standing but to hold no resentment or feel any negative emotion towards the assailant is the most powerful form of alchemy that exists. In truth, it is the only type of transmutation that has ever meant anything, the only form of alchemy that has held any worth. All other forms of alchemy pale into insignificance when considered against the alchemy of the heart and the ability to transmute emotion. If you can receive a form of emotion, transform it and send it out again as a new form of energy, you are edging closer to mastery.

 

To receive the weight of the falling sword with arms wide open and a smile on one’s face is the most powerful stance one could ever be in. When no force can overcome you, when no action can influence you to change the nature of your energy, when peaceful acceptance is what you offer in return to any affliction you are faced with, then you have become the master of your own being.

 

So much talk of being the master of our destiny or the master of one’s universe, when so little effort and attention has been afforded the task of becoming the master of our own emotional selves. For what hope do we have of influencing the environment around us and to inspire new actions and behaviours of those around us, if full and total mastery of our own self is not first obtained.

 

If you cannot practice controlled governance of your emotional self and even your physiological reactions to hurtful words or heartbreaking truths, why set yourself the task of changing the world? Why entertain such fancies? Why imagine that you have any hope at all in becoming a leader amongst lost men, or a champion of social change if you still react and respond like a needy child or a resentful teenager.

You can say, but that’s just how I feel, or I can’t help feeling this way, or my heart is aching, or my body reacts in this way, but that’s all BS. Whether it is your physiological response to heartbreaking words or the domestic violence perp who screams, “It’s Her fault, she makes me so angry!” You know it’s all BS. How you respond to this world is only ever a choice you make, and you are the only one ever responsible for the way you conduct yourself.

That’s the difference between the instinctive animal that acts in perfect harmony with the environment that it has evolved within, and the human being who has the ability to condition its own behaviour. Consider the significance of that statement. The difference between the human being and the animal is the ability to condition the self.

The animal will learn new skills when taught, it will learn from its natural environment and develop new skills and faculties, certainly. But a dog will never teach itself to sit, nor will an elephant teach itself how to paint. Make use of this ability, make full use of this gift. If you can’t teach yourself to remain calm, or to not take offence or to not be upset by unkind words, well…

The thing is, this world doesn’t need any more opinions, bickering or hurt feelings, it’s crumbling under the weight of them, this world needs pillars.

If you still have needs that require being met by another person, their attention, their love, their acceptance or respect, then there is an imagined lack that you must first address. If you need these things and their absence causes you angst, anxiety or hurt, then you are not yet prepared to be a leader.

 

When you do not flinch, when you do not become tense, when lies, betrayal, deceit and mindless aggression cannot disturb your peaceful loving kindness, then you are the master of your own being, master of your domain, then you are worthy of an audience and truly fit to lead.

 

Do not look to others to reciprocate and replenish the love you offer them, do not expect them to understand the extent or purity of the love you offer. If you do, you will be disappointed.

 

Instead look towards the source of your being and the architect of this existence, to give you what you need to continue. Understand that energy flows from a place of higher density to lower density, as does heat, water and love. So seek your replenishment from that which is greater than you, not from your peers.

 

You cannot barter your love for the love of another, this is not how it works. Your ideas of economy and finance are flawed imaginings that are not accurate or correctly aligned with the true nature of existence. This discrepancy has caused you much discomfort. Look to nature in order to achieve a more apt financial system that serves humanity and does not destroy nature. Then consider spirituality and themes of a spiritual nature in that new paradigm.

 

Your ideas of God, love, profit, progress, spirituality and even the after-life, your understanding of the concepts of abundance, prosperity, development, progress and growth, have all been based on and stem from a fundamentally flawed economic construct that is not a true reflection of the nature of existence.

 

You cannot just impose any economic system crafted in your imagination on a world it does not suit. You cannot then argue that one is best suited for life on this planet over another, or that one suits a particular region and not another. This universe existed before your ideas of economy, so look to the workings of nature and the planet that you exist within, that you may glean some insight and then create an economic structure that serves life on this planet. Look at the functions and systems of nature, consider the innate economy that exists in the workings of nature, and try to emulate that. Understand it will take time to perfect, but it starts with gifting.

 

 

Until such time, offer your love, your generosity, your kindliness, patience and enduring compassion to all who may cross your path and do not expect to receive it back in equal measure. I tell you, your expectations have been the cause of a great deal of your grief; acknowledge that and let it go. Offer without expectation of receiving.

 

Trust that God is the witness of your existence and that what you endure is being noted. Trust that God will afford you mercy, compassion and wisdom. Trust that you will be replenished with the courage, strength and steadfastness that you require in order for you to continue on.

 

If you fail to believe or trust in, or even recognise any awareness higher than your own, then no words of mine, or any other wisdom of a lasting nature will ever serve you, for you have already severed yourself from the source of life, the source of knowledge and wisdom. To come to know and comprehend this higher awareness is the very purpose of your existence. What can be done for the ray of light that does not believe or acknowledge it has come of the sun?

 

How can you expect to become a beacon of light and a leader of the heedless if you are to react and respond in like manner? How are you to show forth trustworthiness, integrity and honour, if you cannot show resilience in the face of the derision and impertinence they offer you. Strengthen your heart, my love, that you may with ease and joy carry the burdens they heap upon you. Strengthen your mind that you may see clearly the path ahead and let your thoughts and ideas act as lights that might show the way.

 

Rely not on your fellow beings to receive you in the way you receive them. Know that you have been entrusted with a position of leadership and as such, it is expected of you to offer forth love regardless of what you receive.

 

Erfan Daliri – 5 June 2017

Hasta Siempre Comandante – The Post-Human Revolutionary Code

When asked what the most important quality was for a revolutionary to possess, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara replied “At the risk of sounding ridiculous. A great revolutionary is guided by great feelings of Love. Love of humanity, of Justice, and Truth.”

 

Further to that, I would like to add a few words…

 

 

Code of Conduct – Article E1

 

Practice emotional hygiene, be vigilant with your inner dialogue, reinforce your internal equanimity, take pride in your mental clarity and focus energy on developing your core strength; both physical and emotional. In every moment ask yourself, “which action would I be most proud of?” And do that.

 

Eat clean, live clean, become familiar with the straight edge philosophy and embody it. Remove the need for unnecessary packaging from the food that you eat, and find nourishment that requires no packaging, it’s not that hard. Remove all unnecessary packaging from your conversations, and engage only in conversations that are straightforward, upfront and unashamedly honest. When you cannot speak your truth to someone’s face they can already tell. When you do, they can also tell.

 

There is no doubt that you must live a vegan life. If in doubt, educate yourself. The reasons fall into 4 categories; moral, environmental, health, and economic. Become familiar with the term ‘non-participation’ it’s going to come up a lot. It’ll be one of your most effective tools when navigating this phase of capitulation and restructure.

 

Non-participation will be a core theme for us because our actions can no longer be justified by their means anymore. And if all you can do is to not participate in practices that you do not believe in, then just do that. It is a more powerful position to come from than one who is frantically doing something they think is helping while supporting the systems they are fighting against.

 

Whether it is with regards to false economies, the wage slave existence, the flawed banking system, the meat and dairy industry, the drug and alcohol fueled nightlife scene, the packaging of foods, or the supporting of unethical companies that profit from selling poisons, or any number of other industries or practices that continue to prop up this system that is causing us trauma, removing ourselves and ceasing our financial and emotional support of these structures is key.

 

Practising non-participation is crucial, and it must come first and foremost before all other forms of social change activism. It is how you can begin living in integrity and with honour. It is how your words will carry more weight and travel further. It is how your ideas will become clearer and your mind will become broader. You must embody what you believe in first before further truths are brought to the surface. Living in contradiction is a heavy and painful burden.

 

Do not participate in lower level conversation, base-level emotional exchanges, and most certainly do not engage in, or even allow for back-biting and gossip to occur in your presence. This is not befitting of Novalanders. Initiate conversations of a higher nature, discuss themes from an intellectual, academic, poetic or spiritual realm.

 

Do not become gloomy and angsty by engaging in politicised arguments and dramas; the entire system is corrupt and failing, there is no need to take sides now. Rather speak of philosophies, ideals and ideas that might lead us to a new age.

 

Remain calm and always be kind, practice being infinitely patient. If you feel you are about to lose it, ask yourself, how losing your patience and composure might help you or serve your situation. I assure you, there will never be any context where losing your patience will be of benefit. Do not react to unkind words, nor respond to unconscious behaviour, lest you become drawn into ineffective and ignoble actions.

 

Be aware of your posture, your gait, your demeanour and your gaze, observe your thoughts, practice physical and mental cleanliness and be aware of the smell of your breath. Walk with conviction, speak clearly and loudly, in a courteous and polite manner. Conduct yourself in such a way that causes those who are witness to ponder whether they are in the presence of nobility. For what is being noble, then to act in such a manner?

 

Sell your car. Buy a bike. In fact, sell anything that no longer aligns with your philosophy on life. Leather shoes, woollen jumpers, ugg boots, and furs. Get rid of them and research alternatives. Someone will buy them off you. One day society will stop making them. For now, sell them off for what you can, don’t be a martyr.

 

Instead become immortal. Disengage with the trivial bs of this world or you’ll be forced to. By choice or by force, you will become detached from this world, it’s the only way you will find your way back home. Your heart will be broken, time and again, until you learn to let go of this world and everything within it.

 

The individual and the collective trauma we’re experiencing is for the purpose of awakening us and drawing us closer to our true nature; away from our animalistic past and closer to spiritually enlightened behaviour.

 

So slow down, shut up, sit quietly and breathe deep. Realise that if you still care if your shirt has a stain on it or your jacket has a hole before a meeting, then you’re still too easily distracted by trivialities.

 

So turn off the TV, put down those drinks, turn the air conditioners off, stop going to shopping malls, don’t eat animals anymore, it’s cruel and unkind. Fuck the economy, that’s how we got ourselves into this situation, don’t be blind. Don’t use your hearing selectively. Investigate a field of knowledge diligently before you speak of it. If you are an amateur, admit it openly and you might learn something.

 

Educate yourselves on the things that matter. Pick up text books, download PDFs, watch lectures and listen to audio books. No longer speak of sports, of fashion, of the trendiest new gelato place or reality tv shows; that is not conversation befitting of Novalanders. This world is literally dying, we have no time for such uselessness.

 

Be focused, stay true, be calm, remain clear-headed and keep your bodies fit and trim. Be agile both physically and mentally, you never know how you might need to defend yourself or from where an attack might come.

 

Know your first aid, study crowd control and become familiar with conflict resolution. Have a basic understanding of global politics, economics and history, but always remember this is all just an illusion. Teach yourself the basics of mathematics, physics, chemistry and yoga. Understand that everything in this universe is connected and there is no ‘other’.

 

This world needs champions. These people need exemplars. It is time for you to stand up and charge forward. Now is the time for you to stand by your intuitions, your ethics, your morals and if need be take a bullet for them. The dawn of a new day is breaking, and light will soon shine forth. Be aware that the actions you are engaged in will soon be laid bare for all to see. So act now if you wish to be on the right side of the sweeping hand that will wipe this earth clean.

 

There are too many amongst us who make claims and state audaciously that now is the time for change, but cannot bear to forego sleep, give up their souvlaki wraps or even so much as fast for a day, much less put everything on the line, risk ruin, ridicule and their own lives. But I tell you my friends, this is what is required. Weakness, sloth and cognitive dissonance have infiltrated most of the minds and bodies of the peoples of the earth. Be not one of them who has been lost to idle fancies, or those whose courage has been found wanting.

 

There are far too many disappointments in this world of ours; do not be one of them.

 

These people need lanterns of light to look towards, they need beacons of hope and emblems of resiliences. Be the halcyons this world is in need of. Be the kind of person who seeks not to point out other’s shortcomings because you are only ever focused on your own growth. Seek no one’s approval, recognition or support; if you need validation from your contemporaries you’ll become a plaything and you will lose yourself in vain thoughts.

 

We do not need those who still seek validation or those who are distracted by the fanfare of this world. Be not a child lost in the bedazzling lights and puppetry of the show. Instead, seek out the moral of the story. Understand the journey. And be brave enough to accept the hard truth.

 

This world is full of maddening ignorance, prejudice, shortsighted, self-serving fools who are lost in seeing only to their own bodily needs and desires and will be of no service or use. Accept that, move on, and continue doing the work. Do not concern yourself with their ways. Instead remain fast and firm in your moral grounding, be still in the face of tribulation, and calm in the face of heartbreak. Do not react to hatred nor retaliate to acts of aggression.

 

Be not of those who speak false words or make claims they have no intention of living up to. Understand the concepts and themes that you wish to speak about, and be certain you know the truth of the matter before you say anything. Until then it is best to refrain. Be silent and witness, while you continue to prepare and train.

 

Do not become a victim of petty bickering, impatience or a short-tempered nature. These things will do you no benefit, and are beneath your station.

 

It’s not going to be easy to be who you’ve been asked to be. It is no small feat to surpass what has been expected of human beings. You are not here to be a proponent of mediocrity, nor are you here just to fill seats.

 

You’re here to break all boundaries, exceed all expectations, and leave behind any who cling dearly to things of this world or still harbour petty fears. Those who run with you will be there all the way. And those who fall back were never going to make it anyway, so pay them no mind. Lean into life. Make yourself proud of the person you became through the hardship and the strife.

 

Understand that everything the people had once put their faith in has failed and disappointed them, they’ve been hurt, they’ve been let down. Now they need you to be an indomitable source of courage and strength who will never fade or fall back. Never fail them my fellow Novalanders, they have already been hurt too many times. They need someone to trust, someone to believe in, someone to rely on. And that is us my friends.

 

Onee Pahl Zjen

 

 

 

 

The pain we’ve caused in our Search for Meaning

The fact that a single act can have innumerable opinions attached to it means the opinion actually means nothing. The opinion is not a matter of fact, it is simply a single perspective and it does not constitute truth. So I urge you to not consider your opinions as truth, but only as fleeting, momentary expressions.

Do not place judgment, do not hold too firmly onto your beliefs. Your beliefs are fleeting, ever changing, transitory. You yourself can recognise how your own opinions on a matter have changed over the course of time. That which you placed your opinion on has not changed, and yet your opinion has. Therefore, your opinion means nothing, whether it be regarding your own self or another. It is simply a belief you carried for a certain period of time, until which point experience led you to believe something else.

And yet it seems what we believe is all we have. This is the paradox. The fact that a certain act or situation can result in an infinite number of opinions renders the opinion worthless and proves that we have not seen the reality of the matter. So if we cannot see the reality of any matter, and we never truly know something for what it is, then all we are left with is what we believe it is. But how can one say they have understood the essence of anything if an opposing or varying opinion exists? How am I to know that my belief or belief system at any point in time has any relationship with the truth if another, contradictory belief exists? It seems it is only by the superposition of beliefs that we gain any faith in them.

This is why we form communities. This is why we form cliques. This is how we fend off the uncertainty and angst; by finding others who agree with what we believe. It is not the opinion that we are most passionate about, it is not the belief or faith that we live for and die for, for we can recognise how these things change over time. It is the sense of certainty that holding onto it, while others are also holding onto it, that we yearn for. The conflict, the violence, the aggression, the wars which have been fought over belief systems actually have nothing to do with people’s conviction in that belief system. Rather, it is human beings fighting for their tenuous grip on a fragile and threatened identity. It is only in numbers that we feel safe. It is terrifying and testing to hold an opinion or belief that no one else does. But the larger the group who believe that same thing, the safer we feel, the more convinced we become of our closeness to truth. It is in fact truth that we are seeking.

We are not fighting over which direction we should face when we are praying, or what we should call this God; we are not fighting to defend whether God exists or not; we are fighting each other for our sense of sanity. It’s as if, at our core, we recognise the nothingness of it all. It is as if, deep down, we realise there is nothing here that is real. And so, we dig in, we cling to ideas and opinions and belief systems that are in themselves meaningless, but somehow gain weight by virtue of the number of people who share it. We trick ourselves into thinking that we have laid hold onto something that is real and all others are false. Like weights, like anchors, these opinions, these beliefs, hold us in place. They weigh us down, and make us feel connected to this earth, to this reality, and give us a reason to remain here.

For the nothingness that surrounds us is terrifying. And like gravity, our nationalism, our religions, our political affiliations, and the sporting teams for which we barrack, give us a sense of stability. We cling on so tight, we kill each other over them, we kill ourselves over them because we are afraid of flying. We are afraid of free fall. We are afraid of the infinite. We are afraid of God, and so we construct an infinitely smaller and limited concept in our minds, failing to recognise that we could never fathom the extent of such a thing through our thoughts, story or art.

How heart-wrenching, that we hold onto such tiny things. How heartbreaking, that the extent of our nobility terrifies us into belittling ourselves and each other. We draw lines, we draw boxes, we create boundaries and build walls, and then squeeze ourselves into them. It’s as if the infinite nature of our existence is unfathomable, and as such, we cut the infinite up into pieces so that we may come to terms with it, digest it, piece by piece. We make ourselves into drops because the ocean terrifies us. We become grains of sand because we are afraid of the desert. If only we ceased our attempts to understand everything. If only we stopped trying to make sense of it. We might have just realised the beauty of all of it.

If only we could find one thing that we all believed in. If only we could extend the walls of our belief systems further and further apart until which point we found something we all believed in with all of our heart and soul. If only we could let go of culture and creed, forget of the nation-state, look beyond religion, colour and gender. Perhaps if we were to remove ourselves from these categories, these shelters, if we could step out of these clay huts we’ve built ourselves, and we found one thing, just one thing that we all believed in, then we wouldn’t have to argue about right or wrong.

Perhaps then we wouldn’t have to kill, degrade, denigrate, abuse, in order to defend our limited beliefs and defend fragile and ever-changing identities. Is there not one thing we can all agree on? Beyond our creation stories that differ, beyond our languages that vary, beyond our opinions that are fleeting, can we not find one thing that every single being on this earth can believe in? Can we not step out of these stories that we have crafted in order to fend off the angst that we found ourselves born into?

It seems it has been our refusal to let go of these stories, these identities, that has withheld us from witnessing the truth that is. It seems these anchors of certainty that we’ve crafted in times when we did not know of others and other ways of being, are potentially withholding us from recognising an even greater identity that exists; one that encompasses all of humanity and becomes the cause of our unity and solidarity.

As these older and limited identities came into contact with others in years gone by, we felt impelled to fight and defend them because we believed them to be related to truth, and the existence of an alternative belief system caused us to question the validity of our own.

As the conflicts edged towards unbearable, as the mindlessness of the bloodshed became apparent, alliances formed, and communities became tribes, tribes became nation-states, nation-states were usurped by religious belief systems. Smaller belief systems merged and coalesced for the sake of peacefulness. Larger battles were fought between larger groups until again either one ideology was victorious, or the mindlessness became apparent and the establishment of a treaty or broader understanding brought peace to a region.

Again, it seems, we have reached a point where the mindlessness of the bloodshed is becoming ever more apparent, and the grief ever more unbearable, and as such, a greater, all-encompassing, singular belief must be found in order to bring peace to humanity.

Can we not find one thing that we all agree on, and place our faith and trust in that? Can we let go of tradition, culture, creed, and outdated belief systems and place our attention on a point of unity and solidarity that resonates with one and all? Can we agree on the exquisite beauty of a few simple truths that cut across all boundaries and borders and leave the discord creating minutia aside? I guess it depends on what we feel is more important to us, our stories of the past, our ancestors, our faded memories of someone else’s limited perspective of something they once believed in? …Or the story that we are co-creating right now. Which side of history do you want to be on

The question is, which side of history do you want to be on? The one that fought tooth and nail to uphold the past, or will you be one of those who lived, worked, and died for the evolution and betterment of humanity?

Erfan Daliri 27/5/2017

Soon this will all come to an end…

It’s been a long journey… I know. There have been times you didn’t think you’d make it, but you did. There may have been times when you wanted to end it. I know I did. Perhaps more often than I’d like to admit.
But we made it. We’re still here, and all those moments we thought might have crushed us, or killed us, all those times when it seemed like life was too painful to continue… well, we got through them…
We may or may not have learned from those experiences, but guess what, we’re still standing so we can learn next time. Just be present. Be aware of yourself and your surroundings, stay calm and you will see a little more light than the last time. It’s been a long journey, I know, and though there is much still to go, it will all be over very soon. It will all go back to nought, so despair not.
Keep your peace, hold your calm, find your feet, stay kind, remind yourself that this journey will soon come to an end and another will begin, so be kind my friends. To each other, to yourselves, to nature, be kind to animals, be respectful of the old, pay attention to children when they speak to you, regardless of whether they are yours, for they have pure wisdom to share, and this existence will soon come to an end and you will awake in a very different world. So pay attention to the details while you’re here.
Notice the pips of oranges, the scent of autumn mornings, and count the freckles on the face of your lover each morning, because one day she may be gone. Be present with this life, smile even when you are in pain, not to hide what you are feeling, but just to say, “Yes I’m bleeding in knowing that you’re leaving, but it’s ok.” Stay awake my friends, it’s been a long night, it has at times been dark and lonesome, it has been full of suffering and fear, but stay awake my friends for the enduring dawn is near.
She is softly spoken, she treads lightly with a gentle gait, so stay awake. That you may tell her of the glorious details of this world, of the scents and sensations, the friends you did make. Tell her of the joys of eating food that you grew, the taste of the rain, and how it was different to the taste of the sea…
Pay attention and appreciate the feeling of warm towels, and cold showers, notice that the sun rises from a slightly different position each day, count the dimples in the moon and the wrinkles on your mother’s face, memorise the sound of your father’s voice and the way your parents called your name, for one day this will all come to an end, and you will want to recall these things, so slow down the passing of time and pay attention my friends.
Watch steam as it rises and disappears, notice the feeling of different textures on your skin, breathe deeply as you chew your food that you may take it all in, count the grains of sugar you put in your coffee, be present with your tea, appreciate the touch of cold steel, examine your hands every now and then, consider the things that they have committed and those they accomplished, look yourself in the mirror and eye gaze for a few minutes each day, this world will one day be the faded memory of a dream, so pay attention dear friends.
Do not act in haste, do not let your hearts house hatred, do not rush through life trying to change it or fix it or make it better in any way, just sit with it, be loving and kind, be present and patient. Put headphones on and listen to classical music as you stand still in busy city streets, consider the people who walk past you without so much as a glance at your long lost friends.
Look at the food that you waste, and the packaging that you threw away, consider how you could be kinder to this earth and all its inhabitants, watch a tree being cut down and tell me it’s not painful. Listen to the sound of bleating lambs being separated from their mothers, look in the eyes of a cow being lead to slaughter, slow down for a moment and consider if it was worth it.
Slow down my dear friends, be kind to one other, I beg you be patient. There is no evil other in this world, just beings like you, who are confused, frightened and a little ashamed. I tell you, there is no judgement, no sin, it will all be ok, but while you are still here, slow down, be gentle, be kind, be patient.
And know that if I must leave this place before you, I will remember you, and I’ll be waiting.

 

Erfan Daliri 26/5/2017