# Unkown Blogger Pursues a Deranged Quest for Normalcy

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## Endless Forms

Posted by ubpdqn on May 24, 2016

I have just passed the best few days since the beginning of the year. I was immersed in the mundane but surrounded by those remarkable (few) people who attach some value to me.  These briefest of moments were priceless to me.

There are still extremely dark days ahead but I do not walk alone. I have, for the first time, some inkling of a meaningful future, even with such a deep and extensive wound.

The fog clears but nothing changes the malevolence that has pushed me into the abyss.  There are lessons and I hope I learn them. I will, however, (while my brain is intact) not forget. The wound may never heal and perhaps the vulnerability it presents and the pain  it induces serve or transform into useful to me and others.

I enjoyed watching ants scurry. They walked on loosely defined trails. Local signalling with emergent larger structure. Each ant doing its thing but ultimately achieving a purpose for the whole. A robust system. Loss of one ant has another ant hot on the trail. Small obstacles and perturbations are locally solved.  Hanging clothes became a journey for the imagination.

How long this clarity lasts who knows. I am thankful for those very small but compassionate souls who have been by my side in this difficult time.

## End of The World As We Know It

Posted by ubpdqn on April 20, 2016

It has been an extremely difficult time.  I am repeatedly  informed by the important people in my life about the “light at the end of the tunnel”. The darkness is pervasive and impenetrable. Some brief twinkles appear but they are evanescent (perhaps products of the brain much like Percival Lowell’s canals on Mars).

I have always derived some comfort from various symbolism. The appearance of a small delicate rose in our “garden” appeared as a symbol of hope and the fragility of life. It emerged despite my complete neglect.

REM has provided an almost documentary consonance with my mood:

it has been somewhat more than a day…:

A self-evident truth but music that soothed my savage nature:

I have not reached  the enlightenment that my loved ones see but perhaps I will be honestly able to utter, “… and I feel fine”:

I must emerge from this darkness into the “great beyond”:

Peace to all. This wonderful video captures our place in the universe: awe and wonder (and beautiful distraction from the “real world”).

## The Big Lies

Posted by ubpdqn on March 15, 2016

I have been living in a deep, dark and cold void of self pity. My partner pierced this darkness with a simple question, “maybe you have not suffered enough?”. This planted a seed in my mind and somewhat counter-intuitively was liberating. This paradoxical effect arose as this phrase did not arise from spite or hate but from love.

There is a story of man who was in a state of despair. The burdens of his life were overwhelming. He prayed for relief.  One evening he received a vision. He was in a room with Christ. “I have heard your prayers, my son.  Here look at this table of crosses, These crosses represent the burdens you can carry in the rest of your life. I allow you to choose the one you want.” There were large, crosses, crosses showing the crucified Christ with the crown of thornes and the side wound. The man spied a very small almost inconspicuous cross. He picked it up and declared, “I choose this one”. Christ replied, “This is the cross you have borne all your life and the cross you bear now.”

I can, by many objective measures, prove the harm wrought upon me by others. These injuries have pushed me into the void. The manipulation of neuro-chemistry alone will not suffice. The journey out of the void needs insights like those offered by my partner.  It is my choice how to deal with my perceived suffering. This is not to exculpate, endorse, forget or forgive. This road is not on the horizon and it may never be.

So,  I believed the big lies and have  been shaken by the real world. It makes this aspiration of these lies no less important and I have forgotten this lesson.

Monks were asked what they do all do. They replied, “we fall down and get up”. I have fallen down a tall staircase into this void. I am battered, bruised and disoriented. It is time to try to get up  and  find that steep staircase. I may only reach the first step.  I may have suffered enough. It is liberating to reframe and recognize that the void may teach me even if  I do not survive it.

Terry Pratchett, Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4)

All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

“So we can believe the big ones?”

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

“They’re not the same at all!”

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOWME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”

MY POINT EXACTLY

## Vitality

Posted by ubpdqn on March 1, 2016

This is an honest insight into melancholia:

The poem at the beginning  sadly resonates too much…

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

And Mourners to and fro

That Sense was breaking through –

And when they all were seated,

A Service, like a Drum –

Kept beating – beating – till I thought

My mind was going numb –

And then I heard them lift a Box

And creak across my Soul

With those same Boots of Lead, again,

Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,

And Being, but an Ear,

And I, and Silence, some strange Race,

Wrecked, solitary, here –

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,

And I dropped down, and down –

And hit a World, at every plunge,

And Finished knowing – then –

= Emily Dickinson

## Slings and Arrows

Posted by ubpdqn on February 19, 2016

It is some weeks now since a disabling (and possibly fatal) blow has been delivered to my $\psi\upsilon\chi\eta$. A blow delivered with such intensity and collective malevolence to evoke Hamlet’s :”to be or not to be”.

Media are full of “friends” and kind souls with uniformly “happy endings” all neatly wrapped up in attention grabbing discrete chunks (30 minutes to 2 hours). Guardian angels coming to bring solace and the all  important hope.

Alas, these are fiction ,very nice and soothing fiction but fiction nonetheless. I sit alone, broken and ashamed of the stress and my human frailty has wrought on those people I love. They are my heroes and I have let them down.

So, Martin Luther kings words resonate as does Hamlet Act III scene I:

To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death-
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns- puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.- Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia!- Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins rememb’red.

Peace and hope to all.

Posted in philosophical rants | 1 Comment »

Posted by ubpdqn on December 13, 2015

I have been enjoying the Youtube channel of Professor N J Wildberger.

This is a small homage with the linkage produced by rational parametrization (the Lemniscate of Bernoulli was contour plot).

Peace and good will to all at this time of year.

## Broken

Posted by ubpdqn on November 16, 2015

I have failed in a quest for freedom from both the black dog and the chemical designed to keep it at bay. The personal toll is nothing new or even alarming but the toll on the amazing and strong people who I love and (for reasons I am grateful for) have loved me.

The world is a complex place and agony and ecstasy frequently co-exist and perhaps with the exception of the “unreasonable effectiveness of Mathematics explaining the natural world”, human behaviours remain sources of misery and joy to me, currently in unequal measure and beyond my comprehension and capacity to deal with.

I have had a simple approach to the “world”. I have tried to be open but from within an extremely shy or socially inept vantage point. I have learned, to some degree of sophistication, to be an effective, clear and consistent communicator (as it is necessary for my job) but this has not protected me from being harmed by inconsistency, irresponsibility, at times frank dishonesty (all assessed from my internal simplistic frame of reference).

The perfect misery has overwhelmed my capacity to deal with it and though an old enemy I contemplate why continue to fight and continue the harm on my loved ones. This is clearly the black dog barking but clothed in a rationalization.

I know I have tried my best. I know the world is not fair, or just and that in real terms I have many “first world” issues and not am suffering as many many people from starvation, natural disaster, terrorist attacks or even more common struggles of everyday life.

I pray for those souls suffering from demons within or circumstances without and those remarkable heroes who stand by their loved ones. I pray for the souls of those suffering after the Parisian attacks including my daughter and her partner.

I pray for some relief one way or another to give my long suffering loved ones some joy.

## Ethereal

Posted by ubpdqn on October 12, 2015

World Mental Health Day passed on 10 October. There has been an intense media frenzy in relation to Mental Health. This is all well-intentioned and some may even be useful. It has been a challenging time in many ways. I cannot help reflecting on the invisible, those who suffer in darkness, and those unsung heroes who stand beside them and lament a fickle media environment that at times exploits rather than illuminates, trivializes rather than explains.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in some ways explores an individuals inner mental life in order to cope with a world he finds difficult to fit in and the transformative power of a random upheaval. My partner and I shed tears at the ending at the denouement of the film: the emergence of Walter Mitty from his safe inner-life into the “real” world brimming with opportunities and real human connections at a time when he has lost the job he has been a dutiful servant for the majority of his working life. As the metaphorical butterfly emerges from the cocoon, the triumphant celebration of Mitty and all he represents is declared to the world through a magazine cover by a photographer who saw more than an automaton in a corporate machine designed to excite, titillate and otherwise evoke response.

This is, alas, just a movie. A gentle, beautifully crafted and shot piece but fiction nonetheless. I hope that my fellow sufferers and their long suffering heroic fellow travellers are subject to uplifting transformative random events and opportunities and that life can imitate art.

This image from Clifford Pickover’s tweet stands as a metaphor of “seeing the world from another perspective”…an opportunity to learn, to solve, to discover, to heal, to develop, to grow…

## Footsteps

Posted by ubpdqn on September 20, 2015

I never I thought I would reach this ‘milestone’. I continue to learn a lot from Mathematica Stackexchange and it has also been a refuge and restorative  during a year in which my mother died after a sudden unexpected illness,  I suffered a life threatening illness  myself and I am struggling through some very difficult times.

Depression and suicide has been very topical  and given various faces including famous sporting identities. I hope it portends greater understanding, greater research, effective treatments and in general a more compassionate and peaceful world.

n the spirit of RUOK day and World Suicide Prevention day…may we be open and sensitive to those who suffer in silence and translate slogans into connections, may we venerate those who stand by those sufferers and may we support those who are left behind when the worst comes…peace to all.

## To Be or Not To Be

Posted by ubpdqn on April 28, 2015

The current times cast a surreal and incomprehensible shadow over my dysthymic diathesis.  Thousands of lives lost in Nepal, millions of people displaced and children at risk; 11 people (from Australia, from France, Ghana, Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and Indonesia) waiting for execution in Indonesia, the tragic suicide of Sawyer Sweeten at the age of 19…these are part of the current media cycle…they are manifest tragedies from large to small scale and they are without doubt only the tip of the iceberg of macro and micro human suffering happening in the world today. Our view is skewed by a frame of reference, a frame at times imperceptibly sculpted by the complex interaction of the media and our “appetites”.

The large scale devastations such as Nepal are unintelligible to me. The tragedy of suicide, though a locally devastating event, is no less tragic to me for the hidden suffering of the individual and the expanding indelible scar on those left behind…the media frequently displays “friends” who assert “it came as a shock”, “we had no idea”… “if only he or she reached out”…I  suspect these self described friends would in all honesty do nothing, not want to know, displace responsibility…in short opt out of care, action or support. This is the microcosm of the large scale inertia and apathy that limits our compassion to people enduring the incomprehensible suffering of natural disaster, war, genocide, terrorism and other ideologically driven malevolence and I am as guilty or worse as any in this regard. Steven Pinker inspires to reflect on the better Angels of our nature and no doubt he builds a compelling case of a trajectory towards peace over millenia. However, my direct and local experience from the inside of melancholia has been that true kindness, support and understanding are much rarer than the overstated “circle of friends”. Of course, this is, perhaps, more a reflection of my character traits than indictment of others but perhaps it goes some way to insight into the “surprise” people (“friends”) exhibit. There is no doubt that true loved ones, those there in good times and bad are caught devastatingly unaware of the depth of the internal suffering that leads a person to an ultimate irreversible and far-reaching event…the sufferer wants not only to stop there own suffering but the burden they have imposed on those they love and have been there…these are a different class of people to the “friends” who express sentiments that they would never act on.

I believe these true loved ones are true heroes, as are those common people who are trying to rescue people in Nepal, those children standing by bodies out of respect, those countless and nameless aid workers who are just doing their job (digging out bodies, helping people get food water). I give thanks to those people who stand by the children of the lesser gods be the poor, the devastated by natural disaster,  who stand by those on death row, who recognize the humanity of the different, the depressed, the psychotic and otherwise misfits of the world. True kindness, perhaps love, is patient, long suffering and potentially transformative. It is not a slogan, a sound byte.  I thank the heroes in my life and am grateful for these largely invisible towers of strength.

“We are Groot”.