Smiles and Tears on a Grey Non-Sequitur November Day

Smiles and Tears on a Grey Non-Sequitur November  Day

New York. November 25, 2012. ‘Tis a grey November day in the Big City, with occasional dollops of sunshine. Wisps of the night afore give way to a new day, which I started with an early morning dose of Bach and sunflowers.  Somewhere in my memory hovers a great quote I read by J.K. Rowling “And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

For some reason, a song I’d heard a while back, just doesn’t leave some recess in my mind. One of those tunes you have heard somewhere, and it stays on with the ability to pop in on some grey, reflective day. Band of Horses’ “The Funeral.” And so here it is, but as a backdrop to a remarkable bicyclist showing his dexterity in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hmm…Scotland – the new James Bond movie apparently has several scenes shot in Scotland. And last week, on a short trip to Montreal,  it was lovely to catch up with an old Scottish-Canadian friend of mine, a landscape architect, who is also a talented actor on the side and played roles in several plays and a movie. I wish him best on the latest role he has bagged – the lead in a play based on Charlie Chaplin’s life.

In any case, as a fan of bicycles, and despite this being a 3-year old video with some nearly 32 million views,  here goes….

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On a more sombre note, as the headlines in today’s news outlines a horrendous fire in a garment sweatshop factory in Bangladesh which has killed almost 200 workers, in a country where many western clothing giants get their goods produced due to cheap labour and lax regulations, I recall the post for which some women sent me hate-mails, because the truth of their own consumerism and narcissism was too much to handle when pointed out in a direct, no-holds-barred way. You see, glossing over facts does not take away REALITY about the truth of the world – a world where often child workers slog in awful conditions, both exploited in their own country and slaving to pander to the demand by consumers in richer countries who wish to buy more, more, more, with nary a thought of the human price in sweatshops in far-away countries,  where much of their products come from.  So lest we forget, once again, the tragic deaths in Bangladesh a day after the insanity of consumerism on Black Friday’s discount shopping day in America are a grim reminder of the reality and truth of our world. And those who did not want to accept the reality in my post Sweatshops for your Sex and the City Too, need to take a long hard look at their own hearts, if they even possess any powers of  introspection, other than their pampered cries of feigned, false victimhood  refusing to accept the reality of who the real victims in the world are.

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Reminder: All my previous posts can be found here: The Gipsy Geek Archives

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On a more cheery note, a breathtaking fisheye lens view taken by photographer Nobuyuki Taguchi at the Natural History Museum of London.  M. C. Escher would’ve. been proud. You can see more of Taguchi’s work here:  http://www.nobuyukitaguchi.com/ and a site of his streetscapes:  http://www.photo-visible.com/.

And at the end of this November day, this is the way I view the myriad shades of grey…in cloudy-sky paeans, Escherian etchings, and the labyrinths of the human mind, wherein lie both joys and sorrows, pains and pleasures, and the limitless possibilities of imagination and illusions – embedded in the crucible of undeniable Reality.

Bonne journée! Or bonne nuit, depending on where you are….

Nobuyuki Taguchi’s breathtaking Escher-esque photo of the Natural History Museum, London (click to enlarge)

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4 thoughts on “Smiles and Tears on a Grey Non-Sequitur November Day

  1. Hi Maddy. I am reading your post sitting next to my brother who is recovering from surgery to replace a leaking valve. He should have been home by now but the are having ome problems regulating his heart beat. It’s running too fast. The news from Bangladesh was horrific and very reminiscent of the turn of the century fire in a sweatshop garment factory in New York when over 100 women. .. All Eastern European immigrants perished because doors were locked and windows sealed. It was the start of garment workers unions. We have soooooo much and hard to imagine the lives of those with less than nothing!

    How is work? Any thing exciting coming up. It’s not only grey but grey cup day which is just beginning. Miss you, be well!
    R

  2. Hi Rochelle! Thank you for your kind words. And wishing you and your brother all the best….We have to catch up on the phone sometime.

    Yes – sweatshop conditions have always been bad, whether it was here in earlier times, with immigrant workers from eastern Europe, or the current conditions in countries like Bangladesh, Honduras, Vietnam and many other places. It is a sad reality of our world….and I don’t know what the solution really is, except improved conditions and workers’ unions, and people learning to buy less. I think it will take decades or centuries before that happens there – it is a sad reality, and something that is just a truth of the world. Over-population, poverty, the cycle of supply-demand – all these work into the vicious circle. We can’t do much about it, but it still surprises me when I see people who continue to remain clueless and/or apathetic and stay in their narcissistic little circles as I often see…..(not those like you who are so aware of the world but others) who wallow in their self-obsession, instead of realizing how accidents of birth or which country or which set of parents (in whichever country) one is born to can radically change one’s chances in life.

    I think watching the shoppers’ insanity and greed in New York during Black Friday http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/23/business/gallery/black-friday-2012/index.html?hpt=hp_t1 (and I’m sure in other cities too) and seeing some women complaining as though their lives were ‘ruined’ because they didn’t get some dress they wanted, and then reading about the fire and the sad deaths drove home the point even more how sad the world really is…..and knowing that those shoppers will never even care about who makes their stuff, just like they don’t think of the animals skinned alive for their coat trimmings….What a sad waste of life and blood. All for naught….for people who can’t control their greed to get momentary pleasures and for the middlemen who make money. Yet this is part of the reality we do live in, and even I am not exempt, though the choices I make can be more ethical. This is our world of commerce, existence, survival and no one is exempt unless one becomes some self-sustaining farmer out in the wilderness generating one’s own electricity and food.

    I think in my post ‘Truth or Dare’ and ‘This too shall pass’ I tried to address why this apathy occurs in our world, and ask how we can, if ever, reconcile or find peace….

    Schopenhaur’s philosophy is one of the few which teaches way to find joy and acceptance even amidst the brutal realities of our world…..

    I think the reason I placed the photograph of the Museum is because without resorting to escapism or fantasy, the photographer had captured immeasurable and magical beauty in reality. And in life, for those who are deeper thinkers, and with ethics, all of life becomes a balancing act of finding joy and peace despite its cruel truths and uncensored reality. Of course, while looking at the Museum, it did flash across my mind of how the conditions of the construction workers in London were when they built it…..Ach! Such is life, and we are so lucky these days….

    Sending love to you and Harvey…

    Update (Nov 30) – CNN has this report: http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/30/news/companies/walmart-bangladesh-factory-fire/

  3. Your last two articles have posed tough questions which I think have the same answer. And very troubling that answer is too…

    Why is there ongoing fighting in the deserts?
    Why do we persist in exploiting sweatshop workers?

    The answer is, of course, that we want wealth, and there is not enough of it to share equally at our living standard. There could never be enough for our infinite appetite in our finite world.

    So ‘we’ want more than an equal share, and we take it. How many in the developed world would vote for sharing it all out evenly? Would even you or I? Say goodbye not just to crazy handbags dresses suits shoes and luxury cars, but to what we now consider to be necessities – comfortable homes, the ability to travel, multiple computer devices, the time to philosophise rather than work?

    So ‘we’ want more than ‘them’, and we are able to take it. We kid ourselves we deserve it – after all, our forefathers and ancestors worked and fought hard for it, and so we own it now, don’t we?

    In the end, the only way we keep it is through military power, or the threat of it. Let’s face it, there’s no other way. What population is going to agree willingly to us having a ten times bigger share than them? (Even Douglas Adams’s democratic planet of kind humans ruled by evil lizards voted for them through fear!)

    The ‘taking it’ leaves populations hungry and increasing angry, our wealth is now very visible to them. Their leaders are able to motivate acts of terrorism and violence by desperate people, using devices such as distorted religion. And while we retain the wealth we can drive disgustingly hard bargains for the manufacture of our luxuries and ‘necessities’.

    QED

    The really tough part of accepting all this is the personal question. Would I really let my personal wealth drop to maybe a tenth of what it is now to share it out fairly? Would I? Would you?

    Yet, all down human history the stronger tribes took the bigger share. So the most capable flourished. So we grew more and more capable. What’s wrong with that?

    Thank you for provoking us to think….

    • Thanks John, for that thoughtful and insightful comment. yes – I have pondered much on that, since I was a kid, but understood a lot more on why the world exists the way it does. I loved Carl Sagan’s books and his last one, before he died, spoke of much of his pondering. There is a post somewhere on that….Another recent author I quite like is systems engineer Barbara Oakley – writer of ‘Evil Genes’ and ‘Pathological Altruism’. Very revealing and insightful. Some of this pondering I wrote in two posts – among others. You may enjoy the Truth and Dare post, as a lot of her work has looked into Cluster B pathology and the place of ‘evil’ in evolutionary biology. Long posts these though…I tend to go on once I get started, for better or worse. The one with an excerpt from Oakley’s book – https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/injustice-oakley-evil-genes/

      and This too shall pass….which is more philosophic https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/this-too-shall-pass/

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