Saturday, May 17, 2008

10 Things You Don't Know About Me


10 Things You Don't Know About Me is more for the regular readers of this blog, and those who know me personally. If this was for a wider audiences I'd probably dip my nose into the family tree, but I'm not going to do that here, it would just feel too vulgar, conceited and self-congratulatory. Besides, I'm not sure if name-dropping well known relatives shows the extent to which we need to borrow strength (and assumes we need to) or whether it represents that we need to rely on others for our sense of self.

1) In 1990 I was in the Air Force, and at the end of the year I was one of two selected to become a full time pilot contracted to the SA Air Force. After careful consideration, I rejected the offer (which included a house) based on the 13 year period immediately prior to the offer, of imprisonment at school. I wanted to get out, so I did, but I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had accepted. Things may have turned out okay - real high flying lifestyle - except we know now that airlines don't have a future.

2) While I lived in Walthamstow in London I wrote a book called 'STAGGER INTO FRESH AIR' which was an experimental novel comprised almost entirely out of emails, many of which were real, but I changed names and added other detail. I was given a contract from MINERVA Press but decided not to yield to the self-publishing temptation. In Korea I wrote a story set in the Kalahari which brought the mythical Bushmen face to face with 'a man from the West'. I called it The Half Full Moon and it juxtaposed the power centres of a man connected to nature (but poor in terms of worldly belongings), to a man connected to the West's idea of wealth (possessions), You can search this blog for 'HALF FULL MOON' to read extracts.

3) Some interesting minds I've corresponded with include Mike Lipkin (whom I questioned regarding his aptitude as a depression survivor to be working as a motivational speaker) and James Kunstler, whom I still occasionally contact.

4) I've done a 2:00 Standard Triathlon, when I raced at SA Champs in Richards Bay, finishing 6th in South Africa in the 20-26 Age Group.

5) When I was at UFS university I entered a writing competition and came 2nd. The winner was later disqualified for plagiarising elements from The Catcher In The Rye, and the similarities were first identified by me (rather than the lecturers on the judging panel).

6) When I left South Korea in 2006 I believed Peak Oil and H5N1 was imminent, and expected a sudden momentum to build in the breakdown of economic and other systems. I misjudged by approximatedly 1.5-2 years. H5N1 appeared in Seoul in the last 2 weeks.

7) My first Asian girlfriend was a Chinese lawyer, Fiona, who lived in Singapore, and spoke the most beautiful British-Chinese accented English. She's married now and living, I believe, In Australia. She's probably the second person I have ever seriously considered marrying.

8) I've earned provincial colors in swimming, biathlon, triathlon, soccer but never in cycling, despite cycling being my strongest discipline. Bad luck and bad admin has helped dis-incentivise the pursuit of colors. I earned a silver medal in a race in the Free State in the last 2 years, and would have been the number 1 ime trialler if I'd been allowed to compete. It's moot of course, since I wasn't.

9) I wasn't particularly impressed by a meeting I had with a Zen Master in Korea in April this year. It confirms the belief that simply being conscious, living a life connected to reality, is on a par with being enlightened, or having salvation. It is troubling to know that someone who is simply aware of the world, who practises 'being conscious and connected' to the world, is considered a Zen Master. We ought all to be, but we are simply too wrapped up in our indulgences, entertainments and distractions. In an odd way it was an encouraging encounter, because I realised I inherently knew more than I knew I knew, which leads me to feel that I have something to offer, and my brand of wisdom might yet make a small difference in the world.

10) I learned my IQ at school when I was about 11 years old. While far from average, I was neverless disappointed by the number. I've since learned that IQ is less a measure of intellect than the combination of beliefs, our imaginations,and the degree to which we are and inspire others to live consciously. And a great way to operate intelligently is to be aware of what might be a stupider system, and a less-informed way of doing things. This involves a consistent methodology where you consider ideas from two opposing angles, and critically examine what works and what doesn't. It doesn't take an Einstein to be clever, but it takes someone special to try not to be stupid when everyone else is.

And you and I now need to up our game even more knowing what's ahead of us in this Long Emergency period we're about to live through.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Phew! Impressive and worth congratulations. U definately have a lot of potential (and gifts) and it would be disappointing if you dont achieve recognition in one of those areas and make an important contribution to this world.
I am however, convinced that you will and consider myself honoured to be amongst those that you call your friend.

Nick van der Leek said...

Jeepers, you don't have to feel honored...maybe you can share some things I don't know about you....