stumbling upon thoughts and vomiting up ideas

The Tides — January 2, 2015

The Tides

A wild and chaotic scramble to gather and consume.

To stockpile and gloat.

To fight tooth and nail, to stay aboard our boats.

To manipulate, to gain, to err to stay attuned

To this symphony of insanity, the soundtrack of our doom.

We proudly draw our instruments, ready to start

Ready to play our part

Ready to dream, from some empty blackened heart.

Until we drag our bows across the strings of our sad lives.

And hear the sheik of terror that changes the ocean tides.

And rains a storm of cries.

Our fathers’ broken dreams brew a vicious wind.

The evils of our mothers, the priests and all their sins

rock our ships to capsize, humanity overboard

Into an ocean of sharpened daggers, a sea of pointed swords.

Dixon — December 25, 2014


I sat at my desk and stared down at my Dixon number 2 pencil. A marvel of elegance. Its ribbed circumference, its pointed led tip, its dense pink eraser. Engineering at its finest. Its ability to transcribe lofty, fickle and abstract ideas. How it freezes thoughts in time and represents them between the blue and red parameters of a page. The pencil is a middle man between vigorous introspection and the proliferation of change in the world. The pencil is a portal between the timeless, spaceless realm of the consciousness and the material world. The material world where people point fingers and speak about each other in hushed tones. The material world where evil seeps into communities, poisoning the members into disarray, hatred and death.

The evils in this world persist through ignorance. Through the lack of smarter paradigms. Because nobody’s sat down with a white page and a Dixon and drafted a solution. The pencil is not the intention, but the vehicle for intention. It brings what isn’t into what is. The pencil is the most powerful tool in the world. It’s a highly refined piece of technology on which our modern systems are based. From scratches on the walls of an ancient caves to the vibrant print on an urban billboard, the pencil sits comfortably in the middle as the most substantial evolutionary leap in the world of information transmission.

A pencil represents polarity. It carries ideas into the material space through the loops and lines of written content, but flip it around and you have the ability to erase it from existence, back into the realm of abstraction. A pencil is forgiving. A pencil’s output ranges in intensity. It could be loose ideas jotted down without cohesion, or refined frameworks for how to navigate the world. A pencil knows that trials precede perfection, that the first draft of anything is shit..as Ernest Hemingway says.

A pencil helps you hone your craft through conversion of ideas into print, then from print back into ideas, and then from further substantiated ideas back into print, and then from print back into further substantiated ideas until a full model is constructed and materialized and criticized by the surrounding communities. This is development. This is creation. This is what mediates the acceleration of human intelligence and the design that results.

I picked up the pencil, hovered it 3 inches from my face and spun it between my thumb and forefinger. An item worth pennies. An item so commonplace it’s left on desks, transferred freely between people and simply given away. But it’s an item that changed the world. A simple item, worth a fraction of a dollar per unit, penetrated the world’s society and began the great diffusion of information. It’s a concept our world is now founded on, from hand written letters to documents forged by the printing press, to pages of typewritten content, to websites on an endless internet scroll. The pencil is knowledge.

A pencil is design perfection. All attempts to fit layers of technology on top of this tool have been unnecessary and a simple example of the humans’ need to develop past the point of function. The marker, the pen, the gel pen, the fine tip felt pen with anti-bleeding technology, it’s all unnecessary flare. Hand me a Dixon and call it a day.

But the pencil also creates beyond the confines of words. Through the hand of an artist, the pencil drafts visual content with no set agenda. It takes crude cognitive output and translates it into imagery. This imagery can then be contemplated, analyzed, criticized until some meaning is extracted and ideas are birthed. The pencil can state an idea, but it can also point in the direction of one. The pencil is versatile. A close friend of the mind. A mutual relationship where the mind stirs the pot but the pencil extracts the goods.

But despite the revolution the pencil initiated, it’s functional utility is nearly irrelevant today. Why print when you can type? When you can thumb out words on a glass keyboard and share ideas instantly with everybody. How long will it be until this tool recedes entirely from common use and becomes an abstract milestone of a different time?

One beautiful truth about the pencil is that no matter which direction society takes, and no matter how much time has passed, the pencil will always be a crucial catalyst that changed with world. Under no circumstance can an engineer invent a new tool for communication that isn’t ultimately based on the premise of the pencil. Doing so would be like creating a human life whom has no historical lineage. The pencil is a fundamental tool that represents a fundamental concept: that thoughts can be documented and shared to bring about change. The pencil has done this with such inconceivable efficiency. For less than a dollar you can write down a thought that will change the world indefinitely. It’s a tool so strong and versatile it can bring about the most glorious developments, but in the wrong hands, the most malicious deconstructions.

So pick up a pencil. Feel it’s modest mass in your palm. Run your thumb down its painted ridge and sharpened point. Drag its eraser across the desk and feel the friction. Identify the power in this skinny piece of led and wood. Recognize its potential. Anticipate its effect. Create. Learn. Build. This tool is what carries your mind into the material world for comparison and unity with other minds. What a concept. What magic.

Creative Intertia — November 2, 2014

Creative Intertia

I want to do something creative tonight but I’m having a really hard time.

I feel at a loss of words, of original ideas, of any conviction that may push a thought into development.

It’s hell.

But why does this kind of mood come and go at it’s own discretion? The kind of mood that allows your mind to penetrate ideas, crack them open and study them for what they are. To critique what is and disregard false merits, identify fallacy, and bring truths into focus.

It’s a state of mind I could wallow in for eternity. It’s a kind of staggering clarity that makes the world seem so wonderfully neutral yet variable. The evils melt away, the fake triumphs dissipate and you’re left with this archaic landscape in which we’re all floundering around being the animals we are. What a refreshing perspective.

And when I reach this state I can’t help but comment on the lovely madness that surrounds us all. I can’t help but obsess over the subtle nuances in every crack and crevice of this world and why they are the way they are. I write provocatively, honestly, and manage to translate some of this vibrant energy from experience to print.

But then, it’s just gone.

And I sit, taunted by a blinking cursor on a white page and feel disgusted about my indifference to it all. I want to write, yes, but only out of some instrumental plea for the depression and anxiety to relent.

Like right now.

It’s creative inertia. I’m stuck. I try to force the production of content but it’s all in vain because I’m missing that single crucial ingredient: intellect.

I hope she comes back soon.

Relationships — October 20, 2014


Ever wonder about relationships? I sure do.

Recently it has occurred to me just how inherently tedious building a romantic relationship is. Make no mistake about it, it’s a game. And there’s no such thing as free lives.

It works like this: two people express general interest in each other, usually through some obscure medium like text messaging, Facebook comments or even Snap Chat, and from there it’s just an oscillation between liberation and insecurity as you try to manage the ever shifting power dynamic that is your new relationship.

I picture it as a teeter totter. You’ve got one person on either end and the goal is to meet in the middle. The middle, you know, where that everlasting happiness is. So each person nudges closer but as soon as one person reaches the whole thing comes crashing down. Care too much, you advance too quickly, the whole thing crashes down. Care too little, the other person advances too quickly (or recedes entirely) and the whole thing crashes down.

Am I the only person who sees it this way?

I know it sounds cynical but even if a relationship does advance, does it do so under the proper pretenses? Do we even allow ourselves to get exposed that early on? Or are we just a rotating display of  model personalities aiming simply to instill some intrigue in our partner? I argue the latter.

So there you have two people, doing their best to showcase their strengths and hide their weaknesses, falling in love with fragments of each others’ personalities, hoping all goes well and the wheels don’t fall off.

It just seems damned from the start.



A Christian and a Paradox — October 14, 2014

A Christian and a Paradox

A friend of mine made a fascinating point yesterday.

We were stuck sleeping on the same mattress at a mutual friend of ours after a night on the town and we had only one blanket between us. The blanket’s size was such that only one of us could be warm at a time.

“You know what’s crazy?” Mike asked. “As much as I love you as a friend and as much as I believe in making sacrifices to help others, as soon as we both fall asleep there is going to be a vicious war over this blanket.”

I died laughing because it was such a potent truth.

Mike went on: “That’s why I can’t fully respect Christianity,”  he said, “because at the heart of it, we are all selfish beings. Christianity is all about living life to serve others but if it comes right down to it and we’re battling for warmth, I’ll always choose me over you.”

Not only was I intrigued by Mike’s extrapolation of this truth into the context of religion, I was surprised to hear him address a very fundamental paradox associated with his religion. It got me thinking: are there absolute truths that can resonate with people, even if the ideology they grew up with and subscribed to are blatantly inconsistent with them? It occurred to me that Mike couldn’t bring himself to dismiss the fact that humans are fundamentally self serving and seek survival above all else and how that was a direct contradiction to Christianity.

That’s a beautiful thing isn’t it? There may just exist certain universal facts that challenge and destroy misinformed or distorted ideologies. Like a rose from concrete, these truths may be able to shatter erroneous doctrines and the maladaptive, instrumental behaviours carried out merely to adhere to them.


Disconnected — October 12, 2014


I’m beginning to feel a disconnect between my behaviours and my intentions. I seem to be having issues accepting my default operative because I can’t shake this feeling that I could be doing more.

This parasitic idea of doing more has invaded my consciousness over the past few years. So much so that it has begun attacking my creativity and it has only been through altered states of consciousness that I’ve identified this issue. When I’m intoxicated, the incessant, badgering thoughts about my dismal production output slowly fade out. What’s left is this overwhelming calm and a pride for what I have created. I no longer feel self contempt or the burdensome pressure to be better. I think “you know what Dyl, you’ve done alright. You know what Dyl, just keep following your passions and be happy if and when by-products of these pursuits arise.”

But I can’t harness this sober.

It’s resistance. Powerful, disheartening, fist-clenched-in-my-mouth resistance. And I think it may be a product of my hyper-active mind. The innumerable and utterly indiscriminate thoughts that cycle through my consciousness each day seem rarely to take any meaningful trajectory. What’s it all for?” It’s thought for the sake of thought. And it’s exhausting.

But what can be done? How can I trace this problem back to it’s source so that my apprehensions can give way to pure and potent creativity? How do I achieve thoughts that can be embraced and explored, thoughts that can link to one another to create a chain of ideas, ideas that begin resonating preliminary truths, preliminary truths that brick the foundation of ideologies, ideologies that create a substantial and unique perspective allowing meaning to arise, meaning that inspires security and a sense of peace in an otherwise chaotic world?

That’s the million dollar question.

I’ve thought about meditation. And I’ve made a vain attempt at harnessing that sort of ‘inverted energy’, that lack of action, that recession from thought. It’s hard work and at a time when no idea protrudes out of my consciousness as the one to follow, it’s extremely difficult to stick with.

And then there’s the distraction factor.

I have recently realized how tremendously stimulating my life is. The music, the friends, the music festivals with friends, the work, the workouts, the driving to and from, the instrumental babble with people that hardly matter, the deep, inspiring conversations with friends into the late hours of the night discussing the nature of the universe, the screens, the text messages, the misdirected lust, the hopeless anticipation of future items that may never materialize or the future perspectives what will never manifest.

It’s mayhem.

It’s not that I don’t like having lots on the go and basking in the varieties of life, don’t get me wrong. It’s that I feel no cohesion or development across time from these experiences. It’s like my consciousness is a carousel and things jump on and off the endless loop at their own discretion. It’s like all the thoughts are competing to reach the center, against centrifugal forces, wherein intention will manifest them. It’s a slew of entities battling their counterparts: action with contemplation, wonder with indifference, faith with cynicism, hate with love. And even though this carousel resides in my conscious mind, the very production centre of thoughts and perceptions, I don’t seem to be manning the ride.

Life’s messy, Mom says, and she’s right.  But how do you make sense of it? All the streams of input and their loose relationship with output?

It all comes down to this disconnect. And I feel like this struggle only occurs to those with enough inflection to trip the issue. There’s a sort of threshold intellect necessary to even consider this controversy and experience this discomfort.

I have a friend, let’s call him Harry. Harry is a wonderfully simple person. He sees not much use for planning, delay of gratification, or questioning the nature of reality. He lives in a constant stream of popular media, mildly involving relationships and, unless my 5 years of observation renders erroneous conclusions, instrumental thought.

I receive little more than awkward nods and one word answers when I attempt to talk to him about the perplexing theory of supersymmetry, how it is that the moon and the sun, at 2 astronomically different distances from earth, cast the same size circle in the sky, or even about how crazy it is that engineers in Dubai felt the need to build the Burj Khalifa nearly a freaking kilometer tall. Naturally I have ceased badgering him with my wondrous thoughts.

But do the binding hands of procrastination even grip somebody with a consciousness like this? Because in order to be procrastinating, you need to identify it as procrastinating. In order to feel inertia, you need to reference forwards and backwards. I truly envy Harry’s ability to live in the moment and not strain his mind with ideas of what he could become if he tried a little harder, if he obtained a little more information, if he sought insight from those he idolizes, if he put the gear selector into drive a little more often and sped towards a goal.

But I’ll simply never be this way.

Again, it all comes back to the disconnect. To the bridging of the gap between intent and behaviour. To getting to a place where you can just be, free of pestering forethought and menacing memories, still able to visit complex ideas, build upon them, and extract meaning.

Will I ever get there? Who knows.

Screens — September 30, 2014


Have you ever wondered about screens? Those vibrant rectangular panels crouching in our living rooms, anchored to our keyboards, hanging from our walls and hiding in our pockets? Screens are everywhere. They inform us, they entertain us, they connect us, they teach us, they direct us and they offer us a lot of substance in our technologically dependent lives. But they distract us too. And not just in a -oh let me quickly check this Snap-Chat while I merge onto the highway-kind of way. I’m talking about a deeper kind of distraction.

I got the idea while I was working out a few days ago. The Goodlife Fitness that I train at recently installed more flat-screens in the gym, this time in the free-weight section. That means there’s a screen perched in your periphery at all times, if not directly, then through the reflection of a mirror. And the worst part is: I can’t ignore them.

See, I fully intended on focusing my energy on my shoulder workout instead of on Nicki Minaj’s impossibly round booty bouncing off each edge of the screen above me. But set after set, regardless of my location in the gym, I found neck craned towards the nearest screen and my eyes glued to the madness. Then it hit me. I wasn’t lending my attention to the many screens plastered across the walls of Goodlife.. my attention was being stolen.

Focus is a finite resource, that’s why you have to chose what to put it on. The problem is: media producers have figured out how to trick our cognitive systems into paying attention to the garbage they release. Let’s take every rap/pop/top 40’s video for example.

What are the features of these productions? Attractive girls dancing seductively, exquisite sports cars littered about, beautiful natural scenery and a whole bunch of folks having a bummpin’ good time. These things appeal to us on a very primitive level. Who doesn’t want a hot mate? Who doesn’t want sex? Who doesn’t want so much money they can throw parties on jet boats?

Then there’s the production mechanics. At 2-3 frames per second these videos are tremendously stimulating for our novelty seeking minds. Put simply, you only have to wait a fraction of a second before you get to see a new picture. And who doesn’t like pictures?

What I’m really trying to get at is this: screens steal our attention. Whether it’s a screen on a gym wall that we’d rather not be there or the screen we pull out of our pocket and illuminate intentionally out of sheer habit, we have a seriously hard time avoiding the impulse to look. But maybe we aught to. Especially if we value our focus and intend to shed it on more important things.. like shoulder workouts.