Honour bound

‘Dishonour is like a scar on a tree, which with time, instead of effacing, only helps to enlarge’ – Bushido maxim

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I quite like this quote, I’m not entirely sure why. I find it alluring in a primal sense, taunting me with perhaps more layers than I am capable of understanding. Still, that doesn’t stop me hauling it out, dusting it off and mulling it over every now and then. Even if I do tend to believe it is quite self righteous to discuss honour in any form or medium.

Isn’t honour one of those concepts that is supposed to be exhibited through action and deed, as opposed to discourse and confabulation? Any person claiming to be honourable, after all, is almost undoubtedly met with, at best scepticism, but more likely, derision.  Best to keep that sort of thing to yourself, lest you grind up against the benchmark of your fellows. Unless of course your people have the same code or value system. In which case, virtue signal away.

Sometimes I pretend to be some deciduous broadleaf… but I am likely one of the more knobbly, gnarled and crooked conifers in the forest. I tend to think of myself as having lots of non-negotiable terms in my life. Which I constantly seem to be breaking. Of course I keep these failings strictly to myself, but moralise and gossip over others failing my own rule set.

‘that mother fucker, driving like a maniac down my quiet suburban street’. Of course when I do it, its totally fine. Justifiable even. -Insert a gazillion examples of hypocrisy here-

Maybe honour is a percentile game? Given the choice between an honourable and the dishonourable action you take the achievement award if you choose correctly 51% of the time? I feel the spirit of the game is more akin to a single instance of wavering on any of the non-negotiables equals immediate disqualification. No take backs, quick saves or starting over.

That is quite serious.

Fortunately the Japanese have another concept I find potentially more appealing. That of Wabi-sabi.

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

This makes my barky exterior much more cheerful.

Seriously…

You guys need to break up.

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RIGHT NOW!

I’d like to think I’m not particularly judgemental about someones personal preference when it comes to the way in which they choose to consume their chocolate, but…

God, its like a car accident…

Slow death by commute

I think work is (mostly) bad for me. A sedentary life style, compounded by being hunched over a laptop all day, working on my carpal tunnel syndrome while basking in the artificial glow of a halogen lamp… but potentially my commute is doing just as much damage to me, if not more.

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Driving in traffic is harrowing for both brain and body. The blood of people who drive in cities is a high-test stew of stress hormones. The worse the traffic, the more your system is flooded with with adrenaline and cortisol, the fight-or-flight juices that, in the short term, get your heart pumping faster, dilate your air passages and help sharpen your alertness, but in the long term can make you ill. It can take as much as an hour to recover the ability to concentrate after a long urban commute. Researchers for Hewlett-Packard convinced volunteers in England to wear electrode caps during their commute and found that whether they were driving or taking the train, peak-hour travelers suffered worse stress than fighter pilots or riot police facing mobs of angry protesters*

*Commuters’ hearts raced at 145 beats per minute, well over double the normal rate. They experienced a surge in cortisol. And, in what was apparently a coping strategy, their brains underwent a bizarre temporary transformation that psychologist David Lewis dubbed ‘commuter amnesia’. Their brains simply shut out stimulus from the outer world, and they forgot about most of the trip as soon as it was over. 

Montgomery, Charles. Happy City. Random Penguin House, 2013

MJ. My biggest concern with my commute was always the ‘Dead-time’. Once I’d remedied that with audio-books and podcasts I thought I could justify this itinerant lifestyle. At least I’m exposing myself to knew ideas I thought… while I’m frying my brain on the way in to work every morning, then caffeinating myself to the point of bare minimum functionality and then frying my brain on the way home again. Five days a week. Totally worth it right?

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‘I’m the man who grabs the sun, riding to Valhalla!’ ‘I live, I die, I live again!’ – Nux. Fury Road.

I am less confident about my life choices these days. :-/