The Golden Age of Meaninglessness


Wasp2One of the hallmarks of the Golden Age of Meaninglessness is that any information can be basically inverted – Whatever is said to happen can be filtered through a range of interpretations to debunk it. It’s not a sunny day; it’s a conspiracy. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s a sunny day.

The machinery of meaninglessness

The default mechanism is that whatever the subject, there’s some dazzling interpretation of it which basically contradicts the information provided. It’s “Did!”/ “Didn’t!” raised to the level of ideology. The effect is meaninglessness, inserted in to any topic.

The creative process coverThis disingenuous approach to anything and everything comes to you courtesy of a collection of pseudo-psychologists who seriously believe that you can’t go and get facts for yourself. It’s the basis of denial, delusion, and delirium in the corporate, political and media environments. It’s also the basis of a global version of Trivial Pursuit, in which any subject bogs down in pedantic quotations of selected information and interpretations.

Consider the various political and “religious” ideologies in which qualification for membership and authority is based on being more rabid and dogmatic than everyone else. These ideologies, if they ever had any basis in fact, are now all about interpretations. That’s meaninglessness on a purely ideological level, debasing any and every political or religious culture.

Tedious as this transparently dishonest process is, there’s another type of meaninglessness which is deeply embedded in modern societies. It’s insidious, accepted, and totally baseless. It’s what I call “lifestyle dictatorship”, the tyranny of absurd norms and restrictive life choices.

Defining meaninglessness

This type of meaninglessness is based on a sort of applied nihilism. Nihilism is the abrogation of all subjects to actual meaninglessness, as follows:

According to a search for “define nihilism” on Google:


noun: nihilism

  1. the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
synonyms: negativity, cynicism, pessimism; More

rejection, repudiation, renunciation, denial, abnegation;

disbelief, non-belief, unbelief, scepticism, lack of conviction, absence of moral values, agnosticism, atheism, non-theism

“he could not accept Bacon’s nihilism, his insistence that man is a futile being”

  • Philosophy

the belief that nothing in the world has a real existence.

Anything may have meaning. Here's a meaningful question - Does reality have to spoon feed people and explain itself, like a lecture? Does it? There's a meaning there.

Anything may have meaning. Here’s a meaningful question – Does reality have to spoon feed people and explain itself, like a lecture? Does it? There’s a meaning there.

Impressive, not very. By extrapolation, it means that you, your life, and the lives of others have no value. Sound familiar?

OK, now a question – How would you enforce this useless, self-proclaimed view of personal existence, which must itself be meaningless, according to its own perspectives?

Easy – Give people only meaningless life models as choices. Turn the world in to a passing parade of fools, living lives based on the most minimal valuations of people’s existence.

This obscenity can be seen everywhere:

  • Politics – Devalue people, and you minimize your responsibilities and liabilities.
  • Insular religions – Devalue life and provide a few unexplained “beliefs” which are made meaningless by their brochure-like superficialities and endless insistence on unprovable logic and dogma.
  • Media – Create a static model of life which is based entirely on ephemera and ennui, like an endless shopping channel of meaningless possessions and aspirations. Value people according to some passing material shopping list, and that’s your range of life choices.
  • Materialism – A house brick is real, but you, your personality and feelings aren’t, according to this uber-repulsive assessment of people. Meaninglessness is built in, a self-negating view of personal reality, based on inanimate objects.

The problems with meaninglessness

There’s a problem with this appallingly bland, lifeless, self-described futile, view of life – It’s entirely wrong. The general suffering is real enough, whatever nihilists claim it to be. Suffering is not meaningless. The word, and the fact, are quite unambiguous.

Happiness is also not meaningless. It’s an equally unambiguous aspiration, an achievement, and a goal. How does that become meaningless, unless you assume that life itself has no value?

The real killer for meaningless is pretty basic – Your personal realities and experiences certainly can’t be meaningless to you. As a strange correlation, denial of those realities and experiences could be called delusive, or insane, depending on how you define insanity.

Now – Add the theory of meaninglessness to your history of experiences. What use is it? Does it explain anything? Does it provide any value to your experiences, or simply denigrate them?

Deconstructing meaninglessness

It’s easy to defuse meaninglessness as a working principle on so many levels:

  • If existence is meaningless, who need religions, politics and media? What use are they?
  • If god created existence, and existence is meaningless, what use is god? A useful religious debate, if anyone can be bothered.
  • How can you be meaningless, if your actions, thoughts and ideas affect others, which is apparently the criteria for “meaning” according to these same materialistic values? Doesn’t that move the meaning of all those life choices and actions in to another, much larger, frame of reference?
  • What is the practical value of meaninglessness, in any context? There is none. There can be none. If meaninglessness = no value, you can’t even claim the idea of meaninglessness to have a value, by exactly the same range of criteria as its own definition.
Beliefs are supposed to mean something. In the Golden Age of Meaninglessness, you get a brochure, not a meaningful belief.

Beliefs are supposed to mean something. In the Golden Age of Meaninglessness, you get a brochure, not a meaningful belief.

I’d like to think nihilism is some sort of hyperbolic joke, largely because it’s so totally unsustainable as an idea for any level of debate. No literate person could take it seriously for a second.  That said – With all the pedants and plodders infesting “thought leadership” these days, it’s quite possible that some illiterates take meaninglessness literally.

The applied form of meaninglessness is pretty obvious. Someone must believe in meaninglessness. Failed societies are OK, because everything and everyone is meaningless? Hypocritical corrupt, destructive religions which abuse every single facet of their own reason for existence are OK, because everything is meaningless?

Mindless media is OK, because people, by definition, don’t have meaningful lives, right? Therefore, a ridiculous perception of life is OK, because there’s no such thing as meaningful life, right? People can continue to model their existences on whatever load of unspeakable rehashed crap you can be bothered inflicting on them, right? Life is a sitcom or a game show, and people should simply accept those stringently enforced roles, right?

The hell you say.

Put it this way – Your existence is not negotiable, or arguable. You exist, and whatever your existence involves, it’s all yours. It’s not subject to anyone else’s approval, let alone cookie cutter definitions. What you do with it, and the meanings you find in it, are up to you.

As a working exercise, look at every single thing you do, and see if it’s meaningless or not.

That’s the only real value of meaninglessness – To learn how to avoid it.

www.sydneymediajam.comReaders – As per previous, still not able to publish on SMJ. Now seriously considering migrating the site to this blog; might be a lot less aggravating.


Custom careers – Succeed on your own terms


Wasp2The days when people flocked to professions are ending, rather subtly, but quite noticeably. In the past, there were tides of accountants, lawyers, managers, and IT people. This was the conventional thinking about “a good job”, not “the right job”. The payoff was inevitable – Lots of people in jobs where they couldn’t perform. The new way is custom careers, made for individuals.

Custom careers are all about positioning. They’re the cure for career stagnation and highly competitive in any job environment.

They’re also the result of the evolution of the job market. The job market has basically killed the traditional career models. Just as well. Some people loathed the jobs in which they worked hard for years to get degrees. Some were so unsuited they couldn’t face the competition for people who were going for the jobs right for them. Not everyone is born to be an accountant, lawyer, manager, or IT person.

The right job is the one where your skills are truly above average. You will perform well, consistently, for decades. In the wrong job, you simply can’t perform to your full capacity, in some cases barely anything like it. A supposedly good job can be a career death trap.

So begins the era of custom careers. These are careers tailored to the individual, playing to proven strengths. I’ve been writing employment stuff for so long I’m tired of saying this, but I’ll say it one more time:

Fit the job to the person, not the person to the job.

A_Career_in_Characte_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIYou’d think by now, with endless studies dating back to the 50s, that aptitude and motivation would have at least some roles in basic job design. The fact is that the disastrous generic cookie cutter approach remains, in all its useless grandeur.

The fact is that people have to distinguish themselves to get meaningful, productive career jobs. This is a standard feature of basic career advisories since forever, and the lesson isn’t being extrapolated much, if at all. Many success stories start with a person suddenly showing skills far beyond those of some menial, low-grade job.


Miraculously, this person, who is put in a position to do something they’re actually good at, turns in to an overachiever.

Now think of the billions of people in positions where they’d rather be doing something else. How are these people supposed to achieve anything? What’s the point of employing a great sales person as a mere number-cruncher in some abysmal back room?

Enter custom careers

Job page 16The best way to get a job is to show real ability, backed up by performance. Most people can barely show basic answers to basic interview questions. The people who get jobs as if they’re eating cornflakes are specifically in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time, and playing entirely to their strengths. When asked what are their weaknesses, they can say they don’t have weaknesses, in all honesty.

A lot of training, in fact, is basic marketing, but with a realistic side, for a change – This isn’t about Rent an Interview Cliché; it’s about actual performance and unique abilities. The successful interviewees are basically experts, who work in roles where their skills are given a lot of space to evolve. They overachieve as a result of positioning, not luck.

Meanwhile, the employment sector is diversifying in myriad ways, many in career zones which didn’t even exist last generation. The corporate IT guy is a businessperson, as well as an IT expert. The top sales guy has a professional network that makes the UN look like a cottage workshop. They have distinct individual status, not “herd” status.

Job page 23Nor does the employment sector need the herd-people any more. Technology and dashboard management will wipe out the mainstream employment market for generic roles. The nameless gnomes will disappear as if they’d never been. This move from generalist skill sets to advanced custom skill sets is highly productive, and unavoidable.

The new mode is based on “portfolio careers”, but extrapolated. A portfolio career mode is an ongoing showcase; it’s highly relevant, and upgrades the status of those job applicants from supplicants to high quality real options for employers. Job applicants, in fact, can promote themselves up the career chain infinitely faster using the portfolio method than by trudging aimlessly through the job-getting jungle.

The benefits of custom careers in practice

Consider two job applicants:

Job page 15Applicant A is the epitome of a portfolio custom career specialist. This person is genuinely good at what they do, exceptionally so, and has made a point of patiently creating a truly remarkable portfolio. Applicant A isn’t a talkfest in progress; quite the opposite, this is the sort of person who can hold an intelligent interview, talk to pros on their own level, and bring a few container loads to the table in terms of actual capabilities.

Applicant B is no dummy, either. B’s problem isn’t skills, or capacity. B is anyone’s idea of a good employee, in terms of work quality and performance. The problem is being in a lower grade role where a raft of skills lose their currency and relevance over time, and the job doesn’t allow for much achievement. Spreadsheet-taming is a useful skill, but not a dramatic “we need this person” skill. B’s career model is basically a straitjacket. The role restricts opportunities severely; B may be a competent accountant or a good baseline engineer, but can’t really show high quality skills.

The creative process coverNo surprise that A will always beat B in any interview. A has been using positioning to get better jobs and a much more interesting range of performance and achievements. A may not even be much better than B in core roles, but can show achievements where B can’t. A has never had a dead end job; B has had nothing but.

You can see how customizing B’s career would be a life saver. Instead of being doomed to oblivion based on doing “whatever” jobs, B can turn this around with doing things like project management, freelancing, or other roles where the achievements stack up and deliver a good presentation. B creates a custom portfolio, specifically designed to improve career prospects and options.

The personal side of custom careers

There’s another reason why B should get out of custom mode, and it’s personal. A talented person in an undemanding role is usually pretty frustrated on a very personal level. B is competent, and watching the years flash by while making only minor steps forward is an appalling experience for any competent person.

My other saying:

Talent makes no deals.

Negotiating with yourself in an attempt to make yourself believe that predestined mediocrity is good enough simply can’t work, on any level. Nobody believes that. Why would you? B is a realist; something has to change, and repositioning in to a custom mode is the best option. B is also less than keen to have their career options keep getting blown out of the water by current and future generations of As, who always seem to get the jobs.

B, rightly, reassesses skills and career positioning. Result, a custom career, based entirely on strong talents and strengths. B may even go right outside the current employment model, and put to work their talents in preferred roles where exceptionally good performance is based entirely on talent. It’s a much better move than following turgid career path theories.

I hope you’ve found this perspective useful. I can tell you from years of experience in the international job market that it’s no accident that the As of this world succeed on their own terms. It’s not luck or nepotism, either. Talented people are valuable; proof of talent is proof of value.

Customizing your career to play to your major skills, talents and personal preferences is a much better, much more agile, approach to a very tricky job market. It’s also the best way to make sure you go for the right jobs to promote the career you want, not the career-killers.

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Readers note – Sydney Media Jam site still down with old stuff on it, thanks to publishing issues. Trying to fix.



In praise of a non-existent democracy 2016


Wasp2Democracy is as much a part of the mind as a physical fact. The acceptance of democratic principles is essential to its existence. The machinery of democracy, in fact, must be understood to be useful. Arguably, the only country to make any sort of serious effort to put these principles into practice was the United States of America.

It’s hardly any surprise that voter turnouts are so low and that the American people have lost faith in the entire political establishment. The ridiculous spectacle of a Congress which rarely if ever passes legislation doesn’t need any description. This institution is no longer a house of democracy. It’s a house of degenerative social diseases, literally based on a degenerating/necrotic society.

Politics has nothing to do with democracy. Modern politics is the art of making a living creating issues and claiming to solve them, while dividing voters. Politics, in fact, puts limits on democracy. As if there were only ever two solutions to any problem. As if only those particular people were the best qualified to solve problems and manage a nation.

Who needs reality anyway, when you've got American media?

Who needs reality anyway, when you’ve got American media?

If the experiment has failed, it’s through lack of understanding and lack of education. The founding fathers of America were educated, innovative people. Their successors have been progressively less educated in terms of democratic principles, anything but innovative, (exceptions being Lincoln and the two Roosevelts) and so much smaller-minded.

America as interpreted by pedants, cowards, hypocrites and shills is hardly a work of genius. It’s more like a series of excuses for itself. The greatness has been replaced by garrulousness, the excellence by evasion, and the decency by delirium.

The core competence in management of issues appears to have been outlawed, too. Experts warn, professionals advise, facts are available instantly, the public howls, but the mistakes are now inevitable. Some might call it “enforced stupidity”. It’s as if great care is taken to make sure that all the most disastrous mistakes possible in any given scenario are made.

Cockroaches cannot be expected to create great works of art. Nor can they be expected to understand them. They certainly can’t be expected to uphold some of the highest principles ever considered by humanity.

Are we poor enough yet page 8The failure of American democracy can be attributed to a combination of lack of comprehension overall in combination with serial abuse by quite possibly the most disgusting groups of individuals ever to pretend to be human beings.

Even the idea of public representation is now a sort of obscene joke. There is no possibility of democracy at all in an institutionalized fraud. The nation has become a sewer of self-interest and outright crime, specifically at the expense of democracy. Who guards the guardians? Nobody, in fact.

However, that’s not what this article is about. These nauseating specimens of butt-ugly, talking stupidity incarnate will get all the analysis they deserve from history. The subject is democracy.

(My sympathy to the future historians required to take these hideous vermin seriously. May I suggest keeping a machete handy to reduce stress?)

Didn't know that, eh?

Didn’t know that, eh?

Democracy is supposedly the theory and practice of representation of human needs and interests on a rational basis. The American constitution is a truly remarkable document. It’s almost a living thing. Every time America violates these principles, it gets its head kicked, severely.

If that message hasn’t sunk in, it may be because the principles are considered sacred, not seen as what they’re supposed to be – Practical, working things in motion. They’ve become abstracts, revered like Madonnas, rather than seen as operational requirements. Worse, the current culture now does the exact opposite of the original principles on a routine basis. That’s the main reason nothing works – The original democracy wasn’t designed to destroy itself.

Job title page and linkIt’s sad to have to define a formerly great democracy by what it isn’t. Even the very start of the Constitution has been negated. A contrast between the terms used at the start of the Constitution and the facts will do as an illustration:

We hold these truths to be self-evident- To the point of actively refusing to accept them at all and denying their existence.

That all men are created equal- Just not their rights to even basic things.

Dedicated– Dedicated to denial of the entire Constitution and amendments.

Life– Minimum wage, poverty and an existence without even basic security isn’t life. It’s a systemic insult.

Liberty– How can you have liberty in a verbose, sleazy, insane social coma?

The pursuit of happiness – Not, however, the actual or even theoretical possibility of attainment of it, which is virtually illegal unless you’re a lobbyist, a Wall Street gerbil or an actual organised criminal/politician.

There’s no need to belabour the obvious. Those principles, if understood at all, would make understanding democracy very simple. The fact that they’re apparently understood to the point of systematic evasion of them simply defines the issues.

Capitalism and democracy – Redefining a relationship

A brief, but necessary digression- Did capitalism cause this situation?

The creative process coverShort answer, no. Not of itself. Old capitalists, going all the way back to Adam Smith, understood how the wealth of societies created individual wealth. Their theories, in fact, created the American society, and made it work, to a very large degree. The American middle class was the wealthiest single society ever to exist. A combination of Keynes and Friedman did it. This was the basis of the working economics which built a super power from a few straggly states.

Modern capitalists, thanks largely to dogma and self-serving ideologies, have completely reversed the whole idea. Nowhere in any capitalist theory does it say “Send everyone else broke”, but that’s their working mode of operation. A triumph of apocalyptic mediocrity. It destroyed the middle class and severely damaged the capital base which built and maintained America pre-Nutcase Era.

The byproducts of the current system, however, have a lot to do with the destruction of American democracy. In an Enron-like daze, simple minded people with large amounts of money make endless blunders. The waste alone is bigger than the entire US economy of the World War 2 era.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of more bills to pay is democracy?

Are we poor enough yet page 11If modern Americans, unlike their predecessors, are simply bill paying machines vested with life and liberty, the reasons are simple enough. You need to be alive and at liberty, or at least not arrested, to pay bills.

Adorable as this may seem, the democratic issues are a little more complex. How do you uphold the tenets of life and liberty, while denying people the pursuit of anything but the gigantic holes in their bank statements? Doesn’t work, does it?

At no point in recent history has the avalanche of added costs of living even been questioned, let alone managed, by democratic government. The most basic point of rising living costs, that they simply force more added costs, has yet to even be referred to as a problem, let alone solved.

Quality of life and democracy

Are we poor enough yet 14 - Copy“Quality of life” used to be a working, meaningful, phrase in sociology. (For young readers under the age of 65- Sociology was a science back when people actually existed. It’s now without a subject. If you see one, hand it in.) It was a sort of qualifier to the theory of progress. Now, it’s not even a subject for discussion. What could be more normal than wearing a few stray bullets in a corpselike job which barely pays for your food?

What, you ask, from your carefully constructed palatial domicile of KFC buckets, does this have to do with democracy? Well, everything. One of the better known and most abused tenets of American democracy runs like this:

“Give me your poor, your sick, your huddled masses…”. This was the theory that America would give such people a decent life. Now, people can’t afford to be poor or sick, and huddling is extremely expensive. Even the basic idea of a decent life has wound up in a genetically modified hamburger somewhere, with the likely future of a hamburger, unless some constipated miracle takes place.

The idea of America was truly great. The result is pathetic, at this point in time. It’s an insult to the idea.

May I suggest, to enhance the prosperity of America:

  • A national betting system based on possible future disasters.
  • A serious attempt to locate the American public by news media and other hobbyists. There were quite a few of them. They may have fallen down behind the sofa, or something.
  • A tentative proposal placed before Congress to formally admit the nation called the United States actually exists in the physical world and requires to be taken seriously, not just taken to the cleaners with every speech.
  • An at least half-hearted attempt to discover whether commuters, fast food people and office workers are actually alive. Someone should know. If they are, they can be “democratically ignored”. Wouldn’t that be fun?

America- A great idea while it existed. Maybe it’ll happen again one day? It was an actual democracy for a while there, for all its faults.

www.sydneymediajam.comReaders please note – Haven’t been able to update SMJ website for a while due to Yahoo organizational changes. Will keep trying.







Realism, the great excuse for everything


Wasp2Realism is a sort of ideal, based, ironically, on interpretations of reality, rather than reality. The hard case realists insist on solid information – If it suits them. If it doesn’t, they’ll insist on principles, which are usually not solids, except in the minds of self-proclaimed realists.

Realism is also a great excuse for describing other views as unrealistic. Realists can be surprisingly selective about what is considered real. There are few things more real than a real opinion, but what the hey, the other guy may not have a gun.

American Valhalla page 20Ironically, one of the great bugbears of realists is the future, which is frequently described as non-existent fantasy by realists. What matters is this second, right? You don’t care if there’s a next year, do you? The future is an unavoidable reality, whatever it may be, but that’s no reason to take it seriously.

After all, what have the 27th of April 2019, the 9th of March 2164, or the due date on your loan repayments ever done for you? What matters is what you can hold in your hands, like bills, garbage, and transcripts of your court case.

One of the most interesting things about realism is the choice of perspective. Reality is viewed in as many ways as there are people. It’s inevitable. Arguably, actual reality is the same thing, regardless of how it’s perceived. That detail hasn’t stopped people choosing which way to look at it.

To explain; let’s use two common but very different perspectives as examples:

Job page 20Immediate realism – This tends to be very subjective and inventory-like. Everything is looked at as it is at that moment. Values are added, sometimes literally.This is a short term perspective, and the short focus is like looking at an object from 5mm away.

It’s great for those with “an eye for detail”, because there’s nothing much to look at but details. This short-term view of reality deals almost entirely with current information. You may admit, grudgingly, that the 9th of March 2164 may exist in future, but just look at that little stain on the carpet in grid 284…!

My books, oddly, are about endless different realities. No wonder they don't sell.

My books, oddly, are about endless different realities. No wonder they don’t sell.

Broad spectrum realism – This is the exact opposite of immediate reality. It includes just about anything which is perceived. It tends to be much less detail-focused, look at things from a distance and predict. This is basically a big picture/reality in progress perspective, if sometimes a pretty blurry one. Values are variable and can be changed, upgraded or downgraded, or simply not given. The possibility of there being a 9th of March 2164 is factored in happily, and the little stain on the carpet is generally ignored because it’s believed to be fixable without actually building a new civilization and killing all non-believers.

These two perspectives don’t usually understand each other at all. Immediate reality buffs see the broad spectrum as irrelevant. Broad spectrum reality buffs see immediate reality as a process, with many possible factors affecting it.

In fairness to both perspectives, many people are trained to see reality these ways. The important things are learned, not personally analyzed. It can take quite a while to develop a perspective on reality that you actually trust. The immediate reality person may honestly believe that the stain on the carpet is a threat to their social status. The broad spectrum reality person may consider the 9th of March 2164 a significant date, if they have information which makes it a real issue.

Realism and excuses

Reality is a surprisingly effective source of excuses for ignoring it. Some people insist that only their perspective is correct. That’s the classic, totally wrong, excuse for denigrating the realities and perceptions of others.

Didn't know that, eh?

Didn’t know that, eh?

True reality, whether anyone likes it or not, is always an actual state of existence. The excuse in this case for ignoring it or revaluing it to suit personal views is all about liking it. Therefore, the perspective becomes the default reality, regardless of facts, possibilities, or other intrusive things. Will the universe change color because you’d like it to be a nice shade of chartreuse? Probably not.

The future, sadly, is also an easy excuse. It’s easier to use something that doesn’t yet exist as an excuse, simply because there’s less information about that reality. The notorious idea of Progress Uber Alles in the 20th century was based entirely on a media image of reality; not a single fact. That, in turn, instantly made the future fictional according to some perspectives, to be ignored. We’re seeing the result of this doublethink now.

Thatcher’s “children’s children’s children” are a collection of unemployed, angst-ridden, semi-suicidal drunks with a far lower standard of living than the time at which that statement was made. The excuse in this case was a pseudo-vision of the future based on pure rhetoric, based on nothing at all in fact, and it was a sort of political article of faith, like “user pays” and “nanny state”, regardless of any practical considerations.

Who needs reality anyway, when you've got American media?

Who needs reality anyway, when you’ve got American media?

So reality is an excuse to depart from it at the slightest opportunity? Not really. Realism, in practice, has to be realistic to mean a damn thing. Possibilities are real; that doesn’t mean they’re facts. Facts are real; that doesn’t mean they’re much fun for anyone, or easy to manage.

What reality lacks in tact, it makes up for with information. Like the friend who’ll tell you you’re killing cattle 20 miles downwind because your deodorant isn’t working, it simply points things out. It even helps with observations – That runaway truck smashing in to traffic going the other way might be a problem. A planet full of toxic/unknown materials could be dangerous.

Subtle, isn’t it? The obvious is sometimes a better assessment of reality than theory, for some reason. Excuses, in many cases are the antitheses of reality. What reality teaches is observation, not omniscience.

Next time an excuse comes a-callin’, tell it to make an appointment. Or kick its head in. Better to trust an unbiased observation than an excuse, any day.


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The dynamics of social insanity networks


Wasp2There seems to be some sort of perceived “mystery” about how so many utterly useless people come to be running major issues around the world. It’s really quite simple, and the resulting social insanity is a natural product of its dynamics.

The mechanics of this process follow from the never to be sufficiently damned theory of “social IQ”. On the basis of this theory, getting tuberculosis is a social positive, mainly because everyone else is doing it, and you can relate better to people by getting the disease yourself. You’re more credible if you’re rotting away with the crowd.

The diagram below is a different type of flow chart. The elements in networks are a selection of basic, easily recognizable, types. Connections can be systematic or random. They may occur in several groups or just a few. (Sorry, maths guys, got a bit tired of the idea that networks are based on natural connections. There’s nothing natural about these elements in the network.) I couldn’t include all the sub-groups, obviously.

Dynamics of social insanityAs you can see, you don’t even need raving lunatics, corporate hangers-on or others to form a very messy network with any range of possible effects on societies. A few groups can create their own networks. Technically this is called an ad hoc network.

The drivers for the selection below are a sort of synthesis, a committee-like grouping of types. Each has their own reasons for being part of this network. They use their own groups as networks, which become sub-networks in this greater network of networks.

Each group has a function which defines it within the network. Parasites may include criminals, shills, fraudulent spruikers, PR, politicians, etc. The working dynamic at inception is that none of these groups have any natural opposition to each other. They can work together. They have natural roles in such a group.

By rights, most of these groups would qualify as having serious psychological and existential issues which would qualify them for welfare support and shelters. They’re like social eunuchs, able only to work in friendly environments. The heavyweights in their professions are outside the groups, mainly because they don’t need their support.

The art of being a Somebody front coverThe numbers game, however, creates a platform where individual performances would create only contempt. Groups, however ridiculous, have traction where individually pitiful jerks don’t. Ironically, or perhaps naturally, the recognition of their lack of personal power acts as the catalyst for group formation.

The result is social insanity. The least qualified, personally or professionally, receive credibility where they could never otherwise expect it. A dribbling buffoon of commerce, for example, despised by the real market, can become a somebody in these environments.

The social status whores are a natural fit in this sort of network. They may have nothing to do with the network’s activities, but they’re participants, delivering verbiage and bile to reinforce their own images, therefore contributing to the network as a whole.

There are some natural network members. The most tedious plodders, too, those who can bore rocks to death with their appearance alone, also find a home in this ecology of the execrable.  They need that home, because they’re the also-rans in natural groups. They’re the hostile gut flora of societies, spreading their tiresome, turgid toxins in a sheltered place. The joke is that their dogmatic drivel often becomes the sole record of their “thinking” and record keeping.

Wanderlaugh_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIThe result, of course, is a decision making process dictated by those who are mediocrities by definition, leading to social insanity.

Social insanity can be defined as deliberately doing what’s worst for the society, particularly on a regular basis. Mismanagement cripples societies. It has destroyed whole civilizations.

It is possible that these networks seriously believe they’re making correct decisions, but delusions tend to be like that. These decision makers tend to be purely machine-people, delivering the products of the network(s). Denialists are often part of networks like these, professional career liars who seriously believe in their statement that black is white and expect others to believe it. Academic cowards, who never disagree with anyone senior or able to destroy them with a sneer, add a veneer of opaque respectability to otherwise transparent bull on gigantic scales.

Note also that this is an almost completely decentralized network. There’s no single point of attack to kill it entirely. The individual elements, down to the individuals themselves, can survive the end of a network or major networks. They simply graft themselves on to other groups.

What’s needed is a vaccine, preferably based on proofs and logic. The one weak point of networks of this kind is their total inability to deliver consistent logic or manage emerging situations. Like most parasitic organisms, they need a host, not new environmental dangers. They don’t adapt well to innovation or new elements in their areas of interest.

If you’re thinking of joining one of these networks, never come anywhere near this blog again. I’m training it to immunize itself against social insanity.




A few comments on watching “fake” wrestling on YouTube


Wasp2For many years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching wrestling. On YouTube, however, the comments are all about “fake” wrestling. Wanna make a comparison?


Gadzooks, already.

“Fake” wrestling?

Let’s explore this theory a bit. There’s a lot to be said about it, all bad:

  • As everyone knows, all other media, including the news, is 100% legit.
  • All Hollywood movies are performed under oath for authenticity. Star Wars is actually a documentary, made in real time. (Thank you, Carrie Fisher, but otherwise…)
  • All TV shows are performed on the same basis. Everything is real.
  • All you need to do to get a straight, unbiased version of the news is to watch FOX or listen to any politician. No fakery there.
  • No pro athletes and teams make money out of lousy, boring, decade-long performances.
  • People do not actually fake anything in real life – Everyone is 100% legit, and nobody ever puts on an act.

How naive can you get? That naive.

Then there’s the fight fan version:

  • MMA and UFC are “real fighting” – Maybe so, maybe not, but check out the difference between the real champs and the fist-food they usually fight.
  • How many of these people actually have long careers? Not many if any, and they tend to get pretty lame and sad at the end.
  • How many of the thousands of fighters do you actually remember? Just about anyone can reel off a long list of wrestlers, but not these guys.
  • How many put in a good performance? You get 1-2 good fights per week, and more than a few walkovers.
  • Brock Lesnar, a pro wrestler extraordinaire, went over to UFC and won the title fair and square. Sufficient on that subject.
  • Boxing is famous for its “controversial” super-short matches at great expense to attendees and the betting fraternity.
  • Do pro fighters of any kind ever throw fights? Guess.
  • UFC and MMA are also media. They’re products, not morals in rings. Or do you just naturally assume all media other than pro wrestling is real?
  • Compare the original ECW with anything called “fighting”. Which is better? Why? ECW included things like broken necks, etc., but that’s hardly as exciting as a spot of blood on some fighting furball today, is it? Mick Foley’s missing ear is pretty real, too, and so on.
  • People are trained to take falls in wrestling… And pro fighters aren’t? Every type of fighting teaches falls. The hospitals are full of fully trained people who took falls and didn’t get up afterwards.

The entertainment factor in wrestling

Let’s clarify something here – “Entertainment” is not supposed to be a synonym for “Super-Crap”. Wrestling was doing “reality”, and doing it better, long before the TV industry, in so many ways. Wrestling is also pro standard entertainment. It’s fun, it’s basically nuts, and it’s well done. It’s also pretty creative at the slightest excuse.

It’s interesting to watch, just about all the time. Also interesting to me is that the more creative it gets, the better it gets. The McMahon family, in particular, have got themselves in some pretty damn strange situations for no better reason than I can see than they love doing it.

The people have a lot to do with that. One of the things that first fascinated me was that I’d never seen athletes with actual personalities before, real or imaginary. The wrestlers are actually very articulate, which is a lot more than can be said for the mumbling messes of “real fighting” media.

Real wrestling

To perform in a ring as a wrestler, you need something other codes don’t have – The trust of the other wrestlers. A running bulldog or body slam can easily put you in a neck brace for the rest of your life, particularly if the person delivering is a big guy. I saw a guy on a bus one day whose entire face was one side 100% black bruise. Reason? A single elbow shot. Getting thrown out of a ring can turn you in to human origami.

The sheer number of possible injuries with more complex moves is no minor calculation. For people over 200 lb, mass + velocity = very real risks… And that’s just when things are being done properly. When things go wrong, they can turn very nasty in medical terms. If you fall off when you’re standing on a chair, you can do real damage. If someone happens to throw you off a ladder, your chances are drastically increased.

This is the obvious, in fact. Don’t try this at home because the odds are very good you’ll kill yourself. No other form of pro sport has to broadcast that message. You don’t hear that message on football, MMA, or UFC, and by rights, you should.

Wrestling culture

It took me a while to find out that the offstage stuff is just as crazy, or more so, than the stuff on the screen. There are egos, jokes, tantrums, bitchiness, motormouth writers blabbing about next week’s show, and more. Some of it is truly funny, and some of it makes you wonder how these people manage to work together at all. My guess is that you’d have to know how to keep your cool, and be good at it, to make a career as a wrestler.

For example:

  • Vader on the subject of someone getting stabbed by another wrestler, said that he put his finger in the stab wound to stop the bleeding while they got help. Fake, eh? Consider why a situation like that might occur. How do you fake a stab wound, and put your finger in it?
  • Tommy Dreamer on the subject of the Sandman dying – Dreamer said that Rhyno, the ECW champion and prime mover with legs, burst in and told him, “Sandman died, but he’s OK now”. The Sandman, ECW Mr Hardcore, had technically died, but been revived – And went on to wrestle afterwards that same day. True story, told by a guy who had it dropped on him while he was in charge of things.
  • Sid Justice and his snapped leg – He’s coming off the top rope, and his left leg suddenly points itself at right angles to the rest of itself. I’d never even heard of something like that happening before. On video, it’s a pretty sickening sight. Fake? Nope.
  • Tazz of ECW/WWE, on the subject of his broken neck, said that he walked to the hospital and was told that he couldn’t possibly have walked to the hospital with a broken neck. Broken necks are pretty hard to fake to people with X ray machines.
  • When I was a kid growing up, the original Chief Little Wolf came to Melbourne. A couple of bozos from the local Saturday night fights society started hassling him. He nearly killed them. The locals appreciated his contribution to better Saturday nights out.

Since then I’ve watched whole generations come and go, from Killer Kowalski to Roman Reigns, and I’ll keep watching. It never gets dull. Real fans love it, and let’s face it, there’s nothing else like it.

So, some YouTube videos:

Ever see an entire crowd sing along at the top of their voices with Metallica? Enter the Sandman.

The famous Hell in a Cell match between Foley and the Undertaker – At the start of the video, a kid yells out, “Don’t fall!”.

Picture quality varies, use HD.


How to annoy people with a book excerpt – Part 1


www.sydneymediajam.comThe truth is that my books are about things that interest me. I can only get so interested in current and historical insanity before my attention quite rightly wanders away. Stupidity isn’t my favorite subject, and I have better things to do with my time than contribute to it. I also feel the need to inflict a book excerpt or several on people,therefore this blog.

Hence also a large number of books. The Threat-Hamster series is set in eternity, with infinite subject matter. So there. That gives me a lot of space to wander around and explore ideas. The other books are my takes on various subjects, including experience. This appeals to my dictatorial streak. It’s also the basis of an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while; a horror story based on a world run by writers.

I will say that if anyone has 1% of the fun reading these books that I had writing them, they’re a good deal, even at these prices. My books, if purchased in sufficient quantities, can be used to build shanty towns, and other infrastructure as required.

A word of caution at this point – Some of these books are carnivorous. You’ll know which ones after the first few fatalities. They’ve even been known to bring down water buffalo. Not easy to do in Sydney, but they really put in a lot of effort. Just distract them with a steak or a salesperson, and they’ll be OK indoors.

Ads book excerpt:

Ads_Cover_for_KindleDJ: That’s what a really crappy CD being thrown through a window sounds like in Spring. Stick around for the other seasons. Now, we have a caller. That’s interesting, because we despise talkback people and usually chop them up and sell them to people who hate goldfish…. What’s the problem, mate, missing arse, face unfortunately situated on head, nostrils need mowing…?

Voice: I’m Bruce? All of the above, in a way? I’m trying to find Our Nigel? I rang you because he likes to listen to people yelling? He’s English? He went out for a sandwich and we never saw him again? Ooh I’m worried? Weren’t you ever worried? You should be, I saw your photo in the paper? Who does your hair, Arnotts?

DJ: Yeah…. it’s the Ginger Nut In Denial Look…. Takes hours…. He’s a Pom, and you’re trying to find him? Doesn’t sound very likely. What does he look like, and why? Have you seen any suspicious sandwiches?

Bruce (warmly, like a railway station late train announcement in love) He’s getting pattern baldness, and he’s skinny except for his beer gut? He has this big nose and it’s always red…or green? You could try vaccination for the hair?

The Threat-Hamster Papers book excerpt:

Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverHe got a computer and started writing biographies of hamburgers that sailed the seven seas looking for livers. He wrote terrible indictments of heartless mayonnaise that forsook poor little hamburgers on their wedding night. He became addicted to ketchup. The staff found it necessary to restrain him from breaking out and attacking the onion patch outside his window.

He was eventually cured.

Sarketiste, in its wisdom, found a Grown from Vienna with experience in Hamburger Trauma. This Grown had the bedside manner of a dentist with a backhoe. Its name was Dessicata Arschwunder.

“Ach, der kleine narr has eaten off zer Feral Burger, ja? Ve shall haf to try zer Aversion Derapy mit der Grosses Osterreicher Plunger und der Sennapods den Krieg und der Burger-Abwehr Ethik.”

Filth was Plunged, fed Sennapods and shown photos and videos of hamburgers in unethical situations. Burgers pursuing lives of dissolute immorality. Burgers with a passion for flan pastry. Burgers hiding in meringues. Burgers becoming property developers. Burgers lurking in cups of tea. Burgers as corporate vermin.

(Excuse my pidgin German. The trouble is that it looks so much more authentic this way.)

Mimbly Tales book excerpt:

Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPIThe Great Priest eventually subsided, after taxing the limited patience of the Celts further than would ever be safe under ordinary circumstances. They wanted to hear O’Neill refute this tonnage of golden manure, and they were sure the Crow and the Horse were there for a reason.

O’Neill was brief. He was brief largely because he’d been watching the Crow, which hadn’t moved since it arrived on the edge of the stage. The Horse was also quite still.

“Thank you, Great Priest, for that revealing speech.” Any irony was lost on the Roman, who had only now noticed the Crow. It seemed to be a very large bird, and it was looking at him intently.

“As I understand it, one difference between our beliefs is that we can see our gods, while yours defies vision. Is that correct?”

“His body is gold, and all gold is his life. My chair is his vehicle, made of his flesh on this world.” He managed to miss the remark about being able to see gods, while not answering the question, either. Good technique.

This didn’t appear to surprise O’Neill.

“So if we see gold, we see in part your Golden God?”


“Gold is truly a precious and incorruptible metal, yet it may be worked, may it not?”

“To meet the inscrutable purposes of the God, it may.”

“You will have noticed that there is a large Crow perched on the stage. In our belief it is the emissary of the goddess, Macha.”

The priest smiled indulgently. He didn’t know how to smile any other way. He then realized that there was, actually, something odd about a crow which had evidently come to listen to a spiritual debate.

Wanderlaugh book excerpt

Wanderlaugh_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIA starving man looks for a piano. A loving woman reads a book. A lonely, thoughtful, child finds a place. An idea sneaks into a painting for safety. A cold wind warms a wandering mind. Depth of mind searches for depth of soul. A song travels through history, un-aged. Somewhere in every musical instrument is a meaningful God. In the storms of the languages is something called Love. In the unspeakable fury of life is the incredible strength of Truth.

No tear ever says enough. Death never kills anything. The passage of time is just a version of what can be. It’s never the whole story. Without light, darkness is meaningless, a mere absence. With light, darkness adds to it. Life never confines itself. Ideas breed thoughts like bacteria, and thoughts breed ideas like elephants.

What is the scale of being? How big is reality? Why is a beautiful woman blinding? What does it mean, that emotions can be more real than solid objects? What does a child mean? Who’s braver, the artist or the art? Why is playing music so much like flying?

Laughter destroys the most pretentious of fools. Laughter creates life. To laugh is to live. Love and laughter are inseparable. Truth and laughter are good friends. No theory is immune to either. No misery survives a real laugh.

Wander on, my Wanderlaugh.

…You can see why these books would want to go out and hunt things. Next logical step, really. The most accurate character description of me (that I know of) is that I sell these books to actual people. Ethics? I’m a writer! What would I do with an ethic, take it for walks?

Check out my books on Amazon on the menu above.

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Terminology for the Age of Stupidity


Wasp2What the world really needs now in this fabulous age when comprehension is becoming so tiresome is more terminology. The best terminology  is light, spreadable, and impossible to digest in any form. This is terminology which causes your socks to run screaming out in to the night. Terminology which shames pandemics in to greater efforts.

Better still, it can be used by total morons in conversation for no reason at all.

So here it is:

Absurd – Alleged humanity in the 21st century

Academia – Form of accountancy, previously requiring vibrators

Apathy – A method of doing business which allows the talentless to thrive.

Appease – Bother to look like you’re paying attention

Arts – The unacceptable risks of mental stimulus or expression

Antagonism – Your relationship with that thar world-thingy ‘n thtuff.

Belief – A form of proprietary hypocrisy with deductions, wars, and pedophiles

Celebrity – A method of making the non-existent look interesting

Cliché – Employment program for media gurus

Comedy – Social policy, political spin, or dire, humorless bastard in front of camera

Conversation – Method of evading issues and thereby causing conflicts

Death – Luxury item, prohibited unless you save up for it

Depraved – If not actually a lobbyist, a new kindergarten naughty word for business.

Depression – A great way of subsidizing corporate megalomaniacs on a daily basis

Disease – A blessing upon the sainted makers of pharmaceuticals

Economics – Raffle for the illiterate and the credulous with no prizes

Education – Synonym for non-existent

Employment – Excuse for not having a life and not being able to afford anything

Environment – Game of hide and seek between consenting idiots

EQ – Egalitarian way of grovelling your way through another day

Facts – Horrible things that prevent parasites from making more money

Finance – Medication for organized crime

Fulfillment – Some misspelled post-it note somewhere giving a reason for living

Hardware – Principle of including useless gadgets to assist money laundering

Health – Excuse for ridiculous prices and even more ridiculous politicians

Hollywood – An institution dedicated to finding work for millionaires

Honesty – Ancient behavior mode

Housing – Ha!

I – Irresponsibly used pronoun; very few people can actually explain what it means.

Ignorance – Franchise product, confers sexual potency on the useless

Incompetence – Compulsory learned process, skill set for everybody

Innovation – Somebody else’s ideas, someone else’s talent, monetized

Intelligence – Use only as directed by your inner moron

Interesting – Threat to global comatose state

Is – Selective verb used to describe your latest lie

Isn’t – Desperate defence of your latest lie

Life – Tacky reason for advertising

Media buying – A way of paying 10 times more for unspeakable crap

Management science – Academic way of talking the world to death for no reason

Misery – Industry based on chat shows and sleazy never-prosecuted vermin

Nepotism – Working theory and practice of incompetence at personal level

No – A valuable verbal contribution to any situation, however critical

Pabulum – Style guide

Peasant – Everybody/culture/society

Plagiarism – The only thing standing between media publishers and recognition of reality

Politics – A more efficient, much more expensive, marketable form of malaria

Poverty – Expensive hobby

Prestigious – More irritating than usual, with publicists

Psychology/psychiatry – Synonyms for “Huh?”

Putrid – Soon to be a prime time series

Relationship – A binding agreement between parties to annoy the hell out of each other

Relevance – Means of extorting half-witted commentaries

Religion – Method of preventing God or anything else from getting a word in

Ridiculous – Implying that anyone knows what they’re doing

Sincerity – Accidental event involving honesty

Social media – Contradiction in terms

Shock jock – Word association used to prevent watchers and listeners realizing they have their own lives

Student – Subject of oppressive experiments, see use-by date on head

Suicide – Implied part of most job descriptions

Terrorism – Infinitive for policies, prices, economic theories, Super PACs, some commentators

Useless – Generic description of society

Vapid – A behavior option when mindless is getting stale

World – Location for the placement of obscenities, absurdities, and idiocies. Stick to recommended dosage.

Xenophobia – Proud personal possession used to demonstrate ignorance

Yes – A word used to imply the likely evasion of action in any form

Zoology – Former academic discipline, now used to define sales figures

Yes, terminology is wonderful. Ask about the terms for a term deposit of terminology from your terminal’s termagant. With these terms, you can upgrade and be the life of the sewer, frolicking in dialogs around the world to which you don’t even have to listen.

Try it on pancakes, cars, epic commutes, or that hideous moment when getting out of bed seems to be a real possibility.

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How to persecute yourself


Republished from the old blog.

Opal SMJEYou’re confronted with that strange reality, yourself, again. As you sit in despairing splendor watching the hideous evidence of social mental decay in a formula sitcom/phone company commercial/whatever, it occurs to you that you’re not getting enough attention to your inner torments, self-inflicted as they may be.

So you add a few more torments. This time you’ve decided to persecute yourself until you achieve success. You need meaning- you need validation- You need that added sledgehammer between the eyes. You want that thrill of judgmental doom usually supplied by friends, relatives, colleagues and total strangers. You miss that meaningless belch of occasional unsupportive approval, too.

Yes, you’ve been paying attention to all those helpful bits of information telling you who you should be, again. Most people don’t even have a self-image problem until your self-view is compared to something ridiculous. This latest whimper of self-recognition comes from your inner socialite. The idiot is on the rampage, and it’s you. The demand for more suffering comes from a desire to win some comparisons, however absurd they may be.

Wanderlaugh_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIThis DIY deconstructionist view drives some people mad. You’re not at that point yet. That’s partly because you’re a bit lazy and largely because you’ve only just been convinced you need to assert your status in the third rate social game show called life. Your aspirations roll over in their sleep. You want to rise above yourself, but you think it’s beneath you. You’re beside yourself with frustration. From this elegant perspective, you decide to position yourself.

Restlessly you build the pizza boxes into a castle and ponder. How do you obtain vindication? How do you give yourself a lot more excuses in a hurry? How do you strive to be…….? The cat sighs and walks away. Obviously it’s going to be another long voyage into the mirror.

Undaunted by this feline skepticism, you start on your quest. The fact is that by relying on other people to provide your values for you, you’ve been dealing with amateurs.

Clearly, you must approach yourself systematically.

Ads_Cover_for_KindleYou decide to start with self-psychoanalysis. That’ll tell you who you really are. Freud and Jung are followed by several weeks of frenzied doing of online tests. You missed Myer-Briggs but were saved by a UK site which provides a full spectrum of psychic tests that probe the inner you. Yes, you’re an ancient warlock with strange powers and several subscriptions.

Reassured, you move on to Stage 2- Self-image renovations. Fighting through the ogres and trolls you skewer on your mental kebab pole several lifestyle magazines. These priceless scrolls betray unto you the secret- You need a few million dollars, a mansion, paparazzi and a large number of unattached super models. You wonder how you overlooked something so obvious. Enlightened, you pay the merry if wary newsagent a few gold drachma from your leather thong purse and stagger out with your new self-image manuals.

Of course, to be yourself, you have to practice. The best way to do this is with some added assistance from the self-help brigade, who infest every facet of the human mind’s fears. You majestically arrive on Amazon to the sound of golden brakes outside, where you buy:

The art of being a Somebody front coverDo ya wanna be somebody? by Uri Schmuck-Noticeably

The ethics of self-worship, by Sum Gy.

How to succeed in everything by being someone else, by the oriental mystic Far Gon.

Oh, swoonsies! It’s me! by expert analyst Mike Rowe Cephalia.

You have your answers. You’re clearly destined to become a somebody with a healthy relationship with yourself, cunningly designed to avoid disclosing your identity to anyone, particularly yourself. You will then approve of yourself.

You wonder how the other gods are doing. Naturally, the quick way to find out is to read men’s magazines. Your suspicions are confirmed. You’re supposed to be surrounded by blondes, more mansions and more sports cars. Casting a spell over your bank account, you await the rain of negotiable assets and proceed to see what your consort-to-be is doing.

Well, no. Women’s magazines, if accidentally opened, will plunge male readers into a world of self-fulfilment. Here the ideal is always realized. There are no other options. You note that the husbands usually own a few countries. You instantly set about a feasibility plan for buying a few tax havens with ocean views and wonder where you can rent a new face to avoid wear and tear on the others.

The next natural step is career counselling. Can’t get enough of that. It’s how all those rich people became rich, spending decades in counselling. Your own career counsellor lives conveniently close by in a rather upmarket tree. You sit together eating a few al fresco worms as he explains The Secret. A few tornadoes later, he imparts the secret words “Do Something!” You scamper away, inspired and refreshed with a few souvenir bits of building and a rather clingy chicken in your hair.

Now begins The Great Work. The moment of moments. Yes, you’ve decided to go on a Journey to You, for only $2495 for a weekend workshop in the hills. Already, you’ve learned something. You didn’t know they were hills.

Hey!You arrive by stately if misanthropic taxi and step out into the commodious grounds of a boarding house which is still wanted in 23 American states on a range of charges including unprovoked taxidermy. There you encounter Them. A race of superior quasi-academics, super beings from Beyond. They wear suits even on therapeutic jogs to the local bar/casino.

They bask in themselves. They laugh lazily. They use the saintly cattle prod of convenient logic to unlock your inner potentials. They dry them and put them back. You are praised for your intelligence and deep understanding of yourself. You are given a brochure and return happily to the land of mortals.

Something stirs in the pizza box castle. It may be you. If you’re lucky.

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Retrospective – Zao Wu Ki – China’s Turner?


Zao-Wou-ki As the son of an artist, an artist myself, and allergic to the art business as I am, I must write about this brilliant Chinese artist. Zao Wu Ki stands as a unique example of the most truly exploratory, fascinating art in the last 300 years at least.



Zao is a true exponent of the brush on the rampage, while achieving extraordinary results in terms of his composition and elements of painting.

He’s also a working irrefutable thesis for the rebuttal of any disregard or denigration of abstract painting. Zao’s works are epics of applied art, from form to color to escape from the limitations of conventional art theory. These paintings are alive, in a way that no timid little daubings from the chicken coop of modern art could ever be.

zao wu ki1This is modern art like modern art never knew it was. It’s a fascinating play of perspective, insights, and dazzling brushwork which would have just about everyone but Da Vinci who’s ever used a brush cringing at the thought of a lifetime of works like these.

The dynamics of Zao’s work are seen in forces of image, color, depth, and detail. He reminds me of Turner, not because he actually has much in common with him, but because of his virtuoso use of light. This is no squeaking Expressionist, no splashing modern shock jock or critic’s pet, but a true master of the brush in play. This is jazz as imagery, Beethoven in flow, and perhaps the visual Tao at play.

Zao Wu Ki goes where few artists have ever dared to go. Chinese art of all ages is famous for its sheer poise and grace, and he’s made it dance. This is exploration of uncharted imagery. He’s a Magellan of painting. He can handle a classical theme as well as a pure storm of painting. It’s fabulous material, a universe of extraordinary thought.

The logic of structure in any kind of image is always worth investigating. In most images, the structure is pretty straightforward. Most artists are taught composition, and never seem to quite escape from it. Zao is never troubled by structural logic. His work is a combination of diffusion and articulation in seemingly endless varieties of ideas. That alone sets him far apart from just about all other artists.

zaowouki_55321_5You can read anything in to these structures, and keep reading for a long time. There’s a very strong organic component in his works which creates individual vivacity, and much room for thought. The man obviously doesn’t know how to be dull, and doesn’t try too hard to bore his viewers, unlike some.

Zao’s media are oils and water colors. The oils are a medley of painting techniques, including palette brush, brushes, and some fascinating textural work. The water colors are equally unconventional, for a good reason; conventional techniques simply can’t produce his characteristics.

Zao Wu Ki in relation to Chinese classical art

For those who still think Chinese art is just something that happens on curios and Chinese bric a brac, he’s also an object lesson. Chinese artists, in fact, were among the very first to really appreciate the aesthetics of the forces of landscapes. Classical Chinese art is a mix of landscape and dynamics. This is the Feng Shui of Chinese art; the Chinese would paint their fantastic mountains, and simply leave out the ennui of detail, showing the forces at work in the mountain structure.

220px-Ge_Zhichuan_Relocating_by_Wang_MengOne artist in the Yuan Dynasty (12th century) painted flying mountains, a truly extreme departure from classical art of the times. A distant indirect classical ancestor of Zao is perhaps another Yuan artist called Wang Meng, shown opposite, whose paintings show the intricate and beautiful structures of mountain landscapes in the formal Chinese style.

As you can see from this insert, there’s a lot happening in terms of form and dynamics. Chinese art was considered simple by early Europeans, formal, and too staid… Says a lot about cultural ignorance, and lack of observation.

I’ve often thought that the “inscrutable” ancient Chinese simply weren’t scrutinized at all. Zao’s work transcends mere culture. He’s created a type of art which is like a lighthouse in a sea of mediocrity.



zao wu ki2In Zao’s case, you might as well say that nature itself has taken up painting and become very adventurous in the process. The sense of wonder seeing these paintings for the first time is similar to encountering a new world. The more you look, the more possibilities occur to you.

Zao Wu Ki bio – Such as it is.

Zao lived to be 93 years old, dying in 2013; he was painting from the age of 14. Zao was born in Beijing in 1920. He lived through the Sino Japanese war of 1937-45 and some of the subsequent civil war. In 1948 he moved to Paris and studied art, holding his first exhibitions there in 1950. His biography is hideously brief beyond basic details; all that’s said about his artistic influences are that he was influenced by Matisse, Picasso and Cezanne, all of whom may feel truly honored to receive a mention.

His paintings now sell for actual fortunes around the world at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. He’s revered, admired quite rightly, and, thank God, a practical role model/hero for new artists.

Let’s just say, thank you, Zao Wu Ki. Enough chatter – Follow this link to a selection of Zao’s paintings. Let the paintings and the video speak for themselves, despite the narrative in the first one. Enjoy.


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