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  • Addiction
    10 July 2014

    How shall I put this? I am an addict.

  • Magical Thinking
    6 May 2014

    It's a sign...

  • Avoidance tactics or should that be antics
    2 May 2014

    Hang on a minute, I just have to go and put the kettle on before I start writing….

  • A Kerfuffle, in German
    17 April 2014

    Which involves keys, bowel cancer and some new vocabulary

  • My Flat
    15 April 2014

    My flat is tiny. There is no other way to say it.

  • Standing still for a bit
    10 April 2014

    Well, here I am, and here I will be for at least six months, which is a sort of relief. Here is Cologne and more specifically, a very small flat (about which, more later) in the no-man’s land between Weidenpesch and Longerich, neither of which places is a heaving mass of people, culture and excitement, but it’s green and with an U-Bahn round the corner, everything is accessible, sort of.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Magical Thinking

It's a sign...

I saw someone today, passing the German school on his way to work round the corner, someone who I had longed to see for a while, but preferably not just in passing. And then I foolishly thought “this is a sign”. Oh boy, are we capable of such utter bollocks at times, or at least I am. And I suspect that lots of you are too but just won’t admit it.

It’s s sort of extension of the not standing on the lines between paving stones so that the bears don’t get you. You know “If you step on the line, you’re mine” and then up roars a bear, materialising from nowhere, to drag you off to its den and eat you noisily and painfully.  It’s the “If I just sit down and get some German homework done and forget all about object of desire X, then X will call when I am in the middle of an exercise on the conjunctive and I will be able to be cross about being disturbed., thus not exposing my great pleasure in hearing from X.”

Bollocks again, and such sad and pathetic behaviour and yet I have been indulging in it for a few hours, since the sighting of X in a car this morning.

I am not superstitious and was brought up to approach the world in a clear-minded and rational manner. I do not, for example, believe that astrology is a reasonable way of predicting the future. Although indulging in the reading of horoscopes from time to time, mainly to see if there were any nice things that might happen to me and then instantly dismissing the possibility of nice things happening to me because they just don’t, I do not and cannot believe that the stately movement of the planets around our sun and the glorious blaze of stars in the universe are there just to tell me not to go swimming next Tuesday.

The depth of my unbelief was revealed to me suddenly in January, when I was on Skye. It was a bitterly cold night, I couldn’t sleep and got up to go outside for a walk. The stars were glorious and bright and many and had that piercing blue light quality that cold nights and no light pollution gives them.  Like most people, I could identify Orion and the Plough and sod all else. I amused myself for a while, devising my own constellations and making up stories about them. I think I actually wrote some of them down as an alternative mythology but cannot find the bits of paper I wrote on.

Anyways, I realised that for as long as humans have been able to see and wonder at the stars, they have told stories about them, have found images and patterns in them and have worshipped their movements and used them for all sorts of purposes. Some of the more useful ones include finding your way, especially at sea and working out where you are by their patterns. But that is not why they are there. We humans have cunningly used our knowledge of their positions to help us, but more than that, they do not do.

They are there for the same reason we are, the universe started with a big bang and voila, several billion years later we have stars to gaze in wonder at from our small place in the universe. To assume that the stars and the planets, all governed by laws of physics (some of which have yet to be worked out in detail) are there so we can say what will happen to us based on the month of the year in which we were born, is failing to see the stars. And as a result of failing to see the stars, we are missing the utter delight of feeling them sing to our souls on a freezing cold night in January on Skye. The wonder at how the universe came to be and continues to be is far greater than some cobblers about whether or not I will find love next Tuesday in the grocer’s, however comforting the thought of the grocer’s may be.

When I am tired or low and not feeling like making a decision I, like so many others, succumb to the desire that someone else will do it for me, so lazily I will read horoscopes or see signs in passing cars and “allow” the universe to decide for me. But in the end, the only real decision is the one I make for myself, in as full knowledge as possible of all the circumstances and accepting the responsiblity for and consequences of my decision. Anything less and I will spend my life being frightened of the bears…..