Two one-way streets


To know and be known
To forgive and be forgiven
To love and be loved

When music is played but not heard
When music is heard but not played
Music (and colour, and sound and more) are mere perceptions;
They take place only in your head?
When a tree falls but no one is around
You know that one.

Can you forgive, if none wants to be forgiven?
Can you love, if none receives your love?
Can you be forgiven, if no one forgives?
Can you be loved, if no one loves?

What if; lost in translation? miscommunication? lack of a medium?
One loves but the disgruntled husband does not feel it.
A love-struck teenager interprets love when no such love exists.

Three parts to every communication: the source (the production), the transmission (the medium) and the recipient (the perceiver). What’s one without the others? Sufficient but not necessary? Necessary but not sufficient  Two out of three?

Blogging can be like shouting into an abyss. Sometimes you pretend there’s a receiver, and that’s enough to satisfy. Other times you yearn for a connection that’s more real…

We think of many things as two way streets.
It takes two hands to clap, we take turns to give and receive and we meet each other half way.
In truth perhaps they are merely two one way streets
With an illusion of connection.

We are necessarily alone in our own heads. Nothing we know or can know that doesn’t pass through the murky filter of perception and our limited understanding.

Consensus. We agree that they meet, so we can act like they meet, and for all purposes they do. Until your perspective changes (and all the misunderstandings crawl out of the woodwork) and you realize it was an illusion all along.

Previous posts where similar ideas were explored that possibly led to this post:
Forgiveness
Sending and Receiving the Message of Love

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Brain on breakup; forgiveness, memories and betrayal


When we first decided to give it a go, there was one thing that I really wanted to make sure of, a promise I kept repeating in my head to myself that we have to keep: that no matter what happened, we would remain friends.

Our friendship was too important to me and the dynamics of our little clique too precious to me to risk. Besides, I really never understood how or why ex-partners could become enemies. It’s ridiculous and absurd! Surely if you’ve been that close, been that intimate and know each other that well… all that can’t just disappear! How can understanding and love flip 360 into irreconcilable differences and hate? So for whatever reasons you have to part, but surely you can stay friends. Chemistry between people (how well you click) doesn’t just vanish.

曾经心疼为何变成陌生?

Ha. ha. ha. This is irony laughing at my naive, foolish younger self.

For all of my previous convictions, all of my mental gymnastics trying to make sense of the chaos in my head, all of my musings and waxing lyrical about the nature of love, unconditional love and forgiveness… I realize that I’m hardly any closer at all to forgiving her, and I still have no idea how to be friends.

You think you’ve come so far, so far
But you’re not any closer, no you’re not any closer at all

I recently watched Tipping the Velvet, a 3-part BBC Tv series based on Sarah Water’s novel of the same name. When the main character found out that her first love was cheating on her, she literally ran down the streets shouting, “You said you loved me! You said we’d be together forever!” over and over and over. (Okay, on re-watching the scene, I see that I’m exaggerating a little, but that’s how I remembered it!) Even after so many month, I still find myself slipping back into that.

but you said…!
but you said…!
but you said…!
but you said…!

All those promises, both implicit and explicit.

Not just the promises, but words said during the break up. After the break up.

all the things she said, all the things she said, running through my head, running through my head, running through me head… 

And the memories. Memories that keep playing of their own accord, over and over.

I like how they did the constant flashbacks in Tipping the Velvet, with the most poignant memory replaying and persisting, a shorter and shorter snippet, while the rest fade. That’s exactly how it’s like. A few favourite memories play and replay, and soon those are all you can remember. You’d think that the more you recall something, the better you’d remember it, but each time you pull it from memory, it’s a brand new retelling. Little bits dropped, little bits added; it’s changed. It feels more vivid, yes. But at the price of accuracies in the details. It loses it’s nuances. It becomes exactly what you’re remembering it for. ‘Exaggerated’, more than ‘vivid’. If you remember it as Great, it slowly turns golden: the best example of great. Remembered for sorrow, it’ll take that shape.

I used to think that no matter what happens in the present or the future, at the very least the memories are yours to keep. No one can steal away the good times you’ve already had. You can cherish them always. I see I was wrong here too. Things that happen now, or in the future, can reach back into the past to colour and change the meanings of memories…

What am I supposed to make of them now? What am I supposed to do with them? How do I make sense of them? I really don’t know.

All those promises, implicit and explicit.

I guess you can’t trust words. You can’t trust people. If you can’t trust words from the one you trust the most… if you can’t trust words that are said with deepest sincerity and love… then what’s left that you can trust?

And I guess that’s why it’s so hard for ex-partners to remain friends, if the break up is not a mutual decision. That’s why it’s so difficult to forgive.

SHE BETRAYED ME.

the closest you can get
sticking the knife
the deepest it can get
and the most unexpected it can get.

It’s hard to get over betrayal.

Gandhi: Merely human. But also so much more.


I just finished watching the 3-hour, 1982 biographical film ‘Gandhi’.

Reading about Gandhi and watching that film really leaves one awe-struck. And inspired, so inspired. You’re just speechless that a person like that can really exist, especially in a world like ours. Yet… it also finds me in two minds about him and his beliefs.

There’s this part of me — the cynical, jaded part; the part that likes to think itself a realist — that thinks, are you for real? Sure, his message is inspiring but… is that really the best way to do things? Maybe some things are worth fighting for. Maybe if they had fought–physically fought– in the right way, it wouldn’t have taken so long to achieve their goals. And maybe the factors for such methods just happened to be right in those situations…maybe trying to bring them elsewhere– the holocaust for example– would have resulted in even worse harm and atrocities! I mean, you can’t stand up for your principles by saying ‘I’m willing to die for this cause!’ when that’s exactly what the enemy wants? Hitler wasn’t interested in keeping Jews oppressed, he just wanted them exterminated!

And… it just seems naive to think you can have no conflict all the time. Fighting seems so… ingrained. People seem primed to fight, especially in the face of injustice. Wouldn’t it seem wiser? more practical? to take that fact into consideration and work around it or try to prevent it rather than just tell them not to fight and expect them to obey?

He also has this quote about how history reads like it’s all fighting, but in reality fights are just interruptions from peace. Its just that only the fights tend to get recorded. In truth, peace is the default.

Yet too often, it really seems the other way around. That conflict is a core part of us and our society. Just the way the world works.

The parts depicting the riots and beatings and killings made me feel all that. And I cried at how evil man can be and wondered how those people could live with themselves.

Still, the idealistic part of me really wants to believe it. It echos his sentiment that love and truth always wins out in the end. It argues that it’s not this kind of thinking that’s too idealistic, it’s the world that’s too cynical and jaded. If everyone could see the truth in such statements and lived their life by them… it would work

And still, he’s only human. He has no magic answers. He just sticks to the simple truths that he does know.

“There is no such thing as “Gandhism,” and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems…The opinions I have formed and the conclusions I have arrived at are not final. I may change them tomorrow. I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Regardless of what you think of his methods, you have to respect and admire him for being able to stay so true to his principles and not lose hope in love and truth. How did he do it? How did he not get angry, discouraged and jaded at the stupidity and evilness of men? He saw it all first hand and he never lost hope.

Hears to hoping that I, and all of us, can be just a little bit more like him. The world could be a much better place.

Forgiveness


Live and let live, forget and forgive.

Seldom do people dispute that we should; but when someone wrongs us, we may find ourselves asking: how?

What is forgiveness?

Is it something you give to someone? “I forgive you.” with emphasis on you. To erase their guilt, to accept their apologies, to unburden their hearts, to clear their name? Forgiveness happens when someone asks for it.

Is it something within oneself, something you come to terms with in your own head? “I forgive you.” with emphasis on I. A mental act of letting go of anger, grievances, blame, independent of the party who wronged you? Forgiveness happens when you decide to forgive.

If someone does not admit to wrong doing, does it make sense to say you forgive them?
I’m imagining an unrepentant murderer; Who could say they forgive him?
Conversely, I imagine someone telling me that they ‘forgive me’ for something I did which I believed was the right thing to do; I’d feel like giving his holier-than-thou face a slap.

Yet this phrase comes to mind, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” and it does not seem incoherent either: You’d surely forgive a young child who colours on expensive wallpaper regardless of whether the child is remorseful.

Is the emphasis then on ‘knowing what they do’? Wrong-doing in ignorance is immediately forgiven, full blame cannot be assigned.

Does forgiving take away blame? what about responsibility? He is surely responsible for his actions, even if he did not mean them, or did not anticipate the outcome. Does forgiving leave taking responsibility where it is (he still needs to help clean up the mess and do right by the victim) while lifting blame? Or does it simultaneously lift both? For surely one will not take responsibility if they fail to acknowledge they were in the wrong, due to ignorance or otherwise.

Someone in an abusive relationship keeps forgiving, and going back. Can you forgive, but not go back? Can you forgive, but still hold him responsible, still hold him to blame?

What does it mean to forgive?