Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Train your Brain

So they say that we have only utilised around 10% of our brains . I recently read that even that is incorrect thinking because our brains have infinite potential, so a percentage of infinity is impossible.

Shouldn’t we be striving to explore this potential? Even if it is infinite and therefore unconquerable, that is just more liberating. I would rather spend my time exploring the infinite than settling for 10% that I put through a slow death of alcohol and TV commercials.

So how do we do it? We should strive to devote more time to focus and learning; to trying new things.

Here’s just a few ideas on how to train your brain. And we should all share these ideas so we can grow together. So post more in the comments as you think of them.

  • Reading
  • Meditating
  • Playing or listening to music
  • Staying healthy physically (your brain is a physical thing anyway)
  • Writing
  • Nintendo Brain Training
  • Learning a language
  • Sharing ideas – seriously write down some more in the comments section
- Eden

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rant of The Skinny Man

A few months ago I read an article in the newspaper. It was about how Mars have reduced the size of the famous Mars Bar. Now I read this and think “What the fuck?” but this was not the angle the article chose to take. They preferred to say it was a social choice from Mars to help combat the obesity problems in society. Again, what the fuck?! No doubt the genius marketing gurus at Mars figured they could make their product shitter (but not cheaper) and pass it off through some positive publicity. But I’ll save my rant on advertising for later. No, my friends, my qualms arise from the fact that I like, nay, I love Mars Bars. I’m a skinny guy. I’m as far from obesity as one could be while staying healthy. Does Mars consider the fact that I need more calories because of my incredible metabolism? Does Mars consider that when I feel like a Mars Bar I want a decent serving size? I am willing to put up with the price hikes, you know inflation, sure whatever, but a reduction in the size? C’mon, they just make us skinny guys suffer because the fatties can’t balance a chocolate bar with a sit up. And it doesn’t stop here. As a kid I loved 2 minute noodles like nothing else. Now the noodles are ‘baked not fried’. For those who don’t understand the lingo, that means they ‘taste like shit’. The flavour mix is even worse as well. Instead of the glorious full flavour of yesteryear, it tastes like my dog pissed on a cube of chicken stock. Everywhere I look I see same shit happening, robbed of the chance to truly indulge. Just cut us skinny guys some slack. Leave the full fat items on one shelf and the low flavour ones separate. And if the fatties keep choosing full flavour and get sick then maybe that’s just natural selection.

- Eden (while listening to Between The Buttons by The Rolling Stones)

Mental Post Script:

Compassionate Eden: Uhh, I don’t know about this one guys, it’s a little callous.
Humorous Eden: I thought we were just trying to be funny…
Heartless Eden: Funny? Pfff. Just shut the fuck up, you pussies and let the fatties die. There’s too many people on earth anyway.
Self conscious Eden: This doesn’t really fit with the free love attitude of our recent posts.
Heartless Eden: Who gives a shit? The compassion fag gets heard every fucking blog.
Humorous Eden: Nah, you guys are just joshin’ me aren’t you? It’s funny. Yeah I still got it baby!
Self conscious Eden: I don’t know man. I’m not even sure if this PS ‘bit’ is funny…
Humorous Eden: What?! This is hilarious…right?
Economics student Eden: Well it’s a smart move by Mars and if the ‘fatties’ get diabetes then our taxes subsidise their medication anyway.
Compassionate Eden: I’m OK with that.
Humorous/Self Conscious Eden: I’m funny, aren’t I guys?
Heartless Eden: Motherfuckers...

Sunday, December 20, 2009


When I read Robert Thurman's book, Infinite Life, a word that stood out for me was relativity. Everything is relative. But it was one of those things where I understood it, yet experience is needed to fully grab ahold of it's meaning. And the other day, I caught a glimpse of that true meaning.

Sometimes I think of how small we are in our lives and the fact that we are just a blip on the radar. There is so much more that is bigger than me and I truly am inconsequential. And I thought the other day, I guess I wouldn't mind if I died because of the loss of ego involved in my new found tininess, and that's true, but only relative to the rest of the universe. But I had this image of Dr Manhattan from The Watchmen, and how he realized that even if human existence isn't important to him because he now exists far beyond the world of humans, he found out that it IS important to the humans, because they ARE human. So that's where relativity comes in, because me dying may not be important to the galaxy when you take into account how small we are, but relative to an ant, we are not small. And relative to other humans, we are perfectly in line, and we are important.

So I think to live a healthy life, I'm going to need to find a middle ground and alternate between different scopes of relativity, because I definitely know that I value both my small, grain of sand existence and also my wonderful, controlled, powerful existence here, right now, in this body. Relative to myself.

- Lee

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Go With What You Know - Part III: My Existential Experience


Parts I & II

Eden, the former Catholic, learned that experience in this religion lead to making informed decisions based on the knowledge gained from said experience. This simple concept was then applied to all the possible wonders of life – art, books, music, movies, food, travel, meditation, etc. He realised that if he wished to have knowledge of something, anything, then it must be experienced.


Now I reached a fun time in my life by this point. The last two of the above examples came into their own with a trip to South America and a meditation camp. There was still all the music, movies and books to explore, but my natural curiosity wanted more. I had left my spiritual outlet years earlier and now I wanted something more to satiate my soul. This is where the meditation came in. I was fresh off of a ten day course and doing volunteer farm work at a Hare Krishna-run organic farm. The combination of organic vegetarian food, 2 hours of meditation a day, simple farm work, yoga, lack of drugs and plentiful spare time led me to go deeper.

Using my simple theory of experience I tried to define all existence with my own religion (I did have a lot of time on my hands), and a couple of days later I had the forgings of a theory. It was based on three levels of existence:

“All We Have is Now” – The Flaming Lips

Obviously we all exist in a physical sense. We have our five senses to constantly gauge the make up of our surroundings. Whether we look at it as a human being eating an apple or one mass of ever changing atoms interacting with another to sustain the life force within, it is all a physical existence.

Originally I summed up physical existence as the three dimensions of space, existing in the fourth dimension of time. I can’t however speculate as to the presence of a fifth dimension and beyond because I have not experienced it, and do not know if it can even be defined in a physical sense. Speaking of fourth dimensions, I keep saying that if I can’t experience something than it doesn’t exist. So what does that say of the past or the future?

So how do we define physical existence? My body experiencing a moment right Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now Now.

“Nice Dream” – Radiohead

On what plane does a thought exist? It seems as though thought can exist absent of actual physicality. When we dream, there is no denying that we believe everything that we experience within (until we return to the physical world and forget most of what ‘happened’). We can create anything in the world with our imaginations. If we try we can convert it into a book or a song or a movie, but where did it come from?

So how do we define mental existence? My mind being able to choose to exercise free will because it is free to do so.

“All You Need is Love” – The Beatles

Do we exist in a spiritual sense? I already abandoned the concept once. Choosing to not believe in God. Does God exist? Have I experienced God? The idea of spiritual existence is much less tangible yet I am equally assured that the soul exists in some form. How else can I explain the love I feel for George Harrison when he says we are all one, or for Wayne Coyne saying happiness makes you cry? What about our desire to find connectivity on this world through friends and loved ones?

I disagree with many things a church might say but when they say God is Love, I can’t argue. Love, to me, is a limitless power that I hardly understand and one of the few things I know exists.

So how do we define spiritual existence? The soul? Love? Infinity?


I guess there has to be a point to all this, right? Don’t despair. There is. If you combine these three planes of existence there is one simple message which no religion could dispute:

Choose Love Now

- Eden (while listening to The Man Who Sold the World and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie)

Monday, December 14, 2009

You Are Your Teacher

When I write a blog preaching something amazing and mind blowing like this, or this, I’m not claiming to be an expert on ‘acceptance’ or ‘anger management’, in fact, quite the opposite - I’m still very much learning all these things myself. So, I’ve only just come to the realisation that anger for instance is something that has a huge impact on our lives (our happiness) and taming it is pretty handy. It’s only during and after writing the articles do I realise how much I have to learn.

This is the case for anything, if you don’t play the piano, you’ll already know that there is a lot that goes into it and that it’s rather complicated. But if you begin to learn, only then do you begin to uncover all the intricacies and nuances.

I guess all this leads me to realise something, taking time for self reflection is incredibly important, not only does it allow us to see our flaws but most importantly, it allows us to decipher the truth behind the flurry of emotions we experience everyday and to see what’s important in our lives.

"Do you realize - that you have the most beautiful face" - The Flaming Lips

- Dogman

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tisk Tisk Tisk...

When I smoke marijuana alone, a natural plant that has been used by humans since 3000 BC, I tap into a subconscious sense in my brain and it helps with my music writing. A lot of amazing melodies have come after smoking THC. And I am not out of it. I am comprehending everything that is going on, only now I can focus on the music in a different, more subconscious way and I enjoy the way the melodies flow out of me.

When I smoke marijuana with a group of people, we all laugh, but it is not pointless. We are laughing at something real, it's just that now, in this state of mind, we are looking at it from a different angle.

And sometimes, looking from different angles can open your perception of what is being shown to you. For example, when we watch ads normally, we zone out, letting the ad invade our subconscious so that the next time we go shopping, we just feel the need to buy a certain product, which is what they want. But watching TV advertisements becomes educational with marijuana, because you can clearly see the hypocrisies and the fact that ALL companies are lying to us. I would much rather be aware of the lies than to just be a cog in the wheel and let that part of the world have its way with me.

Through this, I realized that we are living in a world that doesn't know what to do. We have created way too many people, so we need them all to have jobs. And to create more jobs, we need more stores. And to create more stores, we need more wants. So we have advertisements to create an artificial need. We need shopping malls to put all these stores in. And everybody goes, always going back to our cars with more than we had coming in. All this is not conspiracy stuff, they are all clear facts that an economist could tell you. But I'm not an economist, and I realized this, a truly sensible and enlightening thought, after smoking marijuana.

After smoking marijuana, you can read between the lines, which is why people have always enjoyed subversive forms of art after smoking. The subtext is easily readable, and you can find what is hidden between the looks, phrases and happenings in a subtle piece of art.

The only negative thing I've heard about marijuana is that some people have smoked way too much and formed schizophrenia. Well if you ate too much chocolate, you'd get fat and die.

There has never been a case of someone dying from marijuana, or even becoming damaged from its use (not abuse), and anyone that finds they react negatively to this drug, then it's just not for you. Hey, some people are lactose intolerant but the government doesn't ban milk!

- Lee

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thoughts On Evolution: Physical evolution in its infancy?

"Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right? There's another 90 percent of our brains that we have to illuminate."
- Bill Hicks

It was easy for me to say that Intelligence and Love, from an evolutionary standpoint, are fairly young and have a lot of possibilities of growth. But then what about the physical world? Has it reached its peak?

We look at our bodies - efficient in mobility, clever thumbs and a large well protected brain. When we imagine alien life forms, they often possess a similar structure; we say God created us in his own image; does this mean that the physical side of evolution has completed its run? Or is it foolish to ever assume evolution can cease?

When I try imagine what could be next, I first think of our flaws. We still get sick and are vulnerable to many dangers. But to combat these we seem to prefer to use intelligence, designing medicines and technologies to assist us. We could evolve to be stronger or faster, develop more acute senses, but again it seems like technology is covering these roles as well.

Do we have to make predictions of sci-fi proportions to find a possible path? Maybe telepathy or telekinesis are on the cards. What secrets are there to be unlocked in that spare 90% of our brains? Maybe we must realise our true physical connectivity with the world and universe. But as cool as that would be, would it ever really be reached? Technology lets us control our entertainment systems from the couch. We can communicate with whoever we want, whenever we want through mobile phones and the internet. Who needs telepathy? Maybe Wall-E is the indicator of our future physical evolution – we become fat, lazy and gluttonous.

Or maybe I am simply wrong to separate the achievements of the mind or soul from those of the body. I recently watched a video on YouTube that attempts to illustrate ten dimensions of space. And that is what struck me – that they are all dimensions of space. Maybe intelligence and love are simply the next step of physical evolution. The brain is the hub where ideas and emotions are felt, but in the end it is just made up of atoms like everything else.

- Eden (while listening to Embryonic – The Flaming Lips)

Thoughts on Evolution: Intelligence in its infancy
Thoughts on Evolution: Love in its infancy

Saturday, December 5, 2009


“The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.” - Marsellus Wallace

The first thought that comes to mind when thinking about pride is enjoying something that I have created (writing a blog for example). After I have finished, I am pleased with my output - I often read it over with a smile on my face taking "pride" in the fact that I was simply able to collate a bunch of ideas that were in my head. If I were a painter, I would surely feel pride after finishing a work of art. This type of pride is felt by all people, and the resulting emotion is happiness; so far so good.

There is however another phenomenon I associate with pride, and that is Nationalism. This is not to be confused with Patriotism, and up until the point of writing this article I thought of these as one in the same. But from my new-found wiki-knowledge, nationalism is basically being a part of a cultural or ethnic identity within a state - whereas patriotism is the love of one’s country/homeland. There is much more to these ideas, and to save repetition I won't summarise the Wikipedia articles - this blog isn't an Encyclopedia.

On a strictly high-level view of nationalism, having pride in a collective cultural identity is very important. However, when taken to another level, nationalism is the devil. Take this quote from George H.W. Bush, "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." How is uber-nationalism of this sort beneficial to anyone? And this sort of nonsense isn't restricted to right-wing American nuts, it spans across the globe into the minds of many power-hungry world leaders. See: (Kim Jong-il, Robert Mugabe, and Adolf Hitler). In these cases, pride of nation (or pride of ethnic background), has seen the deaths of many people - pride gone too far.

Then there's patriotism. Like nationalism - prima facie it is a good thing. To be truly patriotic, you must want the best for the country that you live in - ethics, law, and devotion to the common good. However, when you become so patriotic that you view your own country (and possibly your race) as superior to another, that's when patriotism sucks. For me, I don't really care about being Australian. Don't get me wrong, I love this country, and growing up and living here is probably the reason that I love it, but that doesn't mean that I think being Australian is any better than being Chinese. If I were Chinese, I would love China etc. etc..

Pride also gets tossed around when talking about sexual preference (no pun intended). Gay rights have come a long way since the 1960s, and "Pride" is a big reason why. I know a few people that would automatically think of gay pride when the word pride is mentioned. This is a good thing.

There is one facet of life where I find myself taking immense pride, and that is sport. No other thing I can think of gets my blood running and emotions flying more than an intense game of sport; the physical contest, the extreme athletic ability on display, the pressure! OK, I won't go on about sport, but what I was getting at was how taking pride in a sporting team that you support, a team you play on, or an individual performance such as a triathlon is pretty special. And when you think about it, pride in sport usually stems from nationalism/patriotism anyway - I know that I can't stand England winning, well, anything.

Coming back to the quote from Marsellus Wallace. When he says that pride only hurts, it never helps - that made me stop and think for a moment. What would the world be like without pride?

- Russell

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ten Minutes Ago...

I was originally going to write a different article, but at the last minute I have decided to tell you this.

A few years ago, I experienced severe depression several times a day. It was really serious, but I got through it and learned so many things that will help me for the rest of my life. I became aware of Buddhism and found that it holds so many keys to happiness.

Today, my girlfriend was having a bad day. Some unfortunate things happened and she has been very upset. It's nothing serious, but it's just that she's having a few things go wrong in her life lately.

Pretty much everything I said to help her was something I've learned or taught myself since finding Buddhism.

After I had finished telling her all that I could to help, she was feeling better. She said, "it's almost like you went through all that stuff so you could help me right now."

I cried, because it's true. My pain, and the strength I eventually found, ended up helping myself and the girl I love.

Ten minutes ago, I found even more meaning to my life.

- Lee

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why W*F with Marc Maron is Awesome

"Lock the Gates!"

I have never been one for podcasts before. Whenever I have spare time and an iPod around I am all about picking whichever album tickles my mood and fancy at the time. Why would I care to listen to people talk? There is nothing better than listening to music.

But then Lee, informed me that Marc Maron had a new podcast out, insisting that I listen to it because it is amazing. I have been a big Maron fan ever since I saw him do a show here in Sydney about two years ago. He is by far the funniest comedian I have seen live (admittedly I haven’t seen that many live comedians, but still…). We even got to meet him after the show where he talked a little about the hardships of alternative comedy while trying to sell a few CDs. The combination of the show, with his raw display of emotional baggage, and his slightly dejected self talking to us afterwards was very impressionable on me as I was only just truly discovering real comedy at the time. I was definitely a Marc Maron fan from that point on (Although I still didn’t buy any CDs…)

So this began a new era for me. I got into my car to drive to work. I scrolled past Música and selected podcasts – W*F episode 1…

The Rants:

The podcast runs for about an hour, but I could listen to Marc talk all day. His voice carries such emotion and his timing is perfect. At the beginning of each podcast he takes some time to tell a story. Now on the first show of anything you want to make a good impression, right? Well Marc decided to open his podcast – the first segment of his first episode no less - with a story about how boycotting a large, overbearing retail store, Wholefoods, in the States may not be enough of a protest. He actually encouraged that people steal from Wholefoods.

That’s what I love about Marc – not that he tells it like it is, but that he tells it like it is to him. He has strong views from politics to pop culture. He recounts detailed life experiences with loved ones and stalkers alike, family and work issues and of course the timeless question/statement of “What *** Fuck!?” He puts his opinions and emotions out there, almost objectively, whether they be happy, angry, jealous or anything. All this is laced with snippets of his memorable comedic set or improvised side notes.

Guests and Comedic Conscience:

The guests on each show are always interesting. A gathering of comedians talking about comedy. Most of them I am unfamiliar with until Marc’s personal interview style allows them to be free and reveal themselves. And because these are real comedians struggling through the fairly unglamorous lifestyle of alternative comedy, they tell it like it is. And when they feel uncomfortable about going on too much about it, Marc assures them that that is what the fans want. And that is exactly what I want!

As a comedy fan I love hearing Marc describe a meeting with television station E!, or Jeff Ross breaking down the fading art of the roast, Todd Barry describing a comedy festival in the UK, David Cross talking about living in the same house as Marc and Louis C.K. back in the day, and a run in with a backwards audience member while on the road in shitty little towns. They discuss the evolution of comedy from simple observational humour, the influence of Lenny Bruce, and Bill Hicks to the quirky magic that Mr Show managed to do ten years ago, and how this affects the comedians of today.

And then there are the non comedic guests. Writer Sam Lipsyte for example, who Marc showered with praise for his amazing writing talents. Marc questioned why it is so hard to find someone so in touch with his art. I didn’t fully understand why until Sam read a passage from his upcoming book. For maybe 60 seconds it sounded like he was guiding the english language into a new dimension of uncharted territory. I was immediately convinced that I had to go buy one of his books.

And before discovering a writer I would otherwise have never heard of, the podcast offered up other recommendations, including Battlestar Galactica from Patton Oswalt, a discussion of Inglorious Basterds and the TV series Madmen. It is almost like having another friend who shares similar tastes suggesting and discussing quality art/entertainment.


In most of his shows there is a segment called A Few with Matthew. I don’t know who Matthew is, but he and Marc have the most unique of rapports. Sometimes Matthew is the straight man and Marc the funny man, then they switch it up in an instant. At one moment Matthew is preying on Marc’s neediness and then Marc will start belittling Matthew’s superiority complex. I can only say you have to hear it from the start, and understand how the relationship evolves to truly know its awesomeness.


I can’t get enough of this podcast and there is so much more to it than I can describe. I have only heard the first 13 episodes at the time of writing this. But probably the greatest thing is to see the evolution of Marc’s outlook on life, from the first time I saw him live (where I left slightly concerned for his well being) to the way he has let the podcast be an outlet for his frustrations and a tool to deal with the W*F moments of his life and make them entertaining and inspirational for the listeners.

- Eden (while listening to Axis: Bold as Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Wonder

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere." - Carl Sagan

Do you ever have a moment when you're by yourself, or with your own thoughts and you think something amazing? Pretty broad statement I know, but I'll get to the bottom of it. For example, on occasion I've been sitting down and looking at my hands, opening and closing them for some reason and at this moment - this action is amazing the shit outta me. Has anyone defined this state of mind? Is it in a psychological journal somewhere, or is it just something we do and no one has ever thought too hard about it?

What prompted me to write this was the old powers of ten. I was having coffee by myself at work when I looking into the coffee cup and thought to myself how incredible the motion of this liquid is. Yes, you're only going to find coffee here on Earth (in likelihood), but the fact that it is a liquid is not unique to Earth. The same laws of nature govern the entire Universe, but what other universes might there be, what if there is a universe which doesn't have gravity... this universe could be part of me. This isn't an 'original' idea but the thought an imagery that accompanies it each time is wonderful.

Every person has strange and wonderful thoughts, whether they be cosmic or just simply being awestruck by the beauty of a flower for a moment. You cannot create nor replicate these moments. These moments in themselves are wonders - how does our brain, evolved from the hydrogen of a dead star begin to wonder about wondering? And so we wonder.

- Dogman