Reflections of the Past – What the Pandemic has me thinking about

-van Gogh The Red Vineyard  in early November 1888

Glassless Mirrors

My Imagination wonders what time does break;
What faces I dare not erase;
What memories I dare not chase.
Chaos louring out my heart’s ache:

“Put in order, put in place!
The past, the pieces
The promises I wish to replace!”

Glassless mirrors ;Empty frames
Casting back what forth once came.
Ignorance’s’ bliss ;doubt’s renegades
Forged pathway for the hearts dismay

What I project, What I receive,
My own twisted reality.
My heart caged in sobriety,
fueled by anxiety.

The salvation of the renegade,
Found within times escape,
Seemingly, stupidly played
By potential’s chaotic take.

Bound by unending misery
Found within probability,
I found myself, intrinsically,
Bound by my mind’s ideology.

Rantings about special houseplants

What dire times we find ourselves in recently… Life has become so slow, yet time feels shorter. Whilst this website is rarely a Blog, I still want to give some insight as to what has driven me to write something for this website. I ll bore you a tad bit with my personal stuff, then progress to some ideas had along the way. It had been interesting months, I have absolved my Bachelors and now progressed onto my final year. I moved during this pandemic to probably the most romantic city there is, Leiden. It is truly mesmerizing, you have small canals meandering through a beautiful green city core, filled with beautiful architecture. Every step you take leads you to discover yet another nice little side passage, and, if you are lucky, it might be one of the many streets that have poems drawn on their wall. My life changed to the extent that I started to go for walks every day and just soak in every ray of sun I can catch. I really enjoy life here, simply put.

I have gotten to know very few people here, the person I have talked to the most is the barista that hands me over the same cappuccino every day. It has been special to engage with this idea of being more lonely, you have fewer distractions, and , eventually, you will run out of those few as well. This made me wonder about these distractions, and the actual engagements you have in your everyday life. Most of my interactions were online, ranging from playing games with my homies, chatting with friends and family, all the way to university. I hit the gym and find other stuff to do, and, honestly, I feel neither lonely nor bored, yet I inevitably also fall into my own mind. I enjoy these excursions since I have created a neat little outlet for myself over the last years… writing.

This poem is about dealing with the past and the idea of confronting a new future. The sensory overflow, the “Reizüberflutung”, the million “what ifs” that spin my own twisted realities. As always, I do not dare to say to much about this piece. It is pretty personal, I would say so that any explanation would probably just play with your subjective understanding. Ask yourself the questions I have and stride along the way. You’ll probably realize how you can quickly fill your own imagination.

I feel like a lover of flowers, yet I live in windowless rooms.

 “The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.”

― Albert Camus, The Plague

We ought to look at ourselves as houseplants with complicated emotions. Whatever our daily water is, will influence us down the line. (Maybe the reason my flowers die is that I try to water them too much…) Whatever we are exposed to on a daily basis will nourish our soil, which will foster our flowers we call thoughts. Coming to think of it, what does really create a habit? Especially now during these boring times…And how much of a habit boils down to residue which will be neatly stored away, somewhere lurking below the shallow waters? Besides the obvious going for a run, watching videos, and, apparently something which has become worldwide success , make banana bread for the 20938th time, what minor things do we do expose ourselves on a daily basis?

If I am honest to myself, these “phone times” often accumulate more than just mere quick checks a day. They reach many hours, probably too many. I try my best to have a healthy relationship with it, I mostly follow friends and art accounts, yet this does not prevent the mindless scrolling at times. The stats do not lie, so I won’t. The constant diet of instant feedback created an abysmal attention span and ever prevailing need for interaction. I have discussed this already, I know, yet I want to throw in my two cents yet again. I do believe that in times like these, in times where there seems to be a constant call for polarization, we have to be careful with our information diet. We have been exposed to nothing but extremes that everything in between became tasteless, dull. If it is not polarizing it seems to be of no interest. Media outlets writing horrendous headlines, the purest clickbait, to further generate revenue with interaction. The absurder the presented idea, the more revenue. Tailored algorithms, categorized to your likings and interests… Instagram literally put a shop adapted to your interest, on the same spot where the like button previously was. Such an absurdity I had to laugh at it.

Perverse to think that different applications fight for attention span and time investment. How do we get our users to spend the most time on our platforms? How could we market this? How can we reassure that they will come back and engage more? The trend has been the same, Snapchat gave us the idea of evanescence. A spark of interest, quick and digestive, no longer than 10 seconds. The ideas of stories shortly followed, and well, it feels like every device has them now. The sheer amount of self-projection and exposure really did reach a new height. We ought to be careful to not get lost within these projections.

I am a bit worried about the recent trends happening all around the globe. Especially looking over to our American friends where there seems to be more division happening than ever. I am certain that the creation of echo-chambers through algorithms did not help the general consensus of the “other”, whatever side you think you are one. The idea that it is only possible to hold one belief erases the possibility of our human plurality. Humans are not as simple, we have multifaceted interests and can also only partly like certain things. Stop abiding by being labeled, and stop having these preconceived notions about people’s personal likings, whether it be politically or socially. Not every person that likes 1 idea of a political candidate subscribes to all of them. Unfortunately, we are often forced to choose between the lesser evil…whatever that entails.

Let s hope that love shall prevail.

“I’ve seen enough of people who die for an idea. I don’t believe in heroism; I know it’s easy and I’ve learned it can be murderous. What interests me is living and dying for what one loves.”

― Albert camus

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