Saturday, 3 June 2017

Nothing without consciousness.


One night I was listening to a philosopher on youtube. At one he point stated:

You're an aperture for the universe to see itself.

I paused the video to digest this concept. A big grin enveloped my face. An epiphany-shaped penny dropped. I immediately thought of all the hours I'd spent hassling Joe and Armin about the nature of egos, consciousness and the universe when I suddenly got it. Or a big part of it. I AM THE UNIVERSE. Consciousness is not a separate thing. What a revelation. The fuzziness that had impaired my vision evaporated. Armin's “I am God” crystalised in my mind. Joe's “When you know who you are” de-pixilated.

“I am the universe” may sound solipsistic but it’s not meant to. I now understand why at the quantum level there’s no matter until a conscious observer collapses the wave function. We can will things into existence. The tree makes no sound unless someone hears it. The universe requires observers so that it can exist. It all clicked.

Prior to this I’d been staring into Nietzsche’s abyss wondering if I’m sliding down a coil of nihilistic thought. Alas no. Nothingness is the highest goal. When you overcome nihilism, the great nothingness, you become everything. You are the universe.

Do I have answers for others? No. What I can say, however, is that society does not have your interests at heart. Societies demand sacrifice, conformity and the theft of your energy. The subsequent pursuit of wealth and status (beyond one’s basic needs) merely provide the illusion of happiness. I think I’ve always subconsciously known this. I see it with far more clarity now.

Two of the most content (and switched on) people I’ve ever met have a few things in common: low stress jobs, minimal possessions, eschewing relationships allowing them to unashamedly follow their passions and drive themselves towards Maslow’s self-actualisation. They know happiness comes from within and are the embodiment of that knowledge. Living sovereign lives to the max. Sampling all the universe has to offer. And it is a rich universe.


So, against a backdrop of these mental contortions someone wrote a message on my last blog asking about women. Well, I appear to have slipped into some kind of introspective-monk-trance. 2017 has been free of tabs, booze and birds. And it's fine. There was a woman last week who sat next to me in a cafe. Spoke good English, late 20s, reasonably fit. She asked if I had a gf? No. Ever married? No. On and on. I sat there bored. It's either: 1. I've had so much pussy it's lost intrigue, or, 2: At my age (43), I just can't be arsed with the BS one is expected to go through. The juice just ain't worth the squeeze.

During the conversation (which felt a bit like an interview – I only went for a coffee!) she pressed more about marriage. I explained how every exgf has tried to pressure me into it.
"Why didn't you?"
"Because, for a bloke, there are few advantages offset by many responsibilities. Moreover, I value autonomy."
She seemed a bit shocked but reluctantly conceded those points while I felt an overwhelming sense of release - free from the shackles of external (female) validation, gynocentrism and endless pursuit. Bliss.

I’ll likely get back into chasing sex again but for now I'm content to follow other passions. Creative: Blogs, youtube videos, linkedin articles. Health: weights, running. Intellect: maths, physics, philosophy and Mandarin. Exploration: cycling around Xi’an. Minimalism: knuckling under and saving for future employment breaks. Solitude: enjoying my inner thoughts. But most of all just being. Content in the knowledge that I don’t have to do anything. The universe doesn’t care. It just wants us to look at it. Explore it. Marvel at it.

Observing life through a lens of detachment leaves one pondering peoples’ rationale for doing what they do. The fat middle-aged Chinaman sitting in a BMW with a cigarette drooping from his mouth. Could he run 100 yards? The outrageously dolled up lass tottering along in high heels. Is she hunting fat blokes in BMWs? Endless possibilities everywhere you look. The answers don’t really matter.


The Beemer was stuck in traffic. As I flew past it on my bicycle I entertained the unlikely scenario whereby he wanted to trade it for my bike. It didn’t take long to realize I have no use for such a thing. Adherence to minimalism means I own a weights bench and a bicycle. That’s it. Nowt else except a bag of clothes. A quote from the movie Fight Club:

The things you own end up owning you

And they’re right. I ditched all that shit over a decade ago and never looked back. Carve your own path. Create your own narrative. Have the courage to leave the flock.

Xi'an Life

Anyway, enough of that shite. What’ve you been up to?

I rode around on Nick's bike for a few days. I live not too far from a lake park and the Big Goose Pagoda.

It became clear I needed my own wheels. So off to Walmart for this 560Y ($80) beauty. I immediately rode it 15km south towards the QingLing Mountains. There were many filthy cement trucks thundering past on the way - a testament to China's ongoing insatiable development.

Another weekend Nick, Ivan and myself met up for what I thought was going to be a small ride to a cafe somewhere. Wrong. 90km later I needed physiotherapy. We got to see parts of the city that few foreigners venture to. Xi'an is 99.9% ethnically Chinese so expect to be stared at a lot. Liberal whites might not like Xi'an because of its lack of "diversity". Although I suspect, for them, racial homogeneity is a non-issue outside Europe.


So, after 1/4 of a year here, there's been no problems with pollution. Except one day. When there was a sand storm. Readings across the whole city maxed out at 999. The government's pollution scale tops out at 300.

It was my first ever time in UBER pollution. Check out the difference. The photo on the right was during a school football game. The build up reminded me of the Champions League. The football reminded me of Sunday League.


In China they've made a valiant effort to translate some public signs into English (for the 85% of the world who can't read Chinese). However, what they didn't do is check with an English speaker if they make sense. I've seen thousands of outrageously nonsensical translations. This one isn't too bad. Take the rap? Where did they get that from? The Sweeney? Miami Vice?

There are signs on the metro telling people to not spit, piss or shit in the carriage. I think this is the first subway system I've been on where this is necessary. And it is necessary. I was on the bus one day when an old woman sat next to me. She hawked up a big greeny and spat it ...... between her feet .... on the bus. No one batted an eye. She'd be right at home on a Naval dockyard but I wouldn't want to invite her round for tea. Urgh. And they consider Europeans to be uncivilised barbarians?


A couple of pics from aimless bike rides around town.

Sunset and graduation.


I quit alcohol and nicotine back in December. Since then I've tried to eat better and exercise a bit. The diet is simple and cheap. Instant oats with banana in the morning. School lunch. 'Homemade' (lol) chicken and vegetable soup each evening. I cook it myself and buy fresh veg every few days from the local markets. I normally use a full chicken breast, a potato, an onion, a carrot and a leek. It was minging the first few times, but improved after some trial-and-error addition of herbs and spices and shit - it's not hard.

The results are astonishing. I can't believe a six pack is beginning to poke through! I've never had one before and thought they were impossible for mere mortals - especially at 43. So like everything else in life, goals are achievable if you're disciplined and put in the required work.

It would be hard to go back to my old pissed up lifestyle. Be the best man you can be. Physically and mentally. Keep pushing.



  1. Good to see you enjoying Xian and cycling. May come up that way one day.

  2. Enjoyed your blog and the meaning of life.

  3. Great to see you taking it all in!

    1. English Alex of Trang/CM fame??
      American Alex of Trang/Jakarta fame??
      Motorbike Alex of Chiang Mai fame??
      So many Alex-es, so little time.

  4. Ha, none of the above, mate.
    Just Alex of Headstart/Satit Prasarnmit exchange fame, i am afraid.


Please be nice.