When one speaks of interests, that which comes to mind is something along the lines of individual persons, segmented social groups, corporations and even nations. The recognition of interests has long served as an indirect means of ensuring equity amongst all relevant stakeholders.

However, when on starts to talk about, for instance, the interests of a tree, that is when some people might start to look at oneself funny. And who would blame them? It is not like a tree is the most expressive of creatures. It does not run, talk, laugh or cry. At least it does not appear to be expressive. A tree may not run around but it can certainly grow, bloom and wilt in response to its environment. It simply takes longer than the short attention span of a human can typically appreciate.

Taking the concept to an extreme, what of the interests of the non-living? What of oil trapped beneath the earth? What of rocks? What of paintings and sculptures? What of the sun, the earth itself or the universe? Do any of these things have interests?

Perhaps (and grantedly such may be hardly evident) but what are the consequences of an object or creature’s interests not being adequately recognized (if at all)? Examples are readily available both in today’s world as well as in history. Battery food production processes, species being hunted to extinction, natural landscapes being excavated to make room for residential developments, dumping at sea, vandalism of public facilities and more.

If the concept seems difficult to grasp or worse, doesn’t seem to be worth grasping, then that would be quite understandable. One can draw a comparison with a child’s relationship with his or her toys. There comes a phase when a child might choose to deliberately cause harm to the toy, or at least permit it to come to harm. The reason why a child might do this to toys possessed may come down to a sense of sympathy lacking in the child in relation to that toy – a sympathy fueled at least in part through nostalgia. In other words a positive association with the object in terms of its association with past experiences in interacting with that object. Such is an emotional investment.

Incidentally, the concept that objects might have interests of their own is not as entirely new as one might think. Personification is a popular means of endowing objects with human-like features. Doing so facilitates association between a human observer and any given object.

Today we live in a world where humans often have a hard time looking upon each other as counterparts. In many cases we hardly take the time to acknowledge the persons around us, let alone greet them. There exists a sure divide that in turn obscures our humanity from each other. And as we grow less human so too do be become more liable to treat each other as objects. Such has already bore its concequences upon many levels – and such are far from final.

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I am not certain whether this would apply to enybody else but I personally find that flashbacks can hit in just about any circumstance and at any time of day or night. Like a mirage any one of them can drift in and our of being and can be both hazy and vivid in clarity.

I personally find that these apparitions from the past invoke shifts in emotion and perspective in a fashion that in turn impacts my choices and also my actions. Whether it is raining or sunny in a region can impact the choices of hundreds of thousands of people (especially if its not a work day). It can determine whether beaches are deserted or full of the sights and sounds of families in the sea or on the sand.

Flashbacks have generally been a source for comfort. Even the less pleasant ones have provided opportunity for reconciliation both with the past as well as with my own self. This has proved a very good thing as there is no worse an enemy to make than yourself.

These shards of one’s remembered past can also serve as a means of reconnecting with one’s personal roots. Are you the same person that you were ten years ago? Twenty years ago? And if you were to take stock of yourself, would you and your former selves be able to fully relate? How far has your present self drifted from that which you would define as your past self or selves?

If you are not certain of the answers to these questions then a few flashbacks might be able to help. They sure helped me to retain my identity in a world where ongoing social signals seek to sculpt the self regardless of who or what the self is.

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They say that it is better to be silent and thought of as a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt. And yet to be silent is to consent to the reality that is – to lack action – to be idle.

Why would an individual choose to remain silent when he or she has words to say? I suppose it could be summed up in a single word – consequence. In physics every action entails an equal and opposite reaction but the same cannot quite be applied to the field of sociology.

No in the world of people a reaction can all too often be very disproportionate from the action that triggered it. Such a truth pervades upon all levels of society and within every nook and cranny of it – no matter how institutional.

Yes humans are very good at committing the arbitrary, the disproportional and the reckless. Humans also happen to be very good at killing each other. Whether such be by stoning, burning, shooting, poisoning, electrifying, cruise missile, etc. Humanity has proven extremely resourceful in the negative for more often than not the most inconcievably frail of reasons.

We have moved from silence of individuals to the killing of individuals – and yet they are not as entirely unrelated as one might wish to believe. Humans have a tendency of acting upon insecurity, especially where there also exists the impulse for retribution.

It would be difficult to dismiss the possibility that the retributional profile of the world does indeed colour the nature of my writings – but it would be accurate to admit that the words are simply not coming to me at this time, regardless of how much I wish to touch opon this topic or that.

Much like walking through a blizzard the key is to keep one footstep following the other lest one grow stuck again buried in the figurative snow drift of reticence.

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It is never a bright day when somebody near and dear passes away. It is in fact generally a nightmare. And yet even as the departed are laid to rest, the trauma is far from over for those who are left behind.

Besides the survivors having to pick up the pieces of a shattered life, besides facing months if not years of bleakness where each day is foreshadowed by sheer absence, an even darker shadow looms at the doorway. This individual would be the tax man – the representative collector of the government of the day – the jackals who scavenge and prey upon the fallen.

Oh yes, little Suzie and and little Tom (fictional in names if not in circumstance) would have committed the faultless act of coming into whatever small fortune would have been bestowed upon them by the will of the departed – and to the government this is merely an opportunity to tax them. Heaven forbid should little Suzie or little Tom be able to discern the faintest hint of a silver lining in the dark cloud of their misery irrevocable.

It is a phenomenon that has bothered me for as long as I can remember. Why should little Suzie or little Tom owe anything to the government to begin with?

One might argue that the act of redistribution following the departure of the deceased would be a form of transaction, no matter how remote, and that such would hence be taxed as per any other transaction. Would we best interpret the passing of any individual as a implicit precursor for a taxable transaction as if he or she were checking out of the supermarket of life?

And what of the nature of the inheritence to be taxed? What of the property, the car, the two pooches and the furnishings and the bank account? Would these be taxed? Why of course… it is a transaction after all.

And yet, one should ask, were not practically all these assets, fixed or otherwise, already taxed and paid for at some point in the living years of Mr. Body?

And if one were to acknowledge that these assets were already paid up in taxes, whether in terms of income or VAT or any other tax one would like to bandy about as lightly as a pistol in the hands of a gunslinger from the old west, why should it be deemed acceptable that further taxes be made due to no reason other than the departed departing?

Herein lies the evil of this tax. It is a tax upon the taxed, at the most inopportune of times in any persons’ lives, with scant regard for the compound disservice that it represents to those surviving the departed, and a mockery to all that the departed him or herself might have stood for.

Such is the evil that prevails and such is an evil that should be abolished, in good time.

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“My name is James Cauchi and I am a gamer!”

Now that gamers anonymous is in session, it would be prudent to point out that I am not a gambler. I do not place bets on outcomes, certainly not of a monetary persuasion or worth. It is merely an unfortunate situation that gambling operations have prefered to refer to themselves as gaming operations, thereby sullying the word in the process.

The process of placing bets on an outcome, regardless of the presence of luck and/ or skill, is gambling. That such gambling tends to occur through the playing of games is not relevant since gambling can also occur in relation to key outcomes.

Will Ms. so-and-so get that promotion?

Will Mr. so-and-so be crowned King of the nation of so-and-so by the year so-and-so?

Will the earth experience war in the region of so-and-so within the next decade?

All these and more involve bets from different crowds and upon so many levels that they simply cannot be regulated with any effectiveness, no matter how much a certain ‘gaming authority’ may choose to believe otherwise. A person who wants to gamble – will. Taxing gamblers heavily will not discourage gambling but will simply drive them underground, and/ or to ruin at a faster rate.

Regardless of how steep the tax rates relevant to gambling becomes, such will not improve the lot of the population but would serve to create an economic environment hostile to new up-starts and small operations. Hence the result is a slide towards monopolistic competition, then to oligopoly as the big fish remain strong and set the terms.

It would be interesting to hear exactly what these taxes collected actually go towards, and of what comfort these expenditures would be to the person who gambles his way to financial ruin.

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The Return?Now that I’ve gotten some weight off of my chest its time to move onto the affirmations. Through observance of these it is hoped that a greater stamina shall be maintained – with the intent of preventing another extended absence from occuring.

Affirmation 1: – My Perspective – Our Reality.

There is a lot of reality out there and I do have a fair bit of perspective. In theory I should not run out of things to write about – or at least not for a very long time to come.

I should also be less concerned about exactly ‘what’ I write about. If I want to talk about current affairs then so be it, but if I intend on talking about home decor, games or other things that would be trivial to some then I should really feel free to do so. No harm done and the scope of the web log becomes broader.

Affirmation 2: – Pictures Sidelined as a Priority

Returning readers will have noticed a reduced presence of pictoral inclusions in these posts. Such is not specifically the product of laziness. In the older posts such pictoral inclusions held up or prevented me from posting – my belief being that they are essential to the website.

While I still wish to include pictures, I also wish the priority to be content creation. No lags. No being behind schedule. Less risk of losing motivation and lapsing into another space of nothingness.

Affirmation 3: – A More Down-to-Earth Approach

In the past I’d been very mindful of gaining approval and of being taken seriously. They say that image is highly important. However in retrospect I would have to say that I took it too far, especially in the run-up to the 2008 elections. The results were looks of aloofness, “seriousness”, occasionally smugness and I’d dare say even artificial constipation – none really what people who know me would associate with myself (ok – fine I can be smug occasionally, of what harm is a little pride?).

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Those are the main affirmations that I would like to make at this time. I frankly have a very limited idea of what I will be writing about in future – but won’t it be fun to find out?

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Another moment in timeAs with past instances, so too with this one, my thoughts have turned to justification. How do I justify the space that this web log has taken these past years?

The probable answer to this question would have to be never – and so I must move on to the next matter for consideration. What would I like this website to become? What purpose would I like it to take on?

It would naturally be tempting to jump straight into the politics – after all the parties have effectively switched to electoral mode (in spite of the absence of an actual date being specified as of yet).

It would be fun to enter a futile but still mildly humerous ‘I told you so’ stance – but such would be a superficial cover for feelings that run deeper than I would likely admit. Feelings such as resentment, bitterness, disdain… not typically associated with myself but then again few individuals are all that they seem.

While some things have changed, others have remained the same. I still retain a burning desire to contribute to a better tomorrow – my way – even if I may not be well-placed to do so. Regardless of where a seed may fall, it will always seek to sprout and reach for the sun, even if it may not succeed in its efforts.

In the meantime the drum beats on and the hours tick by.

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