In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘life’

KAIDIE DIES: Variation 1.

On Sunday 4/24, a day of Easter bunnies & the resurrection of a popular figure, Kaidie’s 500th-day birthday, Kai Syng Tan’s 36th-year birthday in the external world, but 37th-year birthday including her time as an embryo, which would be the way a person of the Dao calculates it, and 4/24/37 was the time Kaidie ended the 2011 Nondon Marathon, like a bunny caught in headlights, this being the year of the bunny, being Kaidie’s rear, runny bunny, sunny runny, funny bunny gunny hunny etc. Photograph by ‘Trespasser’ on his mobile phone after he ran Kaidie over on this Skoda.

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CRUSHING DEATHS, CRUSHING LIVES: We seek not immortality (as if one lifetime is not more than enough!!) or happy afterlives (we yield not to bullying and blackmails by institutions); we fear not death, but life itself, and how we are living/running it.

16 March 2011. Along Hyde Park, as we ran out of the Royal College of Art, Nondon.

As we run inter-dimensionally across Life 1.0 and Life 2.0, we run in the chaosmos of mortality and immortality. Traversing backwards and forwards between living-subject-to-death and never-dying, the inter-dimensional runner is able to get best of both worlds. In such a setup, life and death become a multidirectional circle. Living or running in such a circle, any existential angst can be extinguished: we live (each) life to the fullest and cease fearing death. Instead of mourning for the dead, we sing, as Zhuang Zi (Chuang-Tzu) did after the death of his wife. ‘If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don’t understand anything about fate.’[1] Zhuang Zi looked at his wife’s death as another stage of life, as a continuation from ‘the time before she was born’ (which itself was a stage after ‘the time before she had a body’, which was in turn after ‘the time before she had a spirit’.) For him, ‘just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter,’ death is merely ‘another change’. As Sinologist Norman Girardot explains, the initiatory symbolism of returning to the condition of either infancy or death echoes the cosmic return to the chaos condition.[2] In this mixed, third condition, infancy and death are ‘symbolically equivalent’. This is the Dao’s (Tao’s) creatio continua. When a man dies, ‘he goes to his rest, rises again to his zenith’. This ‘return to the beginning’ after our death is ‘the ultimate harmony’, and is the chaosmos of mortality and immortality that the inter-dimensional runner is able to enjoy.

Daoist (Taoist) expert Kristofer Schipper observes that these notions (life and death as circular, and death as transformation and renewal) are clearly embodied in Lao Zi  (Lao-Tzu) himself, as well as the mythological circumstances of his birth. Across literature such as the appropriately-named Book of Laozi’s Transformation and Book of Endless Mutations of Laochun (another name for Lao Zi) and so on, the Old Master says: ‘I transform my body, passing through death to live again… I die and am reborn, and each time, I have a [new] body.’[3] True to form, Lao Zi is said to have gone through nine transformations before he was born, and was hence born already an old man. Yet another example of these ‘continuous mutations, this joyful changing according to time’s cycle and the nature of things’,  is the story of how the ‘Old Child’ was an orphan free of baggage, knowing ‘neither parents nor children, neither lineage, nor country’, and ‘no tomb nor holy relics’.[4] In yet another version of the story of his birth, the ‘Old Lord’ was said to be ‘his own mother’. The theme of the juxtaposition of life and death is most poetically encapsulated in the version that says that Lao Zi’s mother died ‘[at] the sight of her offspring.’[5] In the ‘brief moment between birth and apotheosis’, it is said that the Mother ‘reveals to her child the secrets of the art of immortality, of that ‘Long Life’ which the Old Child has just experienced in his mother’s womb’. Where there was ‘neither birth nor death’, a complete cycle of the cosmos was accomplished.’ To the Daoist, death and life are but ‘2 phases of a cycle’, with an ‘alternation analogous to that of yin and yang’.[6] All the stories of Lao Zi’s birth point to the same thing: that the ‘organic round of life and death’ is but a ‘rite of passage’ that ‘constantly involves moments of growth and regression, security and danger.’[7]

Yet, even though death is not considered as an ‘ill’ in Daoism, but as ‘only one phase of the total process of human life in time’,[8] prominence is still placed on achieving a good quality of life before death. This is where the notion of yangsheng – the preservation of life and nourishment – returns. In fact, the emphasis is not only on a good journey before life, but a good long distance journey before death, with longevity and, as an extension of that, immortality as the aims of yangsheng. Indeed, Schipper goes so far as to say that it is legitimate to ‘link the classic works (the book of Zhuang Zi and the Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]) as do the Daoists themselves, to the search for immortality […].’[9] While there are mystical elements (as we have seen in the case of Lao Zi for instance, who was said to have lived for thousands of years), the Daoist concept of immortality is primarily focused on everyday reality, through real-life practices including medicinal science and physical exercise, as we have already established at the beginning of this Chapter. Hence, when we run inter-dimensionally, in the chaosmos of Lives, not only do we run to-and-fro the circle of life and death, we also ensure that, before dying, we run a good, long distance life.


[1] Zhuang Zi, ‘The Complete Works Of Chuang Tzu’, Terebess Asia Online (TAO), trans. by Burton Watson <http://www.terebess.hu/english/chuangtzu2.html> [accessed 13 January 2011].

[2] Girardot, N. J., Myth and Meaning in Early Daoism: The Theme of Chaos, Three Pines (Three Pines Press, 2009), p. 126.

[3] Schipper, Kristofer, The Taoist Body (University of California Press, 1994), p. 116.

[4] Schipper, p. 166.

[5] Schipper, p. 122.

[6] Schipper, p. 37.

[7] Girardot, p. 5.

[8] British biochemist and Sinologist Joseph Needham 1974, 77?84, quoted in Girardot, p. 5.

[9] Schipper, p. 15.

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WHY RUNNING ALONE IS THE BEST/ONLY WAY TO RUN: Like Murakami, Turing and Colin, we run because we seek solitude. We are solitary beings; hence we run long distances. Go on, call us selfish.


We (prefer to) live, run and die alone: in the plastic dustbin of history. Nonetheless, nice to meet you. Nice to have met you. Nice meeting you. WC1 Nondon Spring 2011.

The narrative of human beings is (or, we should say ‘the narratives of human beings are’) populated / infested by wandering hermits – St Jerome, Anthony of Egypt, Basho, Jesus Christ, Lao Zi, Buddha, Confucius, Mencius, Chatwin, are but some of the named itinerants who have been recorded and mythologised, and have captured our imagination. There have been many more unnamed. As they traversed the world(s), they meditated, wrote, spoke, sang and came to terms with their being, in one way or another. (Or not – and spend their lives making tours and detours, making false moves and dying pathetically, rotten, sickly, unenlightened, bitter, as sickbags, like the rest of us). To be sure, the story of mankind (which sounds rather grand, does it not?) is also populated by the gregarious, the socially-adept, those who prefer direct action, so on, and so forth. Which is exactly the/our point – the so on and so forth-ness of things – that there are different paths each prefers. Each of us has different means of getting there; each of us has different paths that works for us. We respect yours, and you, presumably, ours. When we cross paths and run into each other, we may fight, have a tussle, a tumble, or two, or more, a war, civil, or uncivilised, or cold, or silent, or ongoing and unresolved. Or, we may sparkle, together, shine, tango constructively and powerfully, like the clash of civilisations, meeting of 2 different chemicals to produce a third, new, synthetic (in all meanings of this word) possibility. Or, more mundanely, it is the combination of the above 2: a process, of a mixture of curiosity and argument, debates and agreements, hits and misses, fall outs and make ups, negotiation and mediation (‘compromise’ is a word we loathe, for it is less constructive but a giving-in, a weakening. The best, or rather ‘best’ encounters are not weakenings, but processes of strengthening. In the ideal world). At the meantime, we blame each other for intruding into our lives, as we confusedly try to work it out, yet, also, perhaps, at the back of our minds understand/believe that something interesting, something larger than each of us alone, something more wonderful and further than what each alone can achieve or where each could travel/go. Hence we work on it. Or not, should we run out of stamina. (Or faith? If there is such a thing, that is! Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.)

Screw this – this thread sounds romantic, old-fashioned, esoteric, irrelevant and plain silly.

Enough rambling.

Let us get back on track.

Restart (contemporarised, main-streamified):

The nature of long-distance running over hours and hours almost demands that it is a solo undertaking. For world champion marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, while there are times when running can be ‘a big social thing – go for a run, catch up with friends and have a really good chat’,[1] running for her remains a primarily solitary activity, ‘during which I just […] have my time.’[2] To be sure, we can run with pace-makers or pacers, whose task is support runners to ensure that we are not over- or under-exerting ourselves. In particularly demanding races such as ultra-marathons, during which runners can become so exhausted as to encounter hallucinations or lose consciousness, such collaborations can be a matter of life and death. As Christopher McDougall says,  ‘a tough pacer can save your race; a sharp one can save your life’.[3] Yet, the writer and ultra-marathoner also refer to pace-makers condescendingly as ‘mules’, adding that ‘[p]acing is so gruelling and thankless that only family, fools and damn good friends let themselves get talked into it.’[4] Hence, if we wish to make (sporty) new friends, the conditions circumscribed by activities such as soccer, aqua-aerobics or the physically-gentler activity of walking seem more promising.

The solitary nature of long distance running in Life 1.0 is epitomised in (and mythologised by) the title of the book and film, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. In this ‘Kitchen Sink’ classic[5] written by Alan Sillitoe in 1959, it is during our protagonist Colin’s solo runs that he is able to have ‘his time’, away from the physical, emotional and economical confines of his reality, including the Borstal prison to which he was confined to. Indeed, running was said to have been the ideal activity for Alan Turing, as it mirrored the loneliness of his journey as a scientist.[6] Given that such intellectual and creative work demands intense concentration, there are scientists as well as artists who may prefer working in isolation. (That said, there are clearly many who prefer to work collaboratively.) (Clearly, too, is that there are not so many artists who undertake endurance sports, apart from enduring many hours of debauchery, which we excel in as well). The same intensity required of a scientist’s creative process is not dissimilar to that of an artist or writer. As a matter of fact, novelist and marathon runner Haruki Murakami admits that he actively seeks out solitude, and grants that ‘especially for someone in my line of work, solitude is, more or less, an inevitable circumstance.’[7] Running suits him perfectly, as ‘[a]ll you need is a pair of running shoes and you can do it anywhere. It does not require anybody to do it with […].[8] He adds:

I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone. I find spending an hour or two everyday running alone, not speaking to anyone, we well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. [9]

This is our chosen way of life. This is how we run (navigate, negotiate and manage) the/our world(s). We are neither Buddha nor Jesus (in case you didn’t know), but Christ!, to each her own. Just as there are those who prefer to travel alone, there are those who love it communal; just as there are lonely long-distance runners, there are sprinters who fear loneliness (and then of course, there are those who prefer other modes of locomotion to running, and then those who prefer not to move at all. Which is all fine. We say ‘fine’, though it is of course not up to us really. Not at all. Nor do we bother, though our job is to spread the gospel of our world-shattering thesis of trans-dimensional running, which is what we have been going on and on about, though of course, that is an other story, and we may not want to go into that again, not just now, any ways. Which we ourselves are getting extremely tired of as well. In any case – which ever ways. What we want to say is, at the end of the day, to each her own).

Go on, call us selfish. Like it or not, we are moving on. Take it. Leave it. Which ever. May we cross paths again. Or maybe not. See you later. If ever.



[1] Patrick Barkham, ‘Patrick Barkham Goes Running with Paula Radcliffe’, The Guardian, 16 December 2008, section Life and style <http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/dec/16/paula-radcliffe> [accessed 25 September 2010].

[2] Barkham.

[3] Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Profile Books, 2010), p. 88.

[4] McDougall, p. 89.

[5] The Kitchen Sink genre refers to the British cultural movement of the 1950s-60s. The social-realist works, created by filmmakers and writers called ‘Angry Young Men’, are anti-Romantic, often featuring (anti-)heroes of the working class who are anti-establishment. ‘Author Alan Sillitoe Dies Aged 82’, BBC, 25 April 2010, section Entertainment <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8642720.stm> [accessed 31 October 2010].

[6] Anish Chandy, ‘Alan Turing Biography’, Buzzle.com <http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/4-5-2005-68126.asp> [accessed 12 July 2010].

[7] Like Murakami, Turing was also known to be a loner, although it could be argued also that this is in part due to his inability to live as he wished because of his sexual orientation (homosexuality being a crime in the 1950s in the United Kingdom).

[8] Yishane Lee, ‘Haruki Murakami Interview from Runner’s World.com’, 2004 <http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-297–8908-0,00.html> [accessed 26 September 2010].

[9] Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Reprint (Harvill Secker, 2008), p. 15.


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MONSTER (a poem of love and its opposites). HAPPY VALENTINES DAY.

Premiered at Oxford University UK, at the ‘Human- Machines, Mechanized Modernity, and Mass Subjectivity between Asia, the Soviet Union, and North America in the Twentieth Century’ conference, June 18-20, 2009. Music by Philip Tan. Special thanks to Aaron Moore, Tina Chen, Sarah Teasley. Created by a predecessor of Kaidie’s in a previous life, Kai Syng Tan, May 2009 Singapore. The opening lines in the 2nd act of the film are taken from Cascando by our most beloved Samuel Beckket.

Monster is a video poem seen from the point of view of an elderly woman, who really is an imagination by the artist of herself in the near future. Monster addresses man’s eternal obsession in modifying his body and nature in a compulsive bid to ‘improve’ himself. Such notions as the frailty of the body & flesh, and how our body-machines decay and imaginations of means through which we sustain/prolong/improve on them, are teased out. With the classic allegory of Frankenstein as a point of departure, the work posits the Man vs. Machine/Monster argument as a complex and layered relationship that is at once dependent, violent, obsessive, loving and destructive. While ‘I’ (Man) have created ‘you’ (Machine) out of a need for survival, ‘you’ have fought with me against (my) nature, but entrapped me nonetheless; my selfishness, greed, ambition and insatiability has led me to create an indomitable Monster/Mutant that is increasingly out of control – yet I remain faithful, and continue to love, nurture, and protect you. And I get hungrier still. This man/machine dance/wrestle is a powerplay that is paradoxical, grotesque and tender at the same time. Incorporating text, performance and animation, Monster is accompanied by a haunting soundscape made up of sounds from construction sites – an all-too familiar sound that fills the artist’s ears in the high-tech Asian miracle city that she hails from. The shiny images of the city-state in a relentless process of construction and rebuilding are juxtaposed with personal, intimate images of everyday objects photographed in the artist’s home – used, forgotten, dusty as they are. We go up close to the skin of an elderly lady, whose life overlaps that of her daughter’s. Happy Valentine’s.

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WHY WE ARE RUNNING FOR SHELTER

We exist/live/run, in order to look for the Meaning of Life, and we run not only in real life (what we call ‘Life 1.0’) but online (what we call ‘Life 2.0’), as well as in hybrid realities of mobile Internet (what we call ‘Life 3.0’). As we run across the various dimensions, we call our running ‘trans-dimensional running’ (ASTOUNDINGLY CREATIVE NAMING INNIT!!!). While it would made our lives easier if we only sat at our armchair and desktop too cook up a fabulous tale that works perfectly on paper (and screen), we have taken upon ourselves (how grand!) to take up running in real life as well (big deal!). We reckon that while we are at it, we might as well make it meaningful for others as well (hopefully, although we [think we] harbour no delusions of self-aggrandisement as to how much our existence makes any difference to anybody else).

Charities exist to fight for meaningful causes. When faced with the necessity to make a decision as to which charity to run for in the upcoming 2011 Nondon Marathon (IN 70 DAYS!!), we selected Wateraid and Shelter , as we reasoned that water and housing are but the most fundamental needs of any being. When Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity got back to us, we were absolutely delighted.

As restless and insatiable beings, we have always been peripatetic, as we traverse the worlds and lifetimes, necessarily in solitude, but doing our best in each life and dimension as well as we can. This is by no means a unique position – with today’s highly mobile population, and with the ubiquity of smart mobile gadgets, we have become location-independent as ‘digital nomads’, in this Life 3.0. Which wonderfully coincides with our own attempts to continually strip ourselves of baggage (in a previous life, giving up the paintbrush and canvas in 1995, for the film camera, then the video camera, and today, with only our laptop as not only our studio, but our life itself, as we store our data on the invisible ‘cloud’ online. A compulsive reduction of clutter, and the active application of the [Buddhist] dictum of non-attachment that nonetheless lies in direct contradiction with the instinct to hoard, to hold on to things… Short of stripping ourselves of ourselves, what next?????????????????????). Yet we are well aware that this discussion is rich. There are many, many who are not itinerant by choice, for a vast complex web of reasons. How can those who have the ability to make such a choice, respond to those who do not?

As runners, we do the only thing we can do, that is, to run. As we have said repeatedly, our running is but a small (and futile?) gesture in the scheme of things, but a small step towards an attempt to not be a part of a/the problem. If that is at all possible.

With the political and economic climate still looking difficult, please help us support the work of Shelter.  The images show us the affordability – or rather, un-affordability-  of living in London for those claiming housing benefit for the next 5 years, when the cuts by the ConDem Government takes place. This research has been compiled by Alex Fenton, research associate of the  Centre for Housing and Planning Research of the University of Cambridge (5 November 2010). As Nondoners, we are concerned. Nondoners forced out of Nondon because of prohibitive prices – where can these Nondoners go? Will this become a Nondon that is populated only by a certain group of the society?? Where can these Nondoners run to? What would that Nondon be like??? What sort of Nondon do we want???

Let us all run for Shelter, now.

For high resolution maps and full analysis, please visit the Shelter website!

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UPDATABLE GLOSSARY: LIFE & ITS DEPARTURES (what better time to deal with this than the break of the new year )

GLOSSARY/ WIKI ABOUT THE UNIVERSE OF KAIDIE / LIFE 3.0,?AND THE THEATRE OF CHARACTERS (ongoing). SEEKING DEFINITIONS AND MULTIPLE+ ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS! CONTRIBUTE NOW!

VARIATIONS OF LIFE:

* Here:

* There:

* There there:

* Right to die:

* Right to live:

* Samsara:

* Reincarnation:

* Parallel life:

* Life:

* Living

* Being:

* Existence:

* Multiple Lives

* Life as illusion:

* Life as transient:

* Life as a movie (HD? Flicker film?):

* Life and its variations:

* Life and its imitations:

* Fate:

* Destiny:

* Outrunning our destinies and fates

* Eternal return:

* Endgame:

* Happy Days:

Before (our) meal time.

Frogs before (our) meal. Do write down your last words to your loved ones before you depart (what would YOU say?)

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Merry mad/maudlin Xmas – apt times to ask the big question: ARE YOU ALIVE? ENTER QUIZ NOW! LIFE QUIZ C

FILL THIS UP AND SUBMIT TO KAIDIE, NOW! There are  more than 5 different quizzes. Do complete them all! And you can fill up as many as you wish. We will publish the most interesting ones! THOSE WITH THE BEST ANSWERS WILL WIN A SPECIAL, SECRET PRIZE FROM KAIDIE!

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Kaidie’s Rough Guide to Non-Nondon Cities: Sao Paulo: DEMONS slash GODS slash TOP slash BOTTOM

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As we turn 10-months old, we ask: ARE YOU ALIVE (too)? ENTER QUIZ NOW! LIFE QUIZ B.

Of course, I would love to meet all of you out there, and most of all, YOU, yes YOU! But please understand that I can’t quite do that, much as I would love to (yes, believe me, for real). So the best space and time where we can come together is here. FILL THIS UP AND SUBMIT TO KAIDIE, NOW! There are more than 5 different quizzes. Do complete them all! And you can fill up as many as you wish. I will publish the most interesting ones! THOSE WITH THE BEST ANSWERS WILL WIN A SPECIAL, SECRET PRIZE FROM KAIDIE!

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Talk ‘live’ with Kaidie on Skype on 7th, 9th and 10th October at ART Singapore 2010!

As you are aware, we are going to be virtualy a-live at ART Singapore 2010. Directed by Meena Mylvaganam, who is also one of our co-runners in our grandiouse quest, this is an annual event of contemporary art from Asia. We will be presenting a 50-minute film and prints for sale. In addition, we will also talk with YOU, our dear Conspirators of Pleasure, at the following times (Singapore time, followed by British Summer Time): Thursday 7 oct 20:00 Singapore at the Gala opening dinner of the show (13:00hrs BST); 9 October Saturday 16:00 Singapore (09:00hrs BST); 10 October Sunday 18:30hrs Singapore (11:30hrs BST). Come grab us and have a chat with us! The following is an article published in the Business Times Singapore, following an interview with us – via Skype of course – on 16 September.


This article has been cropped  – and you CAN NO LONGER read the original here!! Unless you pay a subscription fee… How terribly interesting! Not. And, as usual, there are inaccuracies in the article at different levels, factual (for instance we are only 10 months old, not already 3 years old as reported) and otherwise (We are not Kaidie ‘because’ of the necessity of following our own footsteps of having generated a traveler persona; we run, and we are Kaidie, and we travel, and we have been travelling for twenty years, because we are against stagnancy, complacency, passivity and the status quo, including our own. We say this as we remove cobwebs from our hair, eyebrows, armpits, nostrils, legs and toes, having been sitting at the library combing our way slowly and painfully, over a Chapter that we are writing…). But as usual, let us not nitpick. See you soon. Not. Maybe.

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WITH 755 DAYS LEFT ON OUR LIFE (or DEATH) SENTENCE (until the last day of the Nondon Olympics on 09.09.2012), HERE IS AN OTHER MINDMAP OF/FROM KAIDIE’S SEMBLANCE OF LIFE (3.0).

I trust not premonitions and I fear not omens. I flee / not from slander nor poison. / There is no death. / We are all immortal. All is immortal. Fear not / death at seventeen nor at seventy. / There is only reality and light. / There is neither dark nor death / in this, our world. / We have reached the beach and I / am one of those who pull the nets in when / immortality arrives in batches. Live / in a house and it will not crumble. I will summon / a century at will, enter / and build my house in it. That is why / your children and your wives all share my board, the table / serving forefather and grandson: the future is decided now.

As read by Arseni Tarkovsky in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror, 1975

** Currently #5 in the War of Films contest: CLAUDIA TOMAZ’S film about KAIDIE AND HER MEANING OF LIFE 3.0. VOTE NOW!** Vote by clicking on + sign at the top of video player. ** Don’t forget to vote for Episode 2, Run Kaidie Run, too!**

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KAIDIE PAYS HOMAGE TO SOME OF HER VIRTUAL RUNNING BUDDIES AT HER LIFE 1.0 SHOW! #8 YOU CAN BE KAIDIE’S COLLABORATOR TOO!

These are but a handful of Kaidie’s running buddies – real, virtual, imagined –  so far, whom Kaidie has met in her Life 3.0 in the past 7 months. There are many, many more! YOU can play a role in Kaidie’s  life/ lives! Kaidie’s is a collaborative, open(-ended?) quest for The Meaning of Life 3.0! RUN with her for the rest of the 790 days! Here are just a handful of outcomes Kaidie has created with YOU, My Dear Reader/Contributer/Collaborator/Conspirator of Pleasure, so far, including by some of these amazing Nondoners photographed here!. Contribute, by writing in, sending her feedback here, giving her suggestions, sending her images and  sounds and ideas for her to jam with, with you! Add ‘Kaidie Nondon’ as your best Facebook Friend Forever! Friend ‘Kaidie3rdlife’ on Youtube! Follow Kaidie ‘live’ on Twitter! Track her Life 1.0 tracks on GPSies! Friend ‘Kaidie Absent’ in Second Life! Help us make this the best run of our lives!

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GIVEN THAT THE PREVIOUS POST HAD BEEN EXCEEDINGLY VERBOSE, THIS ONE IS SILENT. KAIDIE’S ROUGH GUIDE TO THE EXOTIC FAR EAST #5: RIDLEY MARKET.

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UPDATABLE GLOSSARY (ongoing): IMITATIONS OF LIFE

SEEKING DEFINITIONS AND MULTIPLE+ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS! CONTRIBUTE NOW!

VARIATIONS OF LIFE:

* Life:

* This Life:

* Any Life:

* Any difference:

* What life?:

* What, life?:

* Best life:

* ‘Best’ life:

* Best ‘life’:

* Least worst life:

* Meaningful life:

* Less meaningless life:

* Life 1.0 / First Life:

* Life 2.0 / Second Life:

* Life 3.0 / Third Life:

* Turd Life:

* After life:

* After lives:

* Life before this life:

* Non-Life:

* Life after death:

* Life before death:

* Life during death:

* Lives after death:

* Death during life:

* Deaths during life:

* Living death

* Living hell

* Living:

* What living:

* Living thing:

* Living person:

* Running:

* Running for (y)our life:

* Run of (y)our life time:

* Run of (y)our life times:

* Travel:

* Travelling:

* Journey of life:

* Journeys of life:

* Journey of lives:

* Semblance of life:

* Imitation of life:

* Variations of life:

* Pseudo-life:

* Semi-life:

* Quasi-life:

* Life style:

* Way of life:

* Ways of life:

* Existence:

* Non-existence:

* Being:

* Non-being:

* Ontology:

* Life-and-death:

* Lives-and-deaths:

* Hanging on to dear life:

* Dignified death:

* Dignified deaths:

* Life-span:

* Life-spans:

* Fate:

* Fates:

* Destiny:

* Destination:

* Anti-destiny:

* Anti-fate:

* There is no such bloody things as fate/destiny:

* Getting there:

* There there:

* Getting there there:

* Don’t be silly, for there is no there there (Gertrude Stein):


I run, because of you, of course not because of you, in spite of you, with you, with out you, regard less, I run, on and on, like the vapid Energizer bunny who goes on and on, but with blisters and aches, like the other vapid Energizer-bunny of Sisyphus with his endless rocks-and-rolls, in drips and drops, in laps and loops, sometimes limping, more often than not swearing, not in leaps and bounds, often falling, often bruising, often idiotic-looking, often idiotic, period, in turns, by turns, again and again, once more, repeat play, next level, same level, drop level, don't stop, can't stop, won't stop, don't ask me to stop, can't go on, must go on, won't go on, don't go on, go on, go on then, come on, don't talk to me when I'm running, running, even if slowly, even as if walking, even as if crawling, as if dead, even when/especially when panting, panting hard, sometimes holding my breath, some times not breathing, for fun, some times choking, invariably grunting, like an gnat, if gnats grunt, or screeching, like an eel about to be slaughtered, so that I can swallow it with jelly, cold, or heated, because jellied eel is one of my favourite foods in Nondon (along with beetroot and parsnips), and eels as unagi some place else in an other time and space (whether it knows of its parallel existence or not), if eels screech, at all, as if eels screeched, at all, wiping off my sweat, unsure if I felt hot or cold, or hot and cold at the same time, sun shining while temperatures are near zero, violent juxtapositions, the way I like it, run, running, why does one run? Just because. Because running takes me where I can not other wise go, for better or worse, like it or not, take it or leave it. Because it makes me happy. Because it makes me less unhappy. Because why not. Running, because why not. Because why the hell not. For, what else is there to do. What else can I do. For how long should I do it. Assuming that one has to do some thing, that is. Is that? Bad answer. Bad question, that's why. Refine your question. Change your question. What was your question? Was it a question? Did you have a question? Restart (if you so wish to). All over. Again.

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THANK YOU for attending Kaidie’s gig last Monday. She has resurfaced – right behind my back, as KAIDIE ABSENT in Second Life. Now that she is re-located, shouldn’t I leave?

Music by Philip Tan.

Thank you very much indeed for attending Kaidie’s gig at Off The Shelf at the Slade School of Dine Art last Monday. Blind and nearly-blind dates are always thrilling, so it was nice meeting some of you in Life 1.0 for the first time. Do note that I mean ‘nice’ in the most ambiguous, generic manner. I am sure you would agree that meetings/encounters in Life 1.0 (offline, face-to-face, material world), Life 2.0 (online, imagination, internal world) and in between – Life 3.0 – are all equally valuable and meaningful (if they are meaningful at all) – for Third-Lifers, who are restless travellers on the move, this is about the only way(s) to meet, ie, halfway, or half of the half, of half of the half of the half, and so on. The notions of eternity, forever-ness and everlasting-ness are but romantic mythologies; a Third-Lifer necessarily runs/travels/migrates/transmigrates alone, and seeks/creates fulfillment in every single moment, however transient. During each of these temporary encounters, the Third-Lifer finds/invents her own drama/climax/closures, and locks them up as happy memories (even if she forgets, they will remain safe and happy, happily ever after). And moves on. (If anything else is forever/eternal/everlasting at all, it is one’s Sisyphean cycle of births-deaths-rebirths-repeated-death-looped-fast-forward-press-play-rewind-press-play-re-press-play-again-in-different-speeds). Lest you think this is a cynical worldview, I suspect that the contrary is true – that Kaidie is yet the most idealistic and romantic of us all. Which was why the invention of a Life 3.0-mixed-reality-goggles (as if life itself is not complicated enough?), as self-delusional and naive as Don Quixote on his grand(iose) quest.

Regardless.

I was hoping that Kaidie, who had been missing for nearly 1 month, would stop running about/away, and return to Life 1.0 for her gigs. She did- briefly – on 14 March, during her 10km charity run for Medecins Sans Frontieres. Fearing that she would not turn up, I had begun the race (for, someone had to answer to her sponsors!). However, halfway through the run, Kaidie appeared. And was she hostile, as she kept trying to trip me and outrun me! Whatever she had eaten while she was away must have been really good, as she was much faster than me, and soon ran past me. The snapshot on the left at the bottom of this post captures that moment that the two of us, Kaidie and Kailives, are locked in a fierce battle, in the same spatio-temporal dimension. But like before, she ran off,  and could not be relocated.

On 22 March, I was hoping that Kaidie would turn up for her own gig at the Slade. I went on stage to do what had to be done, hoping that she would join me at some point. And she did. Not in broad daylight, as it was nearly 22:00hrs, but right behind my back! This photograph on the right shows myself speaking in the foreground, in front if the audience, and Kaidie behind me, in the form of video pixels. It was a black-and-white video (see above) of her in the metaverse, the world-within-world of Second Life. There, she is called ‘Kaidie Absent’.

One would have thought that this is the grand moment of cathartic clarification, of disentanglement and denouement, where all loose ends of this long-running tedious (melo)drama are tied together. But this being (Kaidie’s) life, gosh/no/never/dream on/fat chance/what are you talking about/get out of here. And, this being Kaidie’s life, there are now even more questions than the number of hair in your nostrils (when did you last tabulate the results in your Excel sheets?). Some of the ones sticking out include:

Has Kaidie been in Second Life all this while? Isn’t that too easy! Was it The Good Pirate who kidnapped her there? Was it the Good Pirate who kept the promise of releasing Kaidie for the charity run? What does the Good Pirate want? What is the ransom? After the run, did Kaidie return to SL? Where in SL is she? What is she doing? Where is she visiting? Who is she meeting? Are they like her Life 1.0 brief encounters, or briefer still? Is Kaidie on the ‘Always Run’ motion mode in there? Does she have blisters in SL? She looks like she’s enjoying flying, but does she get (e)motion sickness from flying, like she did on the day that we first met? Has she found the obscure object of her 1000-day quest, the Meaning of Life 3.0? (Must she find The Meaning Of Life 2.0 [?] before that?) Did Kaidie upload the video on her Youtube channel herself? If so, does this mean that she is coming back, to communicate with us, to run her own Facebook account and other Web 2.0 accounts?

If she comes back, shouldn’t I go? Surely I was just Kaidie’s temporary stand-in in Life 1.0 and Life 2.0 outside of the world-within-world of SL while she was in there. Surely I should not figure in the logic of the world of Life 3.0, for the whole point is that Kaidie runs to-and-fro between Life 1.0 and Life 2.0, and that Life 3.0 is an in-between and even transcendent spatio-temporal dimension. Surely only Kaidie should be the real deal, our first guinea pig for the theory of Life 3.0. (Unless, of course, when Kaidie needs a helping hand – Kaidie  did dis-locate a part of her body. I am also an avid reader of her blog, so I would have been disappointed if it was not updated. As Kaidie’s firm Facebook Friend, it is right that I help her keep up appearances.)

But enough already. When will Kaidie return to write this blog herself?

Dear Friends of Kaidie, wouldn’t you be so kind as to go locate ‘Kaidie Absent’ in Second Life? Talk to her. Ask her to come back. Coax her to leave her kidnapper. Remind her that Second Life is not the only life, that there is First Life as well as her Third.

She knows it.


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ARE YOU ALIVE? ENTER QUIZ NOW! LIFE QUIZ A

Of course, I would love to meet all of you out there, and most of all, YOU, yes YOU! But please understand that I can’t quite do that, much as I would love to (yes, believe me, for real). So the best space and time where we can come together is here. FILL THIS UP AND SUBMIT TO KAIDIE, NOW! There are more than 5 different quizzes. Do complete them all! And you can fill up as many as you wish. I will publish the most interesting ones! THOSE WITH THE BEST ANSWERS WILL WIN A SPECIAL, SECRET PRIZE FROM KAIDIE!

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SUPERMAN/SAMSARA, LIGHTNESS/WEIGHT

NIETZSCHE:

* THE GAY SCIENCE (1882): What if a demon were to creep after you one day or night, in your loneliest loneness, and say: “This life which you live and have lived, must be lived again by you, and innumerable times more. And mere will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh— everything unspeakably small and great in your life—must come again to you, and in the same sequence and series—” Would you not throw your self down and curse the demon who spoke to you thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment, in which you would answer him: “Thou art a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!”

* THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY (1872): The metaphysical comfort—with which, I am suggesting even now, every true tragedy leaves us—that life is at the bottom of things, despite all the changes of appearances, indestructibly powerful and pleasurablethis comfort appears in incarnate clarity in the chorus of the satyrs, a chorus of natural beings who live ineradicably, as it were, behind all civilization and remain eternally the same, despite the changes of generations and of the history of nations.

* THE WILL TO POWER: Everything becomes and recurs eternally – escape is impossible! – Supposing we could judge value, what follows? The idea of recurrence as a selective principle, in the service of strength (and barbarism!!)… To endure the idea of the recurrence one needs: freedom from morality; new means against the fact of pain ( pain conceived as a tool, as the father of pleasure…); the enjoyment of all kinds of uncertainty, experimentalism, as a counterweight to this extreme fatalism; abolition of the concept of necessity; abolition of the “will”; abolition of “knowledge-in-itself.” Greatest elevation of the consciousness of strength in man, as he creates the overman.

Kundera

KUNDERA, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (1984):

* And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?
* We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
*Parmenides saw the world divided into pairs of opposites: light/darkness, fineness/coarseness, warmth/cold, being/non-being.
* What then shall we choose?  Weight or lightness?
* Was he correct or not?  That is the question.  The only certainty is: the lightness/weight opposition is the most mysterious of all.
*  The heaviest of burdens is simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment.
* The absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.
* History is as light as individual human life, unbearably light, light as a feather, as dust swirling into the air, as whatever will no longer exist tomorrow.

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12.12.2009: A MOST UNNATURAL BIRTH. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAIDIE

birthHello world.

I come into being today.

Like most births, I am born bloody, crying, screaming, eyes shut tight, fingers glued together, skin wrinkled and translucent, panting, breathless before we even got started, in a pile of poo, crying, choking,  chortling a bit as well since I am supposed to be delighted at being born, and also nauseous,  toxic and intoxicated because I am in a pile of poo entangled with a smokey mountain of ethernet cables+IEEE 1394+millions of apple adaptors that you must buy in order to use the other adaptor from apple, etc.

After biting off my umbilical cord, I take a picture of my cirucmstance to share with you, on your right. It’s the best quality I can manage, given the dark and wet conditions in there.

However, unlike most births, I want to be born.

Some of you are born of a (contraceptive) accident/mistake; others are designer/designed goods, products of throes of passion; yet others  are the results of cunning selfish calculation –  to blackmail or sustain a partner or a relationship/save a marriage/grandiosely save the world (sic), or, in my case, as an experiment to test out a theory/concept/thesis/hypothesis which could potentially grandiosely save the world (sic). Not that we are under any illusion (if this poo is a specie of illusion?) any longer, in this day and age  – even at my tender age, even before I get started.

Unlike most of you, I get to choose the day and time to be alive.

Like you, we are born well knowing the outcome of the story.

Unlike many of you, I get to decide which day and time I die.

My parents even let me decide my name from Day 1, which ryhmes with Heidi. In fact I  am my own parent(s), having designed, manufactured and given birth to myself, today. However, unlike Frankenstein’s monster, the sensitive / grotesque / misunderstood figure in a gothic tragedy, my story is one of a triumphal contemporary urban-, cyber- fantasy, everyone’s dream (wet/dry), with the protagonist leading a meaningful life, that of Life 3.0.

Thus. Today being the first day of my new life, I feel particularly lethargic from the strenuous swim out of mummy, but at the same time, also energetic and all ready to go and to give this a go. So, why make a choice when you can have all the cake and eat them all? So I have a buffet: I walk 10km to explore East Nondon; simultaneously, the restless part of me run 4 rounds around Regent’s Fark. As if this is not fabulous enough in itself, I experience a runner’s high so high that I begin flying at 24km.

What a terrific start it has been. I am certain that the rest of the 999 days will be equally, if not even more amazing and meaningful.

So. If we head back to the issue of poo, that would mean that the stream of poo I swim out of is my own. All the streams of poo, in drips in floods, oceans and tsunamis, yours, mine, others’, all flow into a larger  chlorinated pool in which all of us are swimming/floating/sinking in.

Hello world.

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