In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘lives’

KAIDIE TRANS-MIGRATING? 5

Cabled-up, taken a deep breath, pink-socked, wobbled, ready to take off, to re-turn, to life, on earth. Thummmmpppppppppppppppppppplunginggggggggggggggggggggfreefalling.................. (tbc)

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KAIDIE DIES: Variation 3.

Photograph by Trespasser on his mobile phone as he ran into this death scene while on his morning run this morning. After he twat this picture, it went viral, because of the e-coli pandemic, because of the poisonous mung beans, because of the flimsy wire holding Kaidie's neck, because of suffocation, because of tension, because of coughing, because of hiccuppings and hiccdownings. Trespasser's site has since been closed. Nonetheless, the photograph still survives, stubborn as the bacteria, which thrives in warm feces (cold ones turn white and hard, like corpses, like carcasses, like that of Kaidie's).

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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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REVERIES OF A SOLITARY RUNNER II: flights with Qu Yuan and his beautiful suicide lament (3BCE)

We seek not immortality - not even longevity (what for?), but a life lived to its fullest, every lifetime, each time we live it.

Qu Yuan’s description of his passage to death and beyond (3BCE) is simply one of the most beautiful passages we have ever encountered – the juxtapositions of internal turmoil with external journey, the spiritual and the tangible, the political and the personal, the metaphysical with the physical, the melancholic and the ecstatic, the extreme feeling of isolation and liberation, the unliving with being most alive – are so skillfully presented that the reader can not but feel happy (for the narrator) and heartbroken (for us, for there will be no more beautiful verses from him) at the same time. (Any experience that evokes 2 opposing emotions simultaneously – that the sublime embodies perfectly, with the interplay of the fearful and the awe-inspiring – is the most powerful experience for us). While we certainly cannot say that we fully agree with or understand it (with the multiple references to the religious/spiritual), Qu Yuan’s song hits us. According to Livia Kohn in her delightful The Taoist Experience: An Anthology, Later Printing (State University of New York Press, 1993), Qu Yuan’s The Far-Off Journey (Yuanyou) is ‘most classical of all ecstatic journeys in Chinese religion and literature’. In this song, the poet and official describes ‘a visionary journey that takes him from the sorrows bad afflictions of his unhappy life on earth through various physical practices and concentration efforts to the realm of the gods and immortals.’ Qu Yuan is of course renowned for eventually having thrown himself in sorrow into the Miluo River as a protest to the corruption of his government, the reason for many Chinese to mark the annual Dragon Boat Festival by throwing rice dumplings into the river from dragon boats in the futile wish that the fish would eat the dumplings instead of the tormented poet. Sensible 21st century beings that we are, we respect and enjoy the lovely story/legend/myth that makes Qu Yuan heroic and poetic, as much as we take it with a pinch of salt (as we wolf down the rice dumplings). At the same time, trans-dimensional runners that we are, we have 1 foot on the ground, and the other in cuckoo land, in blue skies; grounded and earth-bound as we are, we travel the world(s) (in spirit – whatever that might be? With more bags of salt? How heavy is that!?!) with the doomed anti-hero-fantasist-travellers, ala Don Quixote (Cervantes’ and Kathy Acker’s), Fitzcarraldo and Orlando. While Qu Yuan flies (and at some point of the song, GALLOP!!), we run, trans-dimensionally; while he seeks union / re-union with an ineffable force (the Tao), we dispel the notion of the existence of any convenient, centralised thing/being/institution; while he is disembodied, leaving his physical body behind, we run, embodied, burdened, with us, our physical, corporeal beings – which is the point, which is also the problem, the problem of our 1000-day troublesome endeavour, but the problem is very much the point. And, unlike Qu Yuan, we seek neither longevity nor immortality (as if one lifetime is not more than enough!?!). Yet, like Qu Yuan, and like Rousseau, we know, and we do, want to move on. Here, we reproduce Qu Yuan’s Far-off Journey (Yuanyou) from Kohn’s anthology (p. 251 – 257). Qu Yuan’s astral journey reminds us of that of the ancient Egyptian as we learnt at the British Museum at the wonderful Book of the Dead show, as well as the hauntingly beautiful paintings of Marc Chagall (so much so that we are compelled to pick up the brush and paint and canvas to paint [again]- although the production of paintings, of things, is is direct contradiction to our desire/purpose of wanting to not attach, to be free from burden, in our earthly travels and beyond…). The process of transcribing the translated text help us move closer to Qu Yuan’s mind, as he traverses the worlds, as every word comes off the page to the screen, from the poet to paper, from text in one language to another via the translator, from the translator to us, from us to you.

Saddened by the hardships of the common world,

How I wish to rise up and travel ways far-off!
My own strength is feeble; there is no support –
What could I stride on to float up and away?

Encountering nothing but foulness and defilement,
I am alone and miserable – who could I talk to?
At night I lie restless, never sleeping,
My soul roving about till the approach of dawn.

Thinking of the infinity of heaven and of earth,
I cry with the eternal toil of human life.
People of the past I cannot reach;
People of the future I will never know.

Pacing with restlessness, I yearn to get away,
Confused and close to madness, I long for the eternal.
My mind goes wild, strays off without control;
My heart melancholy, I am ever sadder.

Then suddenly my spirit, off, never to come back.
My body, like a withered tree, left behind alone.

I look within, try to get back my grip,
To find the place where life’s energy arises:
All vastly empty and tranquil, there is serenity.
Quietly in non-action, spontaneous truth is found.

I hear how Master Redpine cleansed the world’s defilements
And wish to follow the model he has left.

Honoring the blessed virtue of the perfected,
I admire all who in the past have become immortal.
Taking off in a transformation, they were never seen,
While still their name and nature continue on and on.

Oh, how Fu Yue went to live among the stars!
How Han Zhong Succeeded to realize the One!
Oh, for the body to slowly fade off in the distance –
To leave the human crowd behind, to vanish so completely!

Oh, to follow the flow of energy, rising ever upward –
Swift as the spirit, wondrous as a ghost!
To see thaw rolled get hazy, look back from far-off –
All dazzling essence, flashing back and forth!

Oh, to go away from all the dust to greater purity –
Never to turn back to old home!
To escape all the afflictions and never fear again –
None in the world knows how this truly is!

And here I am, afraid of the passing of the seasons,
With every rising of the sun on its westward move.
A subtle frost descends, sinking ever downward,
I fear my fragrant freshness will fade all too soon.

Oh, to leave it all for free and easy journey
Through years eternal that will never end!
Here, who would enjoy with me my remaining fragrance,
Walk, through the country air and share my depth with me?

Gaoyang, my hero, is removed ever farther,
Where will this life, so lonely, lead me to?

Then again, as spring and autumn hurry,
How can I always stay in my old home?
The Yellow Emperor cannot become my model,
But I can follow Jumping Wang to please myself.

So I eat the six energies and drink the nightly dew,
Rinse my mouth with yang itself and swallow morning light.
Guarding the purity of the spirit light within,
I absorb essence and energy, drive out all that’s coarse.

Wandering in the wake of the gentle wind,
I reach the Southern Nest without a single stop.
I meet with Master Wang and pause to speak to him,
Inquire about the harmony and virtue of the One.

‘The Tao can only be received,’ he says,
‘It never can be given.
‘So small that has no within,
‘So big it has no bounds.

‘No twists at all inside your soul,
‘And it will come spontaneously.
‘Focus on energy and open up to spirit –
‘Let them grow in you at the midnight hour.

‘Wait for the Tao in emptiness,
‘Clear even of non-action.
‘All living species rise from this,
‘It is the Gate of Virtue.’

Thinking of my dear old friends in my imagination.
I heave a heavy sigh and brush the tears away.
Slowly again I float, rising ever farther:
Suppressing now my will, keeping myself controlled.

I point to the God of Fire and gallop straight to him,
Wishing to journey to the world’s southern end.
I gaze on wilderness beyond all known directions,
Float on and on over watery expanse.

The Blessed Melter of the South stops me on the way,
So I go back by phoenix and visit the River Consorts.
They play the ‘Pool of Heaven’ and sing me ‘To the Clouds’;
Both ladies then perform the Nine Songs of Shao.

Asking the Xiang goddesses to play their zithers for me,
I bid the Sea God dance with the River God.
They pull up water monsters ti step forward with them,
Their bodies coiling and writhing in ever swaying motion!

Gracefully the Lady Rainbow circles all around them;
The Phoenixes soar up, stay hovering above –
The music swells ever higher, into infinity.

At this point I leave to wander yet again;
With my entourage, I gallop far away.

At the world’s far end at the Gate of Coldness,
I race the rushing wind to Clarity Springs.
I follow Zhuanxu of the North over piled-up ice,
Turn from my path to pass through Mystery Darkness.

Striding on cosmic mainstays, I look back behind me,
Summon Qian Lei the Creator to appear,
To go in front of me on the level way.

Thus I tour all four outlands,
Traverse all the six regions,
Up to the crakes of Heaven,
Down to the Great Abyss.

Below just lofty openess, there is no more earth;
Above just empty vastness, there is no more heaven.

I look but my vision blurs, nothing to be seen;
I listen but my ears are numb, nothing to be heard.

Going beyond non-action, I reach the Clarity,
Become a neighbour of the Great Beginning.

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REVERIES OF A SOLITARY RUNNER I: Following the footsteps of Rousseau and his final work, Reveries of a Solitary Walker (1776-1778)

One of the images we collected in our solitary runs - a picture of peace and a fecal-matter-smeared wall and the defecator in Nondon.

The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote Reveries of the Solitary Walker (Les reveries du promeneur solitaire) between 1776-1778. When he died in 2 July 1778 at the age of 66, the work remained incomplete. The autobiographical series of essays is structured as 10 walks that Rousseau undertook in Paris alone. The work was written just after Rousseau ’emerged from the darkest passages of his life’ (says Peter France in the introduction to this 2004 Penguin edition, which we read at the Waterstones at Gower Street in Nondon one difficult midmorning), after many years of exile. During these final 2 years of his life, Rousseau felt misunderstood and unhappy. Rather than a work that is about walking, or has walking as a subject matter, Rousseau uses the act of walking as a medium, as a form, to express his final thoughts, before his death. Although Rousseau was not a runner, we identify with his sentiments as a solitary wanderer, and especially so in these unshiny days of ours. Bitter but at peace with himself (or rather resigned to his fate, whatever ‘fate’ might mean), Rousseau’s contemplations remind us of those of the other hermit-philosopher-poets, EM Cioran and Fernando Pessoa. We are also reminded of Viktor Sjostrom’s character in Ingmar Bergamn’s powerful Wild Strawberries (1957), who is also a bitter man looking back at his past, laden with regrets. While there is a salvaging epiphany at the end of the film/road-movie of sorts (and much quiet humour – Bergman or Scandinavian style, if we could say so? – throughout the film – some of which Woody Allen later played up), it is a nicely dark and murky. This is one of our favourite works of art of all times that continues to haunt us all these years and lifetimes, to our death(s). As Rousseau expresses in Emile (published 1762): ‘Every attachment is a sign of insufficiency […] A truly happy being is a solitary being.’ As we draft ours, Rousseau’s pre-death message in the Reveries of a Solitary Walker enables us to feel a certain delirium – as much as despair and desperation:

WALK 1

Everything is finished for me on earth. People can no longer do good or evil to me here. I have nothing more to hope for or to fear in this world; and here I am, tranquil at the bottom of the abyss, a poor unfortunate mortal, but unperturbed, like God Himself.

A recent event as sad as it was unexpected has finally extinguished this feeble ray of hope and shown me that my earthly destiny is irrevocably fixed for all time. Since then, I have resigned myself utterly and recovered my peace of mind.

…realizing eventually that all my efforts were in vain and my self-torment of no avail, I took the only course left to me, that of submitting to my fate and ceasing to fight against the inevitable. This resignation has made up for all my trials by the peace of mind it brings me, a peace of mind incompatible with the unceasing exertions of a struggle as painful as it was unavailing.

Even physical suffering would take my mind off my misfortunes rather than adding to them. Perhaps the cries of pain would save me the groans of unhappiness, and the laceration of my body would prevent that of my heart.

Actual misfortunes have little effect on me; it is easy for me to accept those which I suffer in reality, but not those which I fear. My fevered imagination builds them up, works on them, magnifies them, and inspects them from every angle. They are far more of a torment to me imminent than present; the threat is far more worse than the blow. As soon as they happen, they lose all the terrors lent to them by imagination and appear in their true size. I find them far less formidable than I had feared, and even in the midst of my suffering I feel a sort of relief. In this state, freed from all further fear and from the anxieties of hope, I shall learn from mere habit to accept ever more easily a situation which can grow no worse; and as my awareness of it is dulled by time they can find no further way of reviving it. So much good my persecutors have done me by recklessly pouring out all the shafts of their hatred. They have deprived themselves of any power over me and henceforward I can laugh at them.

Everything external is henceforth foreign to me. I no longer have any neighbours, fellow-men, or brothers in this world. I live here as in some strange planet on to which I have fallen from the one I knew. All around me I can recognize nothing but objects which afflict and wound my heart, and I cannot look at anything that is close to me or round about me without discovering some subject for indignant scorn or painful emotion. Let me therefore detach my mind from these afflicting sights; they would only cause me pain, and to no end. Alone for the rest of my life, since it is only in myself that I find consolation, hope and peace of mind, my only remaining duty is towards myself and this is all I desire.

WALK 2

These hours of solitude and meditation are the only ones in the day during which I am fully myself and for myself, without diversion, without obstacle, and during which I can truly claim to be what nature willed.

Today there is more recollection than creation in the products of my imagination, a tepid languor saps all my faculties, the vital spirit is gradually dying down within me, my soul no longer flies up without effort from its decaying prison of flesh, and were it not for the hope of a state to which I aspire because I feel that it is mine by right, I should now live only in the past. Thus if I am to contemplate myself before my decline, I must go back several years to the time when, losing all hope for this life and finding no food left on earth for my soul, I gradually learnt to feed it on its own substance and seek all its nourishment within myself.

The country was still green and pleasant, but it was deserted and many of the leaves had fallen; everything gave an impression of solitude and impending winter. This picture evoked mixed feelings of gentle sadness which were too closely akin to my age and my experience for me not to make the comparison. I saw myself at the close of an innocent and unhappy life, with a soul still full of intense feelings and a mind still adorned with a few flowers, even if they were already blighted by sadness and withered by care. Alone and neglected, I could feel the approach of the first frosts and my failing imagination no longer filled my solitude with beings formed after the desires of my heart. Sighing I said to myself: What have I done in this world? I was created to live, and I am dying without having lived.

Let men and fate do their worst, we must learn to suffer in silence, everything will find its proper place in the end and sooner or later my turn will come.

WALK 3

Secluded meditation, the study of nature, and contemplation of the universe force a solitary person to search with tender concern for the purpose in everything he sees and the cause of everything he feels.

When death is already at the door, is it worth learning how we should have lived?

The sad truth that time and reason have revealed to me in making me aware of my misfortune, has convinced me that there is no remedy and that resignation is my only course. Thus all the experience of my old age is of no use to me in my present state, nor will it help me in the future.

Since the days of my youth I had fixed on the age of forty as the end of my efforts to succeed, the final term of my various ambitions. I had the firm intention, when I reached this age, of making no further effort to climb out of whatever situation I was in and of spending the rest of my life living from day to day with no thought for the future. When the time came I carried out my plan without difficulty, and although my fortune at the time seemed to be on the point of changing permanently for the better, it was not only without regret but with real pleasure that I gave up these prospects. In shaking off all these lures and vain hopes, I abandoned myself entirely to the nonchalant tranquillity which has always been my dominant taste and most lasting inclination. I quitted the world and its vanities, I gave up all finery–no more sword, no more watch, no more white stockings, gilt trimmings and powder, but a simple wig and a good solid coat of broadcloth–and what is more than all the rest, I uprooted from my heart the greed and covetousness which gave value to all I was leaving behind. I gave up the position I was then occupying, a position for which I was quite unsuited, and set myself to copying music at so much a page, an occupation for which I had always had a distinct liking.

All the sharpest torments lose their sting if one can confidently expect a glorious recompense, and the certainty of this recompense was the principal fruit of my earlier meditations.

WALK 5

Everything is in constant flux on this earth. Nothing keeps the same unchanging shape, and our affections, being attached to things outside us, necessarily change and pass away as they do. Always out ahead of us or lagging behind, they recall a past which is gone or anticipate a future which may never come into being; there is nothing solid there for the heart to attach itself to. Thus our earthly joys are almost without exception the creatures of a moment; I doubt whether any of us knows the meaning of lasting happiness. Even in our keenest pleasures there is scarcely a single moment of which the heart could truthfully say: ‘Would that this moment could last for ever!’ And how can we give the name of happiness to a fleeting state which leaves our hearts still empty and anxious, either regretting something that is past or desiring something that is yet to come? But if there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul….What is the source of our happiness in such a state? Nothing external to us, nothing apart from ourselves and our own existence; as long as this state lasts we are self-sufficient like God. The feeling of existence unmixed with any other emotion is in itself a precious feeling of peace and contentment which would be enough to make this mode of being loved and cherished by anyone who could guard against all the earthly and sensual influences that are constantly distracting us from it in this life and troubling the joy it could give us. But most men being continually stirred by passion know little of this condition, and having only enjoyed it fleetingly and incompletely they retain no more than a dim and confused notion of it and are unaware of its true charm. Nor would it be desirable in our present state of affairs that the avid desire for these sweet ecstasies should give people a distaste for the active life which their constantly recurring needs impose upon them. But an unfortunate man who has been excluded from human society, and can do nothing more in this world to serve or benefit himself or others, may be allowed to seek in this state a compensation for human joys, a compensation which neither fortune nor mankind can take away from him.

WALK 6

I have never been truly suited for civil society, where everything is annoyance, obligation, and duty, … my naturally independent temperament always made me incapable of the subjection necessary to anyone who wants to live among men.

There are types of adversity which elevate and strengthen the soul, but there are others which depress and crush it; such is the one of which I am a victim. If there had been the slightest leaven of evil in my soul, this adversity would have fermented it to excess and driven me into a frenzy, but it only succeeded in reducing me to inactivity. Unable to do good to myself or anyone else, I abstain from acting; and this state, which is only blameless because I cannot avoid it, makes me find a sort of satisfaction in abandoning myself completely and without reproach to my natural inclination. No doubt I go too far, since I avoid opportunities for action even when I think nothing but good can come from them. But knowing that I am not allowed to see things as they are, I refrain from judging by the appearances my enemies give to things, and however alluring the motives for action may seem, it is enough that they have been left within my grasp for me to be sure they are deceptive.

I have never believed that man’s freedom consists in doing what he wants, but rather in never doing what he does not want to do, and this is the freedom I have always sought after and often achieved, the freedom by virtue of which I have most scandalized my contemporaries.

WALK 7

Seeking refuge in mother nature, I sought in her arms to escape the attacks of her children. I have become solitary, or, as they say, unsociable and misanthropic, because to me the most desolate solitude seems preferable to the society of wicked men which is nourished only in betrayals and hatred.

WALK 8

In all the ills that befall us, we are more concerned by the intention than the result. A tile that falls off a roof may injure us more seriously, but it will not wound us so deeply as a stone thrown deliberately by a malevolent hand. The blow may miss, but the intention always strikes home.

Since by the light of reason I could see nothing but absurdities in the explanations I tried to give for everything that happened to me, I realized that, as all its causes and operations were unknown and incomprehensible to me, I should ignore them completely, that I should regard all the details of my fate as the workings of mere necessity, in which I should not seek to find any intention, purpose, or moral cause, that I must submit to it without argument or resistance since these were useless, that since all that was left to me on earth was to regard myself as a purely passive being, I should not waste the strength I needed to endure my fate in trying to fight against it. This was what I told myself. My reason and my heart assented, yet I could feel that my heart was not entirely satisfied. Whence came this dissatisfaction? I searched and found the answer: it came from my self-love, which, having waxed indignant against mankind, still rebelled against reason.

WALK 9

Happiness is a lasting state which does not seem to be made for man in this world. Everything here on earth is in a continual flux which allows nothing to assume any constant form. All things change round about us, we ourselves change, and no one can be sure of loving tomorrow what he loves today. All our plans of happiness in this life are therefore empty dreams. Let us make the most of peace of mind when it comes to us, taking care to do nothing to drive it away, but not making plans to hold it fast, since such plans are sheer folly. I have seen few if any happy people, but I have seen many who were contented, and of all the sights that have come my way this is the one that has left me most contented myself.

…if my pleasures are brief and few in number, it is also true that when they come they give me an intenser enjoyment than if I were more used to them. I ruminate on them so to speak, turning them over frequently in my memory, and few as they are, if they were pure and unmixed, they would perhaps make me happier than in my days of prosperity. In extreme poverty a little is enough to make one rich; a beggar is gladder to find one gold coin than a rich man to find a purse full of money. People would laugh if they could see how my soul is affected by the slightest pleasures…

It is only when I am alone that I am my own master, at all other times I am the plaything of all who surround me.


WE ARE STILL RAISING MONEY FOR OUR RUN FOR SHELTER AT THE 2011 NONDON MARATHON  NEXT SUNDAY- PLEASE HELP! ANY AMOUNT IS APPRECIATED!

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THANKS to EMMANUEL, SHEA, ANONYMOUS and ERIC, SPRING HAS COME EARLY TO NONDON. GBP £600 raised for our marathon – another £1000 to go.

When Spring arrives, cherry blossoms bloom. The time when cherry blossoms bloom indicates the beginning of the new year, a start of something new. A start of something new also means the end, or death, of something not new.  It is only the middle of January, but Nondon has been seeing double-digit temperatures (Celsius, not Fahrenheit, darling. While we are at it, not the imperial system, not inches and feet. Nor stones, nor yards, nor miles, darling). It has been so warm that we have been running in sleeveless tops (Nike Dri-fit) and shorts (Nike-somthing-or-other)- still we sweat, as slimy roast pork does, as if it is Spring, even as if Summer. We run best when we run/feel/are light; last Thursday, at a muggy 13 degrees celsius, we ran a strong 17km exploding with endorphins along the canal, to Victoria Fark and back again. It was one of our happiest runs of late.

Last Saturday, we passed the GBP£600 mark in our donation drive for our run for Shelter at the 2011 Nondon Marathon, ALL THANKS TO OUR FRIENDS EMMANUEL, SHEA, ANONYMOUS and ERIC AULD. THANK YOU VERY MUCH – your very generous support has given us a lovely push in the midst of a still dire economic crisis. We have 2 months left. Just another £1000 to go. Go we will!

Let us end this little post with a little quote from writer-runner Haruki Murakami. We are not usually fans of his work as we find that they can be a little too cute, but we slurped up What We Talk About When We Talk About Running in a matter of hours (in the midst of writing/repairing 15,000 of our own words). That which we find meaningful, we will have to devote another fresh post to, but at this point, with the photograph of the unseasonable cherry blossoms in the middle of Winter in Nondon, we want to juxtapose the very final paragraph of the book on page 197 here:

Some day, if I have a gravestone and I’m able to pick out whats carved on it, I’d like to say this: ‘Haruki Murakami 1949 – 20** Writer (and Runner) At Least He Never Walked.’ At this point, that’s what I’d like to say.

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So we have explained who ‘we’ are; now THIS IS YOU! … So there you are. Nice to meet you, too.

Just as running is an accessible undertaking, our tactic of trans-dimensional running can be utilised by anyone. Those who submit themselves to what William Gibson terms as the ‘consensual hallucination’ of Cyberspace, and those who cower in fear from the Digital Revolution alike, will find the tactic useful, too.

In our previous post, we have explained the use of the personal plural pronoun ‘we’ in our work. Now, the  question is, who on googleearth are you?

Reproduced above is a section of our weekly report  with regards to the audience-ship of this breathtaking running log /travel blog: So there are nearly 700 of unique you-s who read this blog daily; on some days there are only 821 pages viewed, while on others as many as double that (1552) pages get read. On average you read 1.66 pages each time, for a duration long enough for you to be registered as unique.

So there you are. That is as far as we are able to establish. We have no idea however with regards to your background, location, character, gender, height, weight, sense of humour (if any?), political view, world view, if you are passing by, or if you have run into this by mistake, or if you are a regular returnee running with us all this while, or if you are reading with disdain, spitting at your computer screen. You are probably a mixture of some of these.

Well, nice to meet you, too. We are Kaidie.

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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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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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Our Bras Basah Station permanent public art work post #4: 2 RE-PRESENTATIONS

Above: A trailer of the 29-minute video cycle; below: a re-presentation of Desyphus in-action on the site in Singapore, by wacky Singapore filmmaker Chew Tze Chuan. As we have not seen the work ourselves, do upload it if you run into it, and tag it ‘bbs’!

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BLACKED OUT ENDS THIS SATURDAY! MISS AND LIVE TO REGRET.

Thank you for coming to the opening of Blacked Out last Thursday! NE7, a sound artist, performed for the evening. This is a group show that we are participating, curated by curator-educator-artist Jennifer Hankin, who is pictured here placing LED-lit balloons at the entrance with fellow exhibiting artist, Lisa Metherell. Thank you Jennifer, Mr Hankin, Faye, and all other artists for the exhibition!

To complement the ‘underground’ theme of the show – given that it takes place in an arch – we shared a work that features a character from a parallel life, ‘Desyphus’, underwater. Is she sinking? Is she afloat? Is she caught in a conundrum, as it were, in time and space in a 3-minute digital loop? This work is an edited extract of a chapter from a 29-chapter large-scale permanent projection in the Bras Basah subway station, located in the centre of the Arts and Heritage District in Singapore, commissioned by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore. We will be talking more about this work in the weeks to come.

Do come and catch this and works by 8 other artists at Blacked Out! Hurry, for it ends this Saturday.

** Currently one of the top competing films in the War of Films contest with 100 votes: 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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HITS & MISSES, FITS & KISSES: Let’s agree not to run into each other, but won’t you let us take us for a ride? GAME FOR A COLLABORATION WITH US ON OUR EPIC QUIXOTIC QUEST?

The trans-dimensional runner of this quixotic life has at any one time one foot on the ground, pragmatic/rational/grounded in sturdily hardcore realism, and the other airborne, in cuckoo land and blue skies, with extra-terrestrial visionary eyes on each (swollen) toe, taken with skyscraper-tall mountains of heartattacky salt.

In this Web 2.0 Do-It-With-Others storytelling exercise, we have been privileged to have undertaken several collaborations with you, in our quest for the Meaning of Life 3.0. Here is an other idea for a collaboration (first conceived in early 2010):

As it is, we have not met 99.782 per cent of you, given that our interaction has been only in Life 2.0, ie, via the channels of this running blog, Facebook, Youtube, GPSies, Twitter and so on – and our imagination, of course. Also, given that we are partly an imaginary creation, meeting in real life is possibly an unimaginable task. (That said, we do not think that encounter in one dimension is of lesser or more significance than an other) In this idea of a project, to make the point that we want to maintain or create a critical distance between us, let us go out of our way to deliberately not meet in Life 1.0. The way to go about doing this is that one person shares her routine over a prescribed period of time. The other person – let us call them the/an ‘anti-stalker’ – will journey on the same route, but intentionally missing the previous person, by a few minutes/moments/metres/centimetres.

The thrill/beauty/cruelty/point of the game is to come so very close to have nearly met – but to just stop short of actually encountering the other. Afterwards, the pair could compare their GPS tracks and find out and plot, point by point, by exactly how much they have missed each other. (And of course, this sharing can be done remotely). As a consequence, one or both parties can derive (perverse / poetic) pleasure from the fact that they could theoretically have been in the same time and space, and could have had an encounter, but willfully and precisely do not. The deliberate orchestration of a denial of a run-in is the point of this project. Hence, we will never come face to face and whisper ‘Hi!’, ‘Nice to meet you!’, ‘Nice to meet you again!’, ‘And who are you?’; one may come close enough to catch a whiff of the other, or sneak a peek of the other’s shadow, or catch a dying footprint, but / and that is about it.

The game can be more fun if more participate. An orgy, not of presence, but absence, with participants who are missing – although we will hardly miss one another.

The great thing about this project is that it is of course hardly original, as many of us are already accomplished practitioners in some degree or an other, but, my Dear Conspirators of Pleasure, do you not think that it will be infinitely (more) enjoyable should we make this a studied and planned collaboration/game, with set parameters to play?

So, are you game? (Ah, the wonders of technology, to allow us to indulge, stretch and realise such fantasies…)

** 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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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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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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HELLO WORLD. THIS IS KAIDIE. (Kaidie’s Virtual Tourist Notes From Second Life #1)

Kaidie returns. Sort of.

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KAIDIE’S DISLOCATION PROVOKED A WORLDWIDE HUNT (of sorts). (Perhaps Kaidie had been virtually hanging out with Mika, as pixels)

During Kaidie’s absence,  the press was (semi-)hot on its heels to help us hunt her down. Here is one of 2 articles published last week that discusses Kaidie’s dislocation and/or Kaidie in general.

P.S. 1: This article talks about Kaidie’s dislocation without mentioning her disappearance in the past month – so it seems that the journalists here ‘get’ Kaidie’s work! (ie, running in the ambiguous, arbitrary, amorphous gap between reality and imagination)! This is one of the few occassions that the press/public media ‘gets’ Kaidie’s work in her current and previous lives! And this is with-out Kaidie having had ANY contact – remote/virtual/actual –  with the journalists of this article. Allow me at this point to stroke my chin (like Kaidie in this picture) and go, ‘Hmmm. Interesting…’

P.S. 2: However, contrary to what this article claims, as far as I am aware of, issues of nationality and identity are irrelevant in Kaidie’s cosmology. Kaidie is born with no family/history/background/ethnicity/culture/gender/citizenship/place/country/allegiance. She begins afresh, ground zero. That said, she is (al-most certainly) female, the last time I checked.

P.S. 3:  Why is this  categorised as ‘alternative art’? What is this alternative to? What on google-earth is ‘dominant art’? What on google-earth is ‘dominant art’ today? Yesterday’s ‘alternative’ is tomorrow’s mainstream. Fast forward, to the era of Kaidie’s Life 4.0 or 41.1, and this will have been considered as old-school and even classical. Unbelieavable isn’t it. Let me stroke my chin again.

P.S. 4: I am sure Kaidie does not mind charity donations from the readers of the article and this blog for her quest. After all, this has been classified as ‘alternative’, has it not.

P.S. 5: Perhaps Kaidie has not just been continuing her quest for the Meaning of Life 3.0 in Second Life (as we have just established) all this while when she was missing, but cavorting with the not-undelicious Mika and his bubblegum in some storage space as ones and zeroes some where. No wonder she had disappeared! That said, there is clearly a very serious size-compatibility technical issue here: Kaidie’s face alone is the size of Mika’s entire folded-body-on-a-sofa. Tsk tsk tsk! Kaidie should run more loopy loops to shrink into near-no-thing-ness, or drink some magic potion (which we hope is calorie-free) or drink the magic potions while running. Being smaller+lighter+baggage-free, just as being identity/allegiance/race/etc-free, enables her to be dis-located easier any time she needs/wants to. Travelling light is one of the most important rules (along with having good stamina for this multiple-ultra-marathon of transmigration, and endurance – in enduring oneself) for the traveller – more so if you are running. Perhaps Mika knows where/what/when the Meaning of Life 3.0 is? An other chin-stroking time.

Reprinted from CNN Go 23 March 2010.


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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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Where has Kaidie been all this while? After the run, where did Kaidie go? Latest conspiracy theory: LUCY SUSPECTS THAT KAIDIE HAS TRANS-MIGRATED (or hitchhiked) TO AN ONLINE NAPLES AND OTHER GREENER PASTURES.

Guest post by Lucy Natarajan

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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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IN THE PINK OF HEALTH: DAY 55: (ONE OF) KAIDIE’S MAPPINGS OF HER LIFE 3.0: NOT A WORLD OF BLACKS AND WHITES, BUT OSCILLATIONS OF IN BETWEENS.

2009oct12map

If you can read between the lines and gaze between the greys and grays, why don't you test out this mapping in YOUR life?

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DAY 54: RE-STARTING NONDON, AGAIN. A TASTE OF NONDON TAP WATER INSTANTLY TRANSPORTS ME BACK TO THIS REALITY.

gum_butts

Shall we sit on this, or chew it?

A taste of Nondon tap water, and being just an other anonymous ‘other’ in a large city of others, tells me that I am back in this reality, in Nondon.

Happy to be away and enjoying an other city when I am away, happy to be home when I am home.

Usual for new or ‘new’ beginnings, I had a haircut. I had promised to not cut my hair for the duration of my life. So I have, and haven’t – alright I have HALF-KEPT my promise. Or half-broken it (Is a glass half empty of half full? Is a mixed-raced kid a ‘half’ or a ‘double’ in Japan??) I tried. I combed my fringe to the left, right, back, front, jedw**d style, amy whinehows style, and zz top style, covering my eyes, my brains, my nostrils. It just doesn’t quite ‘work’. After my easy bus dropped me at Faker Street, near the famous Museum of Fakes where Kaidie will one day be (if she cannot get a stool next to Jeremy’s auto-icon), I went straight to the local butcher, borrowed his (are there any women butcher in Nondon?) large knife, put my head on the chopping board, and chopped off the front bit. Then, I packed the hair that dropped to the floor and fed them to the pigeons in Frafalgar Square. Though already obese due to nonstop feeding by ‘kind’ Nondon tourists, they gobbled up my hair; I can see some of which sticking out between their teeth. Alas, my short absence from Nondon has made me forget that it is illegal to feed these winged rats. The cops tried to handcuffed me but fortunately the Save The Pigeons people saved me. They believed that I was a pigeon with my new haircut.

PS 1:

A quick update – and this goes to show clearly that I DO KEEP MY PROMISES. I had promised to run 155.0km to as a gesture to compensate the 1550km  Nondon-Zurich-Nondon flight on 19 January. Since then, I had acted according to Rainold and his several terrific advice, by wearing comfortable cloths, and tried my best to feel positive emotions. I also gave myself no pressure, only pleasure. With the positive emotions and pleasures, I have covered more than 120km so far. I am currently trying to tabulate my results and will update you soon. So, I will say what I have said before, but I will say it again – WATCH THIS SPACE!

PS 2:

THANKS SO MUCH RAINOLD! I will have to come back to you to ask you how I could ‘be myself’ and ‘be a unique individual’, as I have been born with nothing. How could I be, then? I am rather puzzled and need some more advice on this, if you will!

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DAY 45: KAIDIE’S ROUGH GUIDE TO WINTERTHUR (KAIDIE, THE TOURIST OF LIVES 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, ENJOYING THE WINTER DELIGHTS OF WINTERTHUR).

Bonechilling winter alongside warm sunny sunshine with white snowcoveredeverywhere with art, music, sports, nature, animals, cats, good studio space, good food, and good wine puts Kaidie in certain good spirits in Winterthur. Allow me to list down some of the highlights of my residency at the wonderful Villa Straeuli so far, just so that we could pat ourselves at our backs and fronts and insides and outsides and bottoms and tops and laptops and armflaps and thighbacks. As I said before, Life 3.0 is a  bloody good life, and, as I said before, envy me not, and as I said before, I said before. I have.

My very elusive happiness plugin came kicking in when I was running at the lovely Lindberg Hill, as I was happy to be back on my feet again, if ever-so-slowly. Running remains one of the best ways to have a swift panoramic introductory view of any city – across the local neighbourhood to the city central, hideaway corners  not mentioned in any guidebooks (EXCEPT KAIDIE’S, THAT IS!) to pockets of nature,  smiling back to 1 or 2 locals (out of the 100,000) who smile at you (probably because they are thinking, ‘who might this sweating, panting silly stranger be?!’ and yes looking slightly dishevelled as a visitor but literally close to the ground, one foot after the other.

Another reason for the joy was because my new travel-mate Mini, the Garmin navigator, finally found the Winterthur satellites and began doing what it is supposed to do! That said, it still is temperamental and fails to work consistently. IF GARMIN OR ANY OF ITS RIVAL BRAND IS READING KAIDIE’S TRAVEL BLOG, PLEASE HAVE THE COURTESY TO SPONSOR HER YOUR LATEST BESTEST MOST HIGHTECH NAVIGATOR.  A  lightweight one that also calculates heartbeat and distance preferred. Product placement guaranteed. Contact Kaidie NOW!

Winterthur

Lindberg is one of the 7 hills in Winterthur. From the top one can get a nice view of Winterthur. I also visited the other hill, the Bruderhaus Wildpark, and took some videos of my friends, which I will share in another posting. (We should be disciplined and distribute our pleasures, should we not, my Dear Readers?). Speaking of being on top, we also went up to the Roter Turm which also offers a nice panoramic view of Winterthur, at 483 m above sea level. The view is greatly enhanced with delicious white beers and even more so with the even more delicious Rieslings. Since we are at it, let us rub it in and make Kaidie a good food/drinks critic-cum-Rough Guide writer, by allowing her to add that the french fries at Irish pub Paddy O’Briens, just 1 minute 15.672 seconds walk from Villa Straeuli, was nicely heartchokingly fried. Devour with relish or eat plain. Thank god for the Irish diaspora! And while we are at it, thank god(s) for the Indian and Chinese diasporas too for our tandooris and wokwingfry chopped panda takeaways (vegan organic versions with black and white hair removed via brazilian waxing available on request) and singaporean (sic) flied lice. And yes, Swiss chocolates is not bad. Not bad at all. I would usually prefer dark (70% and above) chocolates, but Swiss milk chocolates is quite heavenly indeed. Cut thin, its taste is light but deep and sophisticated as well, and makes you want to buy up aaaaalllll the chocolates off all the Coop supermarket shelves  – if only the CHF isn’t so frightfully high. To eat as breakfast, pair chocolates with strong espresso or a frothy cappuccino with mountains of chocolate shavings. For brunch, pair with rose champagne; lunch, with Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc; tea, with Merlot or Shiraz; dinner, with straight vodkas; finally finish off with a large supper serving of Singapore slings, which is most appropriate, since Singapore is said to have modelled itself on Switzerland. (So, how’s Kaidie’s food critic skills so far??)

But of course, Kaidie in Life 3.0 is civilised, cultured and terribly artistic. I was delighted to have been reacquainted with some of my old friends at the Museum Oskar Reinhart, such as Goya and his fish, Van Gogh and his Arles, Cezanne with lots of fruits and/or mountains, or both, and the brilliant El Greco and his Cardinal.  This was just one of the many cultural institutions (including Villa Straeuli) set up by wealthy industralists of Winterthur.  I also had the pleasure of attending one of the weekly Saturday morning music concerts at Villa Straeuli. The sonorous sounds of the cello and the double base illicit profound poignancy as it does pure, pure joy. (Such a contradictory combination/clash/conflict occupies a most powerful state of in-between, the same spot where the frigid subzero temperature sits alongside the warm sunshine, where a Boltanski installation, a Chris Marker film  or a Glenn Gould rendition hits, and where Life 3.0 lies – ideally).

Coincidentally, Gould is quoted at an exhibition at the Fotomuseum, by Becky Beasley for her work Curtains (I) 2009:

There have been many occasions when I have recorded something and I have come into the studio at 10 o’clock on a Monday morning and really been in 16, not just 2 different minds, but 16 different minds as to how it should go.

Indeed. So go all 16 ways.

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KAIDIE WOULD LIKE TO ABANDON NONDON FOR WINTERTHUR (FOR GOOD). OR, WE (WHOEVER WE ARE) SHOULD/COULD WRITE KAIDIE OFF (ALREADY).

garmin

Kaidie no longer travels alone, but has a new travel companion, called 'Mini', who has an untrustworthy and unstable personality, or is simply temperamental, but is essentially a nice guy (I guess. We will find out. Watch this space).

To make the effort to leave; to make the effort to go; to be transposed and disoriented; to have one’s routines upset (only to desperately attempt to construct new ones, but haha, the timeframe is too short to allow one to do that); to take temporary breaks from my (step)mother tongue; to feign ignorance since I do not understand, which is, no doubt, my own fault but ignorance is blissful yes the cliche is true, so perhaps I deliberately do not want to understand; to have to start somewhere and hence say ‘greuzi’ to the immigration officer; to hear variations of the german language, including subjective, rusty ones; to not mind embarrassing oneself in order to show that one attempts, that one is making an effort; to doze on/off and drool while semi-asleep/awake in the constant rhythm of the near-empty cheap bus on its way to the cheap airport but to feel extraordinarily happy, happy not of dreams of arriving at a destination (no, no one looks forward to arriving at that tragic, cheap airport – and when there, cancel and zone off by replaying in ones head the 2nd movement of Gould’s rendition of the Emperor’s Concerto again, and again, and again, until the gates are open for boarding), but happy at the act of travel itself, the same happiness when in the middle of a run that is neither fast nor slow neither breathless nor breathful, and to feel happy knowing that one is happy; to have a new travel companion of a digital navigator; to undergo the tedium of travelling with a travel companion; to undergo the tedium of travelling with a travel companion with conflicting interests; to run an imaginary race with the digital navigator and to win it, because I arrived in Winterthur and am acclimatising to it but poor ‘Mini’ (which is the name we have given the navigator, – do not inquire why ) is still looking for his bearings and attempting to locate the Winterthur satellites; to have conflicting plans with this new travel companion, because he prefers / needs outdoors while his user detests cold; to forge temporary bonds with fellow trippers; to eat not knowing if it’s breakfast/dinner, or if one is even hungry in the first place; to go across time zones, climates, cultural barriers, stereotypes; to be shocked; to be gratified (temporarily); to feel repulsion that one is reminded of one’s otherness, even though one has long moved on from the tedious identity/sexual/gender/cultural/racial/power politics, but if the other has not, should one grin and bear it or ignore it or re-question one’s identity from scratch, but why should I, since I have long addressed their problems but they have not theirs! so it is not my problem if they (still) see me in a certain way; to be excited by difference; to be excited by exotica; to be judged exotic (again); to be judged different (again); to be judged exotic and different and to be angry about it and wonder why one should feel anger; stop looking at me, stop looking at me thinking you know what I am; go ahead and look I have long worked through this; to be anonymous; to stand out; to not stand out; to stand out for the wrong/right reasons; to compare; to not compare; to not have preconceptions, to start afresh, to screw up, to have false starts, to try again; because otherwise why come/leave/go?

So I do love travelling. Travelling as a noun/end, as well as a process/methodology/tactic.

Look at the images taken of my studio in Winterthur. For the past 4 weeks I was reading and writing at my desk for 15 hours a day in Nondon (sleeping 6, and then using 3 for exercise, showering, eating, defecating). I could kill Kaidie from Nondon and start afresh here. I could live here and read and write for 15 hours a day.

Kaidie was conceived in an other residency, in Summer 2006 in my previous life, in the beautiful, beautiful fortress island of Suomenlinna at Helsinki. I did not plan it, but being away allowed me to create the Kaidie that I am living now, 3 years later. My current residency has also afforded me the critical distance to slaughter Kaidie.

Also, Swiss tap water tastes awfully delicious. Not Nondon tap water, no.

VS

Top, middle, ground (plus kitchen and dining). I love the middle bit.

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