In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘mind over matter’

KAIDIE DIES: Variation 6.


In a couple of hours, a group show that we are participating in will open. We really should get changed and get our fatar*sses moving to Nondon Bridge. However, we simply cannot resist taking a peek at this new book that we have just ordered through the library. There are  20 other books we are reading / supposed to be reading at the same time, and which take higher priority. In addition, we have been ‘saving’ this book for our tiny little sojourn this weekend out of Nondon (We have been meaning to get out of Nondon, and although now there are 56,000 compelling reasons stop us from taking a break, we are forcing ourselves to do so, and take up one of your suggestions of a day out [THANK YOU!!], but trying to make us feel less guilty by also doing some work while we play).

Once we landed our hands on Running and Philosophy – A Marathon For The Mind (ed. Michael W Austin 2007, Blackwell Publishing Ltd),  we wanted to read it all at a go. This is a collection of writings about the relationship between running and philosophy, by philosophers who run. (YES THEY EXIST. AGAIN, FOR THOSE OF YOU FLABBY ACADEMIC SNOBS WHO RUBBISH RUNNING AS UNTHINKING AND SAY WALKING IS MORE CONTEMPLATIVE, POETIC ETC ETC – wait till you read this book – and indeed OUR BOOK, later. Sooner. Some day. Just you wait, fatty). And as transient beings ourselves (with 750 days left on our life/death sentence) we know only too well about seizing the moment,  enjoying the pleasures of pleasure while it lasts, etc etc. However, we also tried to delay this, with the reasoning (we are rational beings as well, you know) that a prolongation/holding back/delay of a pleasure will increase it infinitely, when it does come (also simply due to the accentuation of the pain of waiting/longing/desiring).

Ah, the chaosmos of pain vs pleasure. As usual. Just now, we cheated a little. (Ah, the chaosmos reason vs desire. As usual). We plunged into the middle (as usual, rather than from the beginning – linearity is not the non-linear trans-dimensional runner‘s cup of tea), and read snippets here and there. And there and there. And a bit more there, and over there there, too.

It is assuring a glance (or a few glances) – we have been writing a good, usable 18,000 words in the past 2 months (and 100,000 more that may never ever see any light – and we are not talking about writing from this amazing travel blog). It is useful at this point to read something that articulates what we have been saying or meaning to say (for reasons including that of copyright, we are not able to share with you that other kind of  -equally if not more brilliant – writing of ours, at this point, though we would, later) .

Also, our running for the week has been rather rubbish, due to pain in the knee, the tendon… -something or other area, and a burning sensation on our feet, and general pain in the ar*e, real, imagined, or rhetorical. Reading about the running philosophers who talk about pain reminds us to stop being sissies and get moving.

And get moving out of our flat in Kings Kross, towards Nondon Bridge too. See you in a couple of hours.  (And don’t worry, we will erase the pencil marks we have made in the books when we are done – and they will remain good as new.) (And more on the book later – after we read it in Non-Nondon this weekend.)

** 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!**

ANALYSIS OF MY 155.0km PATHETIC RUN-WALK IN COMPENSATION FOR MY 1550km NONDON-ZURICH-NONDON FLIGHT. (But don’t you dare scoff – better SOME effort than NO THING [?])!


I am presenting you, my Dear Readers, THE official one and only scientific philosophical analysis of my Nondon-Zurich trip last month. I had promised to run/walk/crawl/jump/swim 155.0km as a pathetic gesture to pay for my 1550km Nondon – Zurich – Nondon flight.

So finally I have recovered from my jetlag (there is a 1 hour time difference between London and Switzerland, for those of you who did not know). After a few nights of 12 hours of sleep, (thus is the luxury of Life 3.0) I was recharged and sat down to tabulate my results.

The chart in the centre is my own documentation of my journeys. I began working towards fulfilling my goal from 22 January, and 15 days later, I completed the given task. A few points to note:

– All distances are estimations (based on previous timings, ‘measurements’ [using my fine fingers’ widths] of distances based on paper maps).

– As distance (and endurance) is the aim, timing is not taken into consideration. (In any case, my pace is alwaaaaayyyyys sloooowwwwwwwwwwwwww – but some are slower than sloooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.)

– For any given session, distances must be more than 5km to be taken into account. Anything less will be ignored (and laughed at).

What surrounds this chart are maps generated by Mini, my Garmin foretrex 201 GPS, which I borrowed from CASA and Urbantick (whom I suspect owns a large stash of  other Minis, Mediums and Majors, given his quite interesting experiments in the field.) Detailed versions of these maps can be found on my page on GPSies. The thicker lines in blue are my tracks as documented by Mini. (Information geeks who find pleasure from creating/looking at different patterns from words and numbers will derive some joy from sites like these. However, I like to believe that I maintain a critical distance [pun intended]).

Not harbouring any gadget-fetishism whatsoever (oh puh-leaazzee, dah-ling, I am an au-naturale artificial being! Tsk tsk.), one of the points that intrigues me at this point is the difference between my representation and Mini’s, ie, one that is (supposedly) subjective (based on memory and temperaments of fingers), arbitrary (based on [highly-educated, ahem] estimations) and analogue, vs one that is (supposedly) scientific, accurate, objective and digital.

This difference/gap/slippage is the space-time where/when Kaidie exists/lives.



One of Kaidie’s guidebooks in Life 3.0 is George Orwell’s 1984, for several reasons. Like Life 3.0, the city of London is the novel’s mise-en-scene. In Orwell’s universe, reality is seen through an inverted lens, where the Ministry of Defence fights permanent wars, and the Ministry of Love (I love this- ‘miniluv’) operates through the mechanism of fear. That deep parallels can be drawn with our reality today can not be emphasised enough. And, like the notion of doublethink, Life 3.0 embodies contradictions without contradiction, with no apology. Like Smith, Kaidie is an experiment; while Smith’s choices may seem limited compared to Kaidie’s in Life 3.0, like Kaidie, Smith  contrives to seek spaces within which he could exist/live/be. Orwell’s depiction of Smith’s process of torture through to reeducation and final love of Big Brother, is so slowburning that the  final inevitable explosion – or, more accurately, implosion –  resembles fingernails scratching a chalkboard, largo, breaking in the process and the small sharp bits scratching and incising the pink raw skin where the nail once was itself, a procedure so calculated and clinical as to be chilling, heartbreaking, repulsive and devastating as it is sublimely beautiful,  a la Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom, Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange or a Gould’s rendition of the slow movement of the Emperor concerto. Yet another reason why 1984 resonates with Kaidie is of course, how it has been said that the circumstances of one of her previous lives was ‘Orwellian’.

DAY 15: KAIDIE HAS A NEW SUPERPOWER FOR 2010: LAUNCHING THE MIND over MATTER PLUGIN aka THE M&M PLUGIN (TM). Apologies, you can’t download it – BUT I will share it at my first real-life appearance on 20:00hrs 26 January in Villa Straeuli, Winterthur, Switzerland. So, COME!

Being that time of the year when we come up with new resolutions in desperate bids to triumph over evil habits, I have been terribly busy with my Winter assignment, that of coming up with a new superpower. Being already quite perfect as I am, what do I need? That was a tough one that had my mind all bogged down. However, today I invented one. Although it remains a state secret, I would like to reward you, my loyal Dear Readers of my Life 3.0 travel blog, by sharing with you the fruits of my labour here: I have willed myself a brand new plugin*, in time for the New Year: that of the Mind Over Matter (M&M) superpower.

* A brief note about superpowers of the 21st century, for the benefit of you, mere mortals: We post-911 superheroes no longer enter phone booths to put on crimson briefs over blue tights. Pink is better, but faster still are plugins (no learning curve!!). Simply switch them on, and I am ready to save the worlds.

Above: low-res photo of Kaidie's high-res brains (from my Blackberry).

Above: low-res photo of Kaidie's high-res brains (from my Blackberry).

My M&M plugin (NO, I am not abbreviating it to ‘MoM’  because I deplore all you righteous simpletons Freudian/Lacanian/Oprah/Jerry Springer/Psychobabble Crunchy Nutheads trying to read into all these and NO,  I am not in denial so kindly piss off) is most formidable, as with all of my other superpowers. I installed my M&M plugin this afternoon during my run at Regents Fark.

Allow me to explain, my Dear Readers. My right ankle was in a sort of a strain the first 4km of my 15km run yesterday. I was nearly limping. This afternoon, again, the right ankle was moaning in a dull tone – and this time for more than 6km! So Kaidie was presented with 2 choices: 1) ignore the moans of my sissy ankle, or 2) listen to my sissy ankle, give up the run, walk (slowly) home (in shame).

It was a no-brainer. Although I do not own any Triumph bra or panties for they are too momsy (SHUT UP again you psychobabblecrunchynuts), I am a never-say-die (until 09.09.2012 that is) Triumphant Triumphalist. I am no chicken! For, I am a hamster, remember! NOW get that! In Life 3.0, there is a 3rd choice: my brilliantly fertile mind got working, and there and then, at Regents Fark, I invented the M&M plugin, which I uploaded and installed immediately. I do not mean to boast (with my 3rdlifer modesty and terrific solo-auto upbringing) but with the M&M superpower, the rest of my 15km run today was chicken feed. No ankle strain or anything mundane like that, or rather, if there was,any, it did not  matter. The M&M plugin WORKS and is RUNNING WELL (pun intended)!

For those who lack imagination, I have decided to help you (this being the  oh-so-jolly season of giving and sharing, afterall!) I have taken a photo of my brains (please see above). The superpower plugins are the bits sticking up on the left (more to come). As clearly illustrated here, my mind is quite fertile, as I am of a fertile age (although, nothankyouverymuch, we are against reproduction philosophically – Kaidie is extremely principled as [self-]righteous, if you didn’t already know) – but of course, if you recall the circumstance of my birth, which was the cesspool of poo, my primary source of nutrients.

Oh goody, I’m really into the festive mood now.


Photograph of clouds taken by Autopilot.

Photo by autopilot.

Today I celebrate my 7-days of staying alive. I cannot believe how divine my life has been so far, so I bang my head on the wall and pinched myself a few times just to check. But in Life 3.0, the concept of pain is banished, so I have no way to determine if this is real.

And, as if my marvellous life is not celebratory enough, it’s a crisp, gorgeous Winter day today at 0 Degrees Celsius – and isn’t zero a delightful number, precariously perched between the positive and the negative. I decide to go for a run. It is my coldest run, ever. With a pair of still-unbendable knees and my bright orange hamster costume, it is not an easy start, but once I reach my beloved Regents Fark, I calm down and scuttle about the Outer Circle on an autopilot mode. I now feel neither cold, pain, nor anxiety. There are new challenges and fears that I have to confront everyday. In Life 3.0, I conquer them all – blindingly well. The only hitch I face today are the ducks who display an overtly friendly attitude to me, to which I am hesitant to reciprocate, for I am rather sure they have ulterior motives – even in Life 3.0, I doubt that you hear of ‘friendships’ between ducks and hamsters, don’t you think, my dear readers?

Peering out my Pings Pross flat 19 December 2009

Peering out my Pings Pross flat 19 December 2009

I complete 15 km in today’s run. During my autopilot mode, I take a picture of the pretty skies to share with you, whom I understand do not have such a vantage point. So, please see above.

In the past 7 days, I have also made new friends, some of whom groan (in pleasure?) that this travel blog is hard to navigate. Hence, for the benefit of you my Dear Readers, I have created a boring site map, though I highly recommend for you to PLEASE GET LOST. No, I am not swearing at you (I am polite to a fault! Even in Life 3.0.), but what I mean is that you should enjoy being lost, for you can have surprising encounters in your detours, but more importantly, the feeling of not having a clear destination and simply gallivanting about is pure pleasure, I would say. So, travel and explore a bit, my Dear Readers.

So, just to sum it up for you and me, in the past week some of the activities I have experienced include:

So many meaningful activities in a matter of 7 days!? Somebody pinch/punch me!

I check my ongoing Rough Guide, and am satisfied that I have practised several guidelines today, including: Free from pain, live life intensively, live life intently. Another lesson /conclusion I have learnt today: my hamster-costume, with all the fur and fat, works fashionably well this season. This gives me an idea – which is Tehching Hsieh’s, really – that I shall not cut my (head)hair for the next 992 days, as a marker of time. The picture to your left (and my right) shows my hair length as of 19 December 2009. Watch this space.


Feeling particularly energetic on the first day of my life, I run 4 laps around Regents Fark. Including the distance to and from my starting point, I run a total of approximately 24km today. This is good for today, and although it is a long way towards even attempting to pay back for the damage I have done and will do, as well as to pay back for my stubborn continual existence in spite of  all this, it is a start, and a continual effort. As we know well, much of what Confucius says is rather dodgy, but the one thing he says about any change starting from oneself makes some sense.

I began running in the final year of my previous life. Prior to that I had been swimming 1.5km daily. I took part in my first half marathon and came in at 2 hours and a bit. As my wish to run my 1st marathon could not be fulfilled in my previous life, I will have to do it this life, by Summer 2010. If it takes me 5 hours, so be it. 8 hours, 10 hours, until the volunteers have all packed up to leave, until the cleaners have cleaned up the last crushed paper cup and runner’s poo on the streets the next morning, that is fine. I will run / walk / crawl / jump / fly / swim. Physical pain I can battle – the only thing I have to fight now is boredom. Being so young, my attention span is awfully short. I struggle to stay focused in any single activity for a stretch of several minutes, much less several hours (or years, or lifetimes). I think of 5 other things as I do one thing; linear events exhaust and bore me, as I already imagine travelling to 6 other places in 7 other directions. (That was how I got tired of my previous life, as it was going on for a while). (How I look forward to Life 3.0, then, since I am not bound by the trivial constraints of time and space! I will be able to do what I want, when I want, however I want it! More on this later…) Monotony is a weakness, though endurance is my strength. (Afterall, I have managed to endure myself all those years and life cycles). The only things that keep me going when running or swimming long distances is my imagination and willpower. Hopefully, by Summer, I will be older (more than 6 months old) and will have cultivated enough patience to not feel bored too quickly.


Running today at Regents Fark, 2 runners smile at me – huge smiles. I get suspicious and wonder if it is my unbecoming running gait that so amuses them – afterall I am a newborn and my movement remains awkward – but one of the cops carrying a large toy gun at Binfield House and another passerby both shout hello. On my way home, another says ‘Go! Go! Go!’ and sticks out his hand to make me slap it as I passed by. Although I have run in several cities in my previous life, this friendliness is rather refreshing (a couple of the few fellow runners I encountered in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Beppu in Papan did nod at me; people in Spore primarily stare disapprovingly at my folly of running under the hot sun as they sit fat in their air-conditioned cars in their air-conditioned carnation; in Oxford in Yengland some dogs looked like they were smiling, or perhaps those were their default teeth-&-tongue-revealing faces which do not necessarily translate as the human equivalent of smiling?).


Camus concludes that Sisyphus must be happy  – good for him, and him, but let me tell you, my dear reader, that the 1st 3km of any long run is always the most dreaded. As I run I protest/resist/fight/struggle and say, NO, I do not want to do this, this bloody hurts / this is no fun / I’d rather spend £4.50 to swim at the Union pool / I’d rather spend 45p to pay another version of myself doing this / I’d rather sit on my buttocks and do nothing and get furious for sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing and sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing but getting angry while sitting on my buttocks / I’d rather get greasy and let the calories choke my bloodstream and expire before the 1000-day duration / I rather slurp my own poo (with syrup) several litres over until I am flooded and I drown in, than to put one feet in front of the other, why do I have to do this of all people of this and other worlds / realities, why do I have to do this now of all my lifetimes. I have about 34,000 excuses that I come up with, looped, each and every time. Then after 3 km, I give up protesting as it gets boringly predictable as a broken record or a dislocated kaidie for that matter. Can’t go on, must go on, since there is no other options. So I go on. In the numbing repetitive motion, something else happens physically/psychologically. I begin to enjoy the groove and rhythm (never mind my beastly gait). I am there, much aware of my surroundings, and at the same time I am travelling elsewhere, as lucid as I am slightly intoxicated, somewhere that no one else is, where no one can touch me, where I am very much alone, feeling strong/alert/erect as much as I am unclenched/dreamy/soft where I am not fighting anymore, and am calm, at peace. So I push on. And on. My mind thinks of no thing, and it is aware that it is thinking of no thing. I remember getting there sometimes with my 1.5km swims in my previous life. It’s rather nice – and what’s nicer is the knowledge that it’s all MINE! Kaidie as a 3rd Lifer is a fabulous person and all that but she is also selfish when it comes to pleasure. Sorry!

Today is particularly interesting. At the 24th km, I not only feel calm, but happy. It is nice to feel happy. Then, I feel a large pair of plastic wings stapled onto my shoulders.

Original composition by PHILIP TAN