Author Archives: sanjefe

Lunchtime Walking in Burtonwood: A Cautionary Tale

There are three distinct stages of shock that can be experienced by the modern gentleman, as can be illustrated via a retelling of my lunchtime walk around the village whilst sporting my finest walking pants and cane.

Stage 1: Mild Shock

In this instance caused by the sight of front seat, vehicular shenanigans in the lay by opposite the local brewery. Symptoms may include blushing of the checks and slight trouser discomforture.

Stage 2: Breath-taking shock

Experienced myself upon hearing the cost of such roadside assistance, after taping on the vehicle window with my cane and enquiring politely of the lady within. I almost dropped my monocle! 

Stage 3: Apoplexy

The swoon, or dead-feint. Experienced myself upon realising I’d left my wallet at home.
The moral of this tale: never leave home without your wallet!

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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Cojones Generales


People Problem #3

Everybody who reads this post will have something in common.

When I say “everyone” I mean the theoretical “everyone”, not the actual “everyone”, which, when it comes to reading this blog, probably amounts to 2 or maybe 3 friends of mine that have been badgered into reading my well meaning waffle.



But “everyone” reading it will have access to the internet, probably via their very own PC, laptop or tablet device, or maybe even their mobile phone.  They will be sitting in comfort whilst they read; physical comfort, if not mental comfort (this could be a bumpy ride).  They will likely be sitting in the “developed West”; Europe or North America.

Their needs will be met.  They will have food, and easily available water, and shelter.  They may not have the best laptop / PC / tablet; the one they really really want, but their core needs will be met.

And they will, on the whole, have worked hard to earn this, and to have earned what luxuries they have, whether that be a home, a car, electrical equipment, two days rest per week etc

Good luck to them! Good luck to me! I like to treat myself when I’ve worked hard.  Or even when I haven’t worked hard, but the pay cheque gets deposited regardless!  I’m not an idle or lazy person.  I deserve my treats.

We are alike in this. We like to spend our money on the little luxuries, and even the bills we dislike paying, are



still paying for the things we do like; the nice house, the new car, the televisual entertainment, the gym membership.  We may like to spend on different things; some on fancy clothes or jewellery, some on holidays, some on gadgets, some on games.  The variation is almost endless.

But whatever we spend it on, we deserve it. We’ve worked for it. Also, we want what money we have to go that little bit further.  We want things to be cheaper so that we can have more and better of them. And we’ll shop where we can get it the cheapest.  If we can get more clothes for our money at Primark, or other discount retailer we will.  We want the nice wooden furniture made from exotic wood, but we don’t want to pay the earth (sic) for it.

Who wouldn’t!?  Why pay more, when you can pay less.  It makes sense.



It’s hard to remember when we’re wrapped up in the luxuries of Western Civilisation, that these luxuries are not universal.  That there are people with nothing, not even the basics of food and water.  People who could comfortably live off what we waste.

We are conditioned to this as a species; there are winners and there are losers. Survival of the fittest: it’s what’s driven evolution for millions of years.

Western Civilisation won. Over the last 500 years, Europe rose from being a nothing hinterland, to ruling the world.  Australia and North America, in particular the USA, spawned from us, and too have joined the winners club.

If you read most history books in the developed world, you’ll see that Europe and her progeny were always destined to be the winners. We were the smartest, the strongest, the most motivated.  Of course we were always going to win, weren’t we?

Not so! With the possible exception of the Mediterranean cultures, Rome and Greece, most of Europe was an under-developed hinterland for most of human history.  Mighty empires were raised under the Chinese, also in India and under Islam, that progressed science and technology beyond anything we could imagine in Europe at the time.

While we were scrapping on a beach in Hastings, the Chinese were sailing goods up and down their 1,000 mile

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

Grand Canal, that had been built 500 years before, and standing guard on their 1,200 year old wall that stretched for thousands of miles.  They already had gunpowder and steel manufacturing way in advance of Europe!

In the earliest contacts between Europe and Asia, we had nothing to offer them.  They were entirely self sufficient, with complicated trade routes we could not hope to match or even understand.  We had nothing of value to offer them!  They were the winners.  We were the losers.

This all changed when we discovered the Americas!  We found other civilisations that couldn’t look down upon us like the superior civilisations of the East.  We found people who were centuries behind us in terms of technology.  Now here were people we could exploit. And we did.

We took everything they had, by force.  We worked many of them to death in their own gold mines. The rest died from the diseases we brought with us.  And when we killed them off, we found more victims in Africa that we could drag over to the Americas to continue the work the locals had so callously abandoned via the trick of dying on the job.

When I say “we” in this context, this was led by the Spanish and Portuguese. We Brits stood aloof.  We waited till the galleons were returning from the New World laden with ill gotten gold.  And then we stole it from them, mid-sea.  This is how Britannia ruled the waves.



And as this gold got back to the few nations on the western seafront of Europe, it kick started the trade with the rest of Europe.  Soon, most of Europe was awash with American gold and other resources.  This in turn funded technological advances.  We took the scraps of technology we had gained from the East and we funded enhancements.

We sparked the birth of the industrial revolution.  Mass manufacture was now possible.  A machine could produce as much fabric as many people but cost much less.

Now we took our new products back to the East, intent on finally getting in on the rich trade routes which had been in place for hundreds of years bringing great wealth to those involved.  But guess what? We still couldn’t get in on the action. Our goods were still inferior to the local versions, despite our ingenious machines.

Then we realised something.  Although we couldn’t match the East in terms of quality of goods, we could more than match them in the size and numbers of the new weapons we had developed! We bombed and killed our

English: British East India Company flag. Imag...

Credit: Wikipedia

way into those valuable trade routes! We took over their countries as well as their trade.  Our trading corporations became the governing bodies of these lesser armed countries; the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company “owned” huge swathes of India and South East Asia.  Between them, the European states, and the USA beat China into submitting to their domination.  Often by importing illegal opium and getting local populations addicted to the drug.

We were the winners!  Huzzah!  The East were now the losers.  Of course our history books didn’t tell the story quite the same way, and told us how we were always destined to rule the world by virtue of our inherent “better-ness”, but either way, we were the winners and we could grow fat off the exploitation of the losers.

(As an interesting side note, we also believe this balance of power can never change! Ha! How long before we are again overwhelmed by the advances of the upcoming super-powers in Asia and South America? Ironically, not the original inhabitants of South America, as they are mainly extinct, but instead the European offspring we replaced them with).

Of course, that’s all history (whichever version) now.

Isn’t it?

We certainly don’t do that kind of thing any more!

Do we?

As I write this, in May 2013, the search for bodies in a collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh has just been called off.  1,127 bodies have been pulled from the rubble.  4 million people work in garment factories in Bangladesh alone, many in poor conditions, such as the badly maintained building which collapsed.  Many of those who died in this collapse were producing clothes for discount brands in the Civilised West.  Discount clothes for Europe, the UK, the USA.

They worked in a building that was over crowded, with poor conditions, large cracks in the walls, and poor pay.  But why wouldn’t they?  They needed that pay to survive. To pay for the basics. For food and water and shelter.  Would you refuse to work in these conditions if it was the only way for you to get the basics of survival?  Of course not. We can’t blame them.

So should we blame the factory owners?  They allowed this to happen.  They made a profit by exploiting the workers.  But why wouldn’t they?  The profit they would have made would have been modest at best.  Not enough to repair their crumbling building or buy new property.  They couldn’t afford to have less people squeezed into the space as they would lose any modest profit they were making and would find themselves making a loss. Who would support them and their families then?  They had to minimise costs to beat any competition for the Western business.  Otherwise some other factory owner would just take their money. Would you refuse to lower your costs and risk your personal well being and that of your family?  Of course not.  We can’t blame them.



So let’s blame the Western corporations, who have forced the prices down on the factory owners!!  Primark are an easy target!  They’re not alone though.  And it’s not just the discount brands.  All corporations need to get as much money as they can for as little cost as possible. Whether it’s cheap resource overseas, or paying immigrants (legal or otherwise) to do the horrible jobs the rest of us don’t want for money we wouldn’t get out of bed for.  If they don’t, they will go out of business, and some other Corporation will supply the goods and get the profit instead of them.  The workers for the Corporations (the likes of you and I) would be out of our jobs!  That’s no good!  Would you sacrifice your job and the jobs of all those working with or for you?  Of course not. We can’t blame them.

So maybe we should take the blame? Really?  But all we’re doing is using our hard earned pay to treat ourselves to the little luxuries in life.  Can we really be blamed?  We don’t want people slaving away in dangerous conditions on low pay in Bangladesh, but also we don’t want to pay a fortune for our clothes, our gadgets, our little luxuries in life.

The winners rarely see the impact of their winning on the losers.  There are too many other people to blame along the way.  People who can only possibly be evil and twisted and corrupted.  Not people just doing what they can to make a living, whether basic or more comfortable.

But should we care?

I’ll say it again: We are conditioned to this as a species; there are winners and there are losers. Survival of the fittest: it’s what’s driven evolution for millions of years.

Capitalist society is based on this premise.  We don’t see the impact on the world around us.  Not just the people, but the environment also, as we try to get the best quality materials at the lowest possible cost.



I believe capitalist society will one day cave in on itself; that the principles it is built on are unsustainable.

What is the alternative?  Communism?

I don’t believe so.  That has already been tried and failed.  For me, Communism was a beautiful, well meaning idea, but it cannot work.  Why not? Because we are not an altruistic species! Don’t make me say it a third time!

If we all had equal access to resources no matter how hard we work, or what we do, then where is the drive for us to perform well, to produce our quota?  What is to prevent us dropping into apathy?

As a species we thrive on competition, not on equality.  We want our own needs to be met.  When our basic needs are met, we want our small luxuries as reward for our work.  If we work even harder, we want more of those luxuries, and bigger ones to boot!  And due to our subjective view points (see People Problem #2), we struggle to see the damage that does elsewhere in the world.

The problem is, despite what many think, this is a world of large, but limited resources.  When our numbers were low those resources could appear almost infinite.  However, as our numbers have grown (see People Problem #1) those resources can not be shared as equally and so we have to have winners and losers.  For everyone of us sitting looking at the internet on a laptop / PC / tablet / mobile phone, there is another one of us who has to struggle for the basics of food, water and shelter.

Can there be a utopia in which everybody has equal access to the resources of the world?  I struggle to see how at the moment, and greater minds than mine have tried to resolve this.  If we all have exactly the same, where is the drive to work, to utilise the resources?  If we built a robot legion to attend our every need and complete our every task, what is to stop us descending into apathy, and civilisation just coming to a standstill and stagnation?

The drive to “have” is immense.  Whether it is things we “need” or not.

Am I saying I support this system?  Hell no! If I could “fix it”, would I?  Hell yes, but for now all I can do is merely point out the problem.  The more people are aware of the problem, the more likely some bright spark might spot a solution!

In the UK right now, there is debate as to whether we should remain a part of the European Union.  The debate centres around the fact that we believe we can do better by ourselves as we are currently better off than the European average, and tying ourselves closer to a poorer Europe will slightly reduce our personal wealth in the short term, as it is redistributed and evened out over our neighbours.  For most in the UK that is an abhorrent thought!  As it would be for anybody from any other country finding itself in a similar situation.

I admit we all like to be charitable, but as a species we do not have it in us to be truly altruistic.

And so, People Problem #3: although we often have good intentions, self interest always comes first

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in The Problem With People


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Peter Carey – Illywhacker

You cannot suck a man’s humbug and be uncivil to him.

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Posted by on May 5, 2013 in Quotes From Books


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Agragax The Invincible (An Interview)

San Jefe (SJ): Hello.  And on today’s Dealings With Trans-Dimensional Beings we’re talking to Agragax The Invicible

Agragax The Invincible: Hello.



SJ: Welcome to the show.  Now, Agragax, forgive me, but I can’t help notice that, with your leathery skin and flesh eating maw, you really bear a striking resemblance to the alien from the popular Predator movies.

Agragax: That’s right, that was me.

SJ: Really?

Agragax: Yes, I was very friendly with the director, John McTiernan, at the time, and he was looking for a cheap alternative to all those make-up costs, and well, I felt obliged to help out.  Of course, once you’ve starred in one, you’re kind of stuck with the franchise then.

SJ: Indeed.

Agragax: This is merely the projection of my form in to your dimension, not my true appearance.  Although I do think it’s quite snazzy.

SJ: Yes, well,  So, Agragax, tell me, what are you working on now?

Agragax: Good of you to ask. You see, I’m currently working on you.

SJ: Me?

Agragax: Yes. Well, all of you.  Humankind. We’re thinking your time is at an end.

SJ: Time is at an end?

Agragax: Good lord, no. Just yours.  Humankind’s.

SJ: But why?

Agragax: Well, you see, you’re such a disappointment.  You squabble and argue and kill each other and the living things around you.  You’re not happy with your lot in general, so we’re kind of thinking this planet would be better without you.

SJ: We?  Who are we?

Agragax: The we I am referring to is myself and a group of trans-dimensional beings who like to set up species on planets and see how they evolve, how they get on and get to grips with reality.  If they do well, they get the chance to join us.  If not…well.

SJ: But how can you say we haven’t done well?  We’ve created civilisation, we’ve explored the world and started to explore the solar system.  What does “doing well” mean to you?

Agragax: Take the ants…



SJ: I wish you would

Agragax: Excuse me?

SJ: Sorry. Nothing, just an aside.  An “in joke” if you will

Audience: (looks at each other and shrugs)

Agragax: Ah. OK.  So take the ants..

SJ: (smirks)

Agragax: Did you just say “smirks”?

SJ: No. It’s in parenthesis; it means I smirked. Please, carry on.

Agragax: Well, the ants are a vastly superior race to you humans.  They’re not in the least bit selfish. Everything they do is for the greater good of their colony.  They’re not worried about why they are here, or the cost of the latest iphone etc.  They just get on with it.

SJ: So what do you propose, we just step aside and let the ants take charge.

Agragax: Ha! No, not quite.  There’s two options on the table at the moment; first, a complete cull, or secondly, a partial cull.

SJ: A cull?!  Are you going to kill us?  Do you mean to eat us?

Agragax: Heavens no. I’m no monster. No, we don’t mean to kill you off immediately.  We would just reduce your fertility levels and let your species die out slowly.  No one would suffer.  With a partial cull, we may just keep your numbers very low, till you reverted to a lower level of intelligence where you couldn’t harm other species around you on the same scale as you do right now.

SJ: But don’t we have a say in all this?  It’s our species you’re meddling with.

Agragax: Hell, no.  Your species doesn’t have anything like the level of intellectual maturity to be involved in a decision on this scale

SJ: Well, this is all a bit depressing.

Agragax: Not at all.  I mean, imagine your so called British Isles here, restored to their natural pristine woodland state, from shore to shore.  How much better would that be than your motorways and your urban decay!?

English: A large chess game inside Enoch Pratt...

(credit: Wikipedia)

SJ: Hm. I suppose.  But let’s change the subject. So, tell me about your name.  Where does “The Invincible” reference come from?  No doubt it refers to your battlefield prowess? Your reputation for sweeping whole worlds away?

Agragax: Oh no.  It’s all based on my skills at trans-dimensional chess.

SJ: Trans-dimensional chess?

Agragax: Yes. It’s much like the game of chess that you play here, only all the pieces are purple with a nice silvery trim.

SJ: But how do you know who’s pieces are which?

Agragax: That’s half the skill.  I knew you wouldn’t understand it.

SJ: That’s just ridiculous!

Agragax: You’re one to talk.  You’re making up this whole ridiculous blog post!

SJ: Don’t do that!

Agragax: Don’t do what?

SJ: Crash realities like that. Don’t do it!

Agragax: But I’m a trans-dimensional being. That’s what we do!

Audience: (looks at watch and starts heading for the door)

SJ: Where are you all going?

Audience: We left the kettle on




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Big Brother XXIII: Live From Mars



I just read this: BBC Coverage of Mars One Mission


Imagine that!  Looking for volunteers for a one way ticket to Mars to star in a reality TV show!  That’s just brilliant, and mental at the same time.

It’s true.  Here’s the link to the company website: Mars One

Can we really just send people off into space like that these days, with no hope of return?  It is essentially a suicide mission isn’t it?  It’s not like the days of Columbus and Magellan, as the BBC article would suggest; wouldn’t human rights prevail? And say we sent them out there and after a few weeks, the viewing figures dropped.  What then?  Would they be abandoned? Who would pay to send supplies out if the show was a flop?  What laws would cover this?  What laws would cover any actions whilst on the planet?  Would Mars be sponsored by the popular chocolare bar?

I’m proud to say I’ve never watched Big Brother, but I’d watch this!  Assuming the Big Brother model is followed, sending a load of brain-dead celebrity-wannabes to Mars, for ever, sounds like a really good idea.

Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap vi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously there’d be a high attrition rate, as they keep nipping outside to top up their tan, forgetting the high levels of radiation and low levels of breathable air.  It would be fun to watch though.

Perhaps for the celebrity edition of the show they could send the entire cast of The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shores.  Again, I’d be guaranteed to tune in.

And how long before they hit on the idea of sending criminals?  Mars could be the new Australia!

As well as criminals, could we send politicians?  And sports presenters?  And any one associated with Sky News?

Oh, and drivers that think they own the road.

And door to door salesmen, or anyone involved with PPI claims.

And religious nuts.

In fact, sod it, it would be easier if everyone stayed here and I went to Mars alone!

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Cojones Generales


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Jahooolah The Ant-Man

My friend Jahooolah can talk to ants.

Being a trans-dimensional being (hence all the “o”s in his name) he has powers that we cannot understand.  I’ve known Jahooolah for years.  I think that’s where Xooox got my name from.

Jahooolah first told me about his ability to communicate with ants some years ago. For some reason it only works with ants.  He told me that ants were also trans-dimensional beings, who accidentally got stuck on this planet millennia ago, just as they often got stuck in amber, once they’d arrived.  Jahooolah claims they were always clumsy creatures in the past, and that is why they have such a regimented society now.  It’s a form of over-compensation, he claims.

Fertilised meat eater ant queen beginning to d...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, we were sitting in my garden and he struck up a conversation with the ants living by the tree.  He told them how they should live their lives in order to be more fruitful beings.  I’m not sure why he felt the need to get involved.  The ants seemed to be doing well, as things go.

He told them they should follow a set of rules to live their lives by otherwise, he’d get me to pour a kettle of boiling water all over their nest.  He told them they could call me Shitan the Kettle-Bringer.  Jahooolah was into heavy metal back then, so it was all repressed anger, fire and brimstone with him.

But anyway, they listened.  They took his advice and they built their nest big and strong and lived in harmony.  He left me a load of monitoring equipment so I could watch what was going on while he wasn’t here.  It was fascinating stuff.

Some years later he visited again.  He’d been reading his science journals and had a hankering for some experimentation.  He tried artificial insemination on one of the ant queens and it worked!

Of course, he just buggered off again leaving the ant colony to it’s own devices.  A bunch of them started to view his artificial progeny as something special.  They’d follow him about and believed he was their link to Jahooolah himself.

Some of the ants didn’t like the upstart, so they got rid of him.

It really kicked off then!  All kinds of ant factions started up, all with their own theories of Jahooolah’s progeny, and what he meant.  I wanted to tell them that Jahooolah had just been trying something new; experimenting for the sake of experimentation, but they couldn’t understand me as I didn’t have Jahooolah’s powers of ant communication.  They saw it as Shitan the Kettle Bringer trying to interfere.

Ant queens from different colonies all came up with their own interpretations, and all for the purpose of vying for power.  Those that could convince the most ants to follow them and their crackpot theories gained power over the wider colony.

They sent emisaries out across the whole garden and into neighbouring gardens.  Any that refused to believe them about Jahooolah and his progeny, were subjugated, and beaten into submission.  There were some terrible scenes with the red ants from across the way!


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While all this was going on, and while I was watching in disbelief through the ant viewing devices he’d left me, Jahooolah had met a trans-dimensional girl and started dating, so he had no time for the ants, or for me.  Again, I tried to tell the ants that they were mistaken, that they shouldn’t place all their faith in Jahooolah; he was a bit flaky at best.  But of course, they couldn’t understand me, and lived in fear of the coming of Shitan and his kettle.

Some years passed.  Generations of ants came and went.  Then it happened; Jahooolah’s girlfriend dumped him!  He was broken up about the whole thing.  He came round to visit for the first time in years.  Bitter doesn’t even begin to describe his mood.

He stayed with me for a few weeks back then, and I nursed him back to a healthy state of mind.  He asked about the ants and I brought him up to date with all the goings on.  By this stage, I think he’d realised his mistake in getting involved in the first place, but he decided he’d do what he could to try to fix it.  He got talking to one of the ants, trying to gauge the feeling on (and under) the ground.

Jahooolah tried to talk to the ant, and lay down some more good rules to live by.  Of course, given his own recent history, there may have been a few bitter comments about women and their place in society, but I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.  Merely a reflection of his bleak state of mind.

I was hopeful that this latest intervention by Jahooolah would calm things down.  That an element of peace and cohesion would return to the various ant colonies now living in my garden.

But I was wrong.

As soon as Jahooolah was gone, things just all kicked off again! They haven’t settled down even now, some years later.  If anything, things are worse.

I keep trying to get Jahooolah to come back and sort the situation out but he’s decided it’s best not to interfere. A bit too late for that, in my opinion,  but what can I do?

The ants are ruining my garden.  I could never sell my house with it all in this state.  It used to be such a nice garden but the ants are now destroying it all, inch by inch.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not ALL Jahooolah’s fault.  The ants are power mad, and consuming everything in sight. I just can’t help but think though, that if they weren’t all at odds with each other about Jahooolah’s messages, they’d be less blind to the devastation they were causing.

I think it will soon get to the point where I have no other option than to take the kettle to the lot of them, in order to save my garden.

I guess, if there is a moral to my story, it is this: if you’re going to interfere with the well being of a species, then make sure you see it through to the end. Don’t just bugger off and leave them all to Shitan the Kettle Bringer.


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People Problem #2

The visual perception - Photography Course - L...

(Photo credit: Marco Crupi Visual Artist)

I’m 13 again. I’m sitting in Mr Wilson’s maths class.  He’s telling us about equations. Probably.  I don’t know.  I don’t recall the lesson.

What I do remember is looking around the classroom, bored.  It’s hard for a young mind to pay attention for such long spells.

Over the other side of the class, by the windows, I spy the new kid.  He’s so uncool!  He’s a definite maths geek!  Sitting there, back straight, legs crossed, paying such exquisite attention to every word from the teachers mouth.

What a freak! What a nerd! Doesn’t he know it’s not cool to look like he cares?

But hang on.  What’s this?

It hits me like a bath full of hot water; he looks like me!

The posture, the crossed legs…I sit like that! I am sitting like that right now! And I tend to pay attention in class too. Well, usually. OK, the hair’s not the same, the face is not the same. The uniform is. The black clunky shoes, the white socks; ditto.

Is that what people see when they see me? It’s so far from my vision of myself, it’s untrue, but is that who I am?

Maybe my vision of myself is not correct? Maybe I too look like the new kid, the geek, the freak, the nerd.  Could that be?

My own self image does not want to accept such a conclusion, but how could it not be true?

I’ve had an out of body experience. I’ve left my own closeted self point of view, and seen myself externally. As others see me.

Have you ever heard your voice played back on a recording?  Did you think, “that doesn’t sound like me”?  Did you hate or like the sound of your own voice played back?

I always hated my own voice played back.  It didn’t sound like me.  And I knew that to be the case as I was always there when I was talking, so of course I knew what I sounded like.  Not like it sounded on the tape, that’s for sure! That voice on the tape sounded nothing like me. It sounded awful.

After listening to that, I didn’t want to speak again for a while.  After seeing the new kid in the classroom, I didn’t want people to look at me for a while.

I didn’t want them to see or hear me, looking and sounding like that.

But, hang on a minute! They’ve always seen me like that.  They’ve always heard that voice.  The people who love me, the people who hate me, the people who are just there and have no strong feelings about me.  They know what I look like and sounds like, and they love / hate / ambivolate (new word…I call trademark!) me regardless!

It’s a hard lesson when we learn for the first time we’re not everything we think we are in our own minds.  When we first get that external view of ourselves played back to us.  Not everyone even gets that lesson, or has that out of body experience.

As an adult, I still know so many people yet to have this life lesson. To be able to separate themselves from their own consciousness and view themselves externally, objectively.

You see these people all the time.  They fall into two groups: those that love themselves too much, and those that loath themselves too much.

The first group, the “lovems”, are usually the most obvious.  They like to advertise their own presence as they’re so in love with their own image of themselves that surely everyone else must love them too?!  They sweep into the room, and make sure everyone knows they’re there. They demand your admiration, after all, they admire themselves, so how could you not too?

The second group, the “hatems”, are less obvious.  They hide from view whenever possible.  They loathe themselves.  They are  filled with insecurities.  How could anybody possibly like them or even love them?  They are convinced that they are ugly, uninteresting, worthless.

An objective view is hard for either of them. The lovems could not conceive that they are not all they believe that they are, that they are only human, just like everyone else.  The hatems could not conceive that they have their own good qualities, that they are completely human, just like everyone else.

And of course, there are the rest of us, in the middle, who often swing between both views, depending on the context.  I’m mostly over my childish insecurities.  I was always closer to being a hatem than a lovem.  And there are times that those feelings come back, but I know how to deal with them now. I also have delusions of grandeur from time to time. Yes even me, The Great San Jefe.  Hard to believe I know.

The key is to step outside yourself and see what others see.  To gain an objective perspective.

Too many of us go through life only looking through our own eyes.  We see what we see, not what is to be seen. We hear what we hear, not what is to be heard.  We mangle everything through our own subjective filters, until our own view bares little resemblance to reality, and find it so hard to view ourselves as others view us.

All arguments, all conflicts, all wars, are held between two parties who each believe passionately that they are right, and that it is the other that is wrong, unreasonable, mistaken.  But if both parties are right, how can there be a conflict?

Stepping outside of yourself and looking at your own motivations and actions, and how they may appear to others will usually surprise you.  Putting yourselves into the shoes of the other, and really understanding what is driving them, and reflecting back on how your actions appear to them, can hit you hard.  It’s a shock.

Externalise the view of yourself, and you can suddenly put yourself into the position of others.

Unfortunately, as a species, we don’t do this too often.

And so, People Problem #2: our default mode, and for many of us the only mode, is subjective. We lack perspective. We either consider ourselves infallible, or we underestimate our own abilities.

How much more could we achieve if we could only see all views of ourselves?

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in The Problem With People


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