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Keeping it 100

QWAN has brought up the century, marvellous effort that.

“What a wonderful stroke (of the pen) to bring up the hundred, it’s been a marvellous innings so far and let’s hope he goes on with it.” – The ghost of Richie Benaud

I don’t know about you, but I envisage reaching milestones at the beginning of a new venture or path in life and then upon reaching them I see it not so much as a celebration, but a confirmation of my excellence…haha nah I’m not fooling anyone!

Jokes aside, I felt it was appropriate to acknowledge the 100th Friday entry or “QWAN” with some greater fanfare. QWAN (Quality Without A Name) was a moniker I chose that I felt best illustrated both myself and what I was trying to do with this new pathway in life. I may not be a household name (yet), but I believe the quality is still there, if anything, I feel my writing is getting better with every passing week.

However, I don’t intend on this post being a massive celebratory pat on the back for me as I already did that last month for my website’s second-year anniversary. No, as the title suggests, I wish to keep it 100.

True, authentic, real...are generally the words interchangeable with “100”, but as Dave Chappelle comedically pointed out to us, there are times when keeping it real goes wrong. Authenticity has become the modern day substitute for virtue. Virtue requires ethical consideration and decision making whereas authenticity does not (or at least not inherently or to the same extent). Primarily, this is why I choose to pursue a life of virtue, of truth, of honesty, of beauty along with the stoic principles of wisdom, temperance, justice and courage.

In striving and aspiring to be better than I was yesterday (oh so cliched, Martyn), comparison is inevitable (as is judgement) and this is not necessarily a bad thing. The problems arise when you become too fixated on your competition and the success of others (or your own lack of success, especially comparatively) leading to jealousy, envy and resentment. Also, you don’t need to denigrate your success and talents to uplift others. This isn’t a zero-sum game.

One of my main qualities is the ability to understand and empathise with others. I try to be understanding of many, as I feel it is important to try and understand people AS THEY ARE before setting about any kind of change or improving. I feel it has cost me, to an extent, but I feel morally obligated to continue doing it. I realise that not everyone wants to be helped, saved or rescued and it’s counterproductive to try and do so. Not everyone wants to have their eyes opened to all parts of themselves – it can be terrifying, no doubt – but you’ll be a deeper and more well-rounded person for exploring yourself.

In trying to understand a wide range of people, I’m not necessarily seeking justification for their thoughts and actions (though people may/will provide such) nor am I necessarily condoning their behaviour…and I’ve been wrongly accused of this. I’m fascinated by people and why they do and say what they do, even to the point of frustration, annoyance and disappointment.

I’ve stayed away from certain topics/subjects (for a number of reasons) to not add to the already delicate and sensitive, yet hostile and uncivil, state of process and progress. I’ve tried to be a voice of calm and reason, if you will. I’ve tried to show a way of living that is beyond the noise and surface level nonsense. As I’ve said before, I’m not here to sell you anything and I’ve not claimed to be something I’m not.

We have serious and complex problems/issues that need solving (by adults) – and yet we seem lost in the realms of infantile fantasy and greedy, unethical opportunists.

To the extent that I’m a part of society, I’m not separated from what’s going on. I don’t feel I get to turn a blind eye or remove myself from experiencing it nor its influence.

I hold myself to high standards, morals and principles – the only problem is that most people don’t meet them, sometimes not even me! The downside to very high ideals is that you run the risk of believing you’re better than / above everyone else and this needs to be kept in check with humility and gratitude, which too few do. As a side point, in my experience, holding this level of ethical standards can and does reflect poorly in the majority of others causing much friction, conflict, misunderstanding and social isolation. I’ll reiterate what I said before, however, it is something I feel morally obligated to do…so I’ll continue to do so.

I’m always trying to work out how I’M wrong – it’s tiring, hard work and requires critical thinking and I can’t really think of too many others who do this. People seem to be more interested in pointing out flaws and faults in other people (or worse, projecting their own onto others).

I’m trying to work things out as much as the next person…but is the next person really trying to work things out? It feels like the lines to the “convenient lie” are massive whereas to the “uncomfortable truth”, they are considerable smaller. I begin to question whether people really do want to be better or to help others?

Society is degenerating and I feel called forward to stop it, but maybe it’s the best thing that can happen. If you’re going to tear something down you have to replace it with something better and I just don’t see it / that happening right now (control what you can going forward, it’s not about inverting the winners and losers of the past). It’s easier to make a good (but flawed) system worse than it is better, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try!

This is why I’m in the pursuit of truth, honesty, virtue, beauty and understanding, critical thinking and open dialogue. The effects of change at the societal level lag, at the level of the individual it’s more immediate. Things might not be happening fast enough, but that doesn’t mean we need to go full “Vive la revolution!” Retributive justice, like vengeance itself, is a fool’s game. Things done right will take time to show the effects and people don’t want to wait so they’ll artificially jig the system to create the results they want without realising (and some, without caring) about the consequences.

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m searching for them and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let things get worse. And if that isn’t “keeping it 100” then I don’t know what is.

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