Year 2014 in Review

A Big Thank You to all the viewers out there 🙂 Have a great 2015 and I hope you will continue visiting my blog!

Best Wishes,

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row was in Monterey, California.  It was a junky town and was inhabited by whores, pimps, gamblers etc. Men and women worked in the fishing industry and helped to harvest the sardine fleet.

Lee Chong owned a grocery store which was well stocked. It opened for long hours. Almost everyone owed him money. He was a nice guy who didn’t chase too much for outstanding debt. He lived well and was well respected by those around him. Lee was not concerned about losses. In the store, Lee had a friendly demeanour while manning the counter. There was a building which was used as a storage place for fish meal. It was owned by Horace Abbeville, who had 2 wives and six children. Lee came to him to collect debt. Horace wanted to sell the building to Lee to clear the debt. Lee agreed and the deal was clinched there and then. After that, Horace shot himself. Lee tried to help Horace’s family with the funeral proceedings as much as possible. Then, Lee met Mack. Mack was the exploiter of a group of men who had no families and no ambitions. Their group of men consists of Hazel, Eddie, Hughie, Jones. Mack suggested that he and his friends would take care of the building to prevent break-ins. Lee wanted to charge a nominal rent for them to stay. Everyone was happy about this. The house would be safe from then on.

The Word sucks up Cannery Row. Lee buried his grandfather. In this town, the men were destructive and often ruined themselves. Mack and his boys were considered beauties. Mack and his boys were not well liked by the others.

There was a railroad track and a whore house near his grocery store. Dora owned the whore house, which was actually well managed. She often was kind and ensured that the women would not starve. Alfred also worked there as a watchman. Dora was especially charitable and good to society, for fear that her whore house might have to shut. Her staff are all well-trained. The previous watchman was William and he tried unsuccessfully to bond with Mack and his boys. They didn’t want to hang out with a pimp like William. William was depressed and wanted to quit. He started talking to Eva, one of the show girls. William later killed himself in the kitchen with an ice pick. Unlike William, Alfred was well-liked.

There was an old Chinaman in the streets. He disappeared and then re-appeared during dawn again. He was carrying a wicker basket. Andy was a kid who wanted to find out who this mysterious man was. He intercepted his path one day and was frightened by the experience. He seemed to hallucinate after the entire experience.

Dora also owned the Bear Flag Restaurant. Western Biological sold lovely animals of the sea. There were jars of preserved animals. The basement of the store was used to embalm and inject animals. Doc was the owner of the Western Biological Laboratory. He was a passionate and small man. He was also very helpful despite the nature of his job. Unknowingly, he was the foundation of philosophy and science and art in Cannery Art. He lived in wonder of nature. Everyone felt indebted to him because of the way he helped others.

The doc often collected marine animals. There was plenty of beautiful sea creatures. Doc and Hazel worked in the pool. Hazel lived in the Palace Flophouse with the other boys. Hazel was born in a huge and poor family. Now, he was a 26 year old uneducated man. However, he was very hardworking and willing. Hazel didn’t know much but he knew questions were a way to keep conversations going. The starfishes caught would be sent to Northwestern University for research purposes. Gay was moving in with them in the house because his wife abused him. There was a guy who took apart his boat and changed it. Everyone was nutty in their own way. His name was Henri. It took him 7 years to build a boat, only to dismantle it again. He liked boats but didn’t like water that was why he was reluctant to finish building it. Hazel and Doc flipped a stink bug over to examine it. The stink bug liked to put their tail up in the air for no reason. Doc thought that they were praying.

The remarkable thing isn’t that they put their tails up in the air – the really incredibly remarkable thing is that we find it remarkable. We can only use ourselves as yardsticks. If we did something as inexplicable and strange we’d probably be praying. – Doc

The Palace was run down. They were a group of individualists. The palace was dilapidated and the boys wanted to do something about it. Now, they all chipped in to decorate it. Everyone contributed something to the place. Later on, they pooled money together to buy a huge stove. It was the highlight of the Palace. Eddie was an understudy bartender. Everyone felt more at home in the Palace now. Eddie often made cocktails for the rest with leftover alcohol from the bar. The boys were planning to throw a party for Doc. They contemplated how to go about doing it without letting Doc know. The old boiler was left in the vacant lot by Mr Randolph. In 1934, Mr and Mrs Sam Malloy moved into the boiler. At that time, Mr Malloy also rented the large pipes for men to sleep on.

The boys helped Hazel carry in the sacks of starfish. Mack went to chat with Mr Malloy. Doc was now arranging the starfish in long lines. Mack and the boys wanted to earn dough by killing animals in which Doc needed for his research. Doc wanted frogs and Mack agreed. Lee approved of the fact that Mack wanted to use his truck. However, before that, Mack had to fix his truck as it wasn’t able to move.

Frankie came to Western Biological since he was 11. He wanted to help Doc and he didn’t go to school. Nobody wanted him to go to school. There was something wrong with his co-ordination and his parents didn’t pay for it. Some of his uncles used to hit him real badly. Doc and Lee took care of him. Frankie was essentially a good boy who wanted to work hard. He enjoyed helping out at parties that the Doc hosted from time to time. One day, his co-ordination failed and he spilled the beer on the lady’s lap. Frankie ran off and started crying.

Lee’s Ford Truck had a history to it. Gay was an inspired mechanic and knew how to repair trucks. Now, he started fixing the car. Gay was a wonder. Now, the truck was ready to go. Gay chose back streets for the expedition. Later, while on the road, the truck broke down. Later on, Gay was jailed after he got into some trouble.

The city had a long literary tradition. There were many literary men still living. Josh Billings, a great humorist, was well worshipped after his death. Mr Carriaga came upon a small boy and a dog on the street. Apparently they picked up his liver and intestines from the rubbish after he had been embalmed. The city people took them back, for it didn’t show respect to a literary man like Josh Billings.

Eddie finally came back after obtaining the needle from another Model T’s Truck. Eddie now installed the new carburetor. They came upon a river. The place was perfect for frog hunting. They needed to wait for night before it would good to hunt. The boys were also cooking chicken at the same time. Suddenly, they wondered what happened to Gay. Mack admitted he lied to himself. He felt that he was taking advantage of Doc because there were 5 of them. Mack wanted to give him something where he wouldn’t get most of it back. They thought of giving him their whiskey instead. A man appeared and pointed a gun at them, demanding them to leave and said hunting, camping was not allowed. Mack offered to help that man’s dog who was sick and in return, the man told them were to go frog hunting.

It was early morning in Cannery Row again. There were two soldiers flirting with two ladies. Later, the watchman told them to scram as it was private property. The caretaker left eventually when on one listened to him.

Mack tried to cure the dog from its tick bites. The puppy appeared lonely. The captain offered Mack a puppy and he accepted. He started serving Mack and the boys some liquor from an old keg. It was brilliant in taste. There were thousands of frogs in the night. Mack devised a new way to catch them, which involved following them into the pool etc. Many of the frogs were nabbed and they were very successful in their adventure. There were at least 6 to 7 hundred of them. The captain really enjoyed their company. He even wanted to live with the rest on Palace Flophouse. Everyone was happy that they had the required numbers of frogs for the Doc.

Some of the girls were injured and could not perform on duty. Dora had issues with the income tax. There was an influenza epidemic in town and Mrs Talbot and Tom Work had it. The doctors were all very busy. The doc was very busy going from house to house to take care of the people. Some of the kids were indeed very sick. He suggested that Dora keep some of the lonely kids company. The girls started giving free soup to the needy and the sick. It was a lovely sight.

Despite all that, the Doc was a lonely man inside. Mack knew this as Doc couldn’t socialize well. Doc kept up with his collecting. Doc knew the exact moment when he could fish for certain animals. Doc had to go alone as he couldn’t find anyone else to accompany him. One of his favorite drinks was beer. Deep inside, Doc was a nervous man. Along his trip, Doc considered whether to pick up hitchhikers. The doc finally agreed. The hitchhiker encouraged Doc to cut down on his alcohol intake while driving. Doc was pissed and told them to leave. Doc tried to order a beer milk shake from a café. It was just beer and milk mixed together.

Now, the Doc reached the area for catching octopus. He managed to catch 22 octopi. Suddenly, he came upon a dead girl floating in the water. His heart pounded deeply. He was in deep shock by the way the girl stared at him. A man came by to speak to him. The doc knew that he needed to call the police station immediately. He wanted the man to report the incident, while the Doc started to leave.

Many people came to see the flag-pole skater perform. One day, an old Doctor Merrivale started to shoot at him with his air-rifle. The flag-pole skater started drinking and appeared lonely in the middle of the night.

Mack and the boys were back with the captured frogs. However, the doc was away. They tried selling it to Lee but Lee didn’t want the frogs. Mack offered him a trade-off of giving groceries in exchange for frogs and that Lee could attend the party too. Lee agreed to it. Lee was a shrewd business and wanted the most value for his products before he could let them go. The boys didn’t seem to mind and they were still happy at being about to eat bacon and eggs. Their dog was named Darling. She was mischievous and difficult to control. The boys were thinking about the party to throw for Doc. They were waiting for Doc to return home. Lee seldom offered discounts at his store. Eddie started baking a cake for Doc. The boys bought party accessories and moved them to the laboratory. Many people from the neighbourhood came to join in the party. There were many mishaps that night. The floor was littered with broken glass and the entire place was in a mess. Some of the frogs got loose as well. Many of the frogs managed to escape.

The rats in the lab cages escaped too. Doc finally returned home. He realized that the rattlesnacks escaped. He was fuming inside. The doc saw Mack and punched him immediately. Blood spurted from his lips. Doc kept hitting him. Despite this, Mack didn’t retaliate. Finally after a while, the doc was calm enough to start speaking. Mack said he wouldn’t learn anything from this episode especially after being hit. He offered to pay for everything but Doc said that he and the boys didn’t need to. Doc related this episode with his fiery relationship with his wife. Mack also had a wife which ran away.

Henri was not his real name. Finally, he decided to give up painting. Henri was a superb boat builder. It took him months to build the boat but he seemed to want it that way. His galley was an amazing piece of art. He had been building his boat for 10 years. Many people loved him but couldn’t stand his weird habits. Alice left him. However, after a period of sadness, he felt free. Later, Henri had a bad dream of a man slashing his baby with a razor. Henri claimed it was real. The doc dismissed this case as a ghost sighting.

A gloom settled around the Flophouse that evening. Mack was sad as the party turned out bad. Only Darling was happy. Mack and the rest felt like social outcasts now. Everyone in town thought that they were evil and weird people. Thankfully, their friendship kept them together. Now, the boys started polishing the palace. From afar, the doc commented that the boys survived in this world better than others. They didn’t want excessive things and didn’t want to keep wanting for more. The doc bet that the boys wouldn’t turn to watch the Independence Day parade. Richard lost the bet and had to treat the doc a beer. Dora was closed for a few weeks because of changing regulations. Things were looking bad around town. It was always easy to blame yourself. Darling fell sigh too and she was skeleton skinny now. Doc was called in by the boys to examine her. Finally after much care, she recovered. The wall of evil was broken now. Mack approached Dora and wanted to make it up to Doc by asking her whether she had any suggestions. She suggested a party where the Doc was sure to attend.

For there are two possible reactions to social ostracism – either man emerges determined to be better, purer, and kindlier or he goes bad, challenges the world and does even worse things. This last is by far the commonest reaction to stigma. – John Steinbeck

It has always seemed strange to me. The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. – The Doc

Mary Talbot was a lovely lady. She also loved parties. She was the wife of Tom Talbot. Mary enjoyed organizing house parties for friends. She had a cheery disposition and always aimed to care for her husband. To her, it was important to organize events. Their family was deep in debt. Later that year, Mary would throw a pregnancy party where everyone would have fun.

Things would need to start looking up now. Mack knew that he just needed to sleep on it and thinks might change for the better. Darling was growing up to be a good and charming dog. The whole mood was looking up. The business at Bear Flag improved. Most of the girls had recovered and could work. The boys wanted to throw the Doc a birthday party. Mack asked when his birthday was and realized that it felt on Oct 27. The doc that Mack was up to something.

The boys had to make sure that Doc would be at the party. They were planning on having it at his place. Dora’s girls were making him a blanket. Lee bought firecrackers and China lily bulbs. Sam would give Doc a rod and a piston. Another of his presents would be cats. Gay also would be attending the party. Henri prepared a giant pincushion for Doc. Doc finally knew about the party from a bartender. He felt both warm and queasy inside. Now, doc started planning for the party too. There would be many guests.

Frankie saw a nice piece of jewelry and wanted to steal it in the night. Frankie was caught by the police eventually. The police asked him why did he take it for, Frankie replied ‘I love you, Doc’.

It was his birthday and Doc made sure that the animals won’t run loose. Dora was clad in a splendid dress. The girls drank a little before heading to the party. Now, Doc was feeling a little mellow. Everyone was waiting for each other before they would show up at the party.

Parties don’t usually go the way they are planned. All the guests were treated to whisky. People arrived in droves. The girls conducted themselves properly. The doc started cooking his steaks. He was feeling much better. The doc started reciting a poem. He was reminiscing his previous love. The party was wild yet fun.

A fat gopher took up residence at the vacant lot on Cannery row. It was seemingly a perfect place to live and he was deeply satisfied. He was sad because there were no females nearby. Finally he decided to move away.

The place was in a mess when the Doc woke up the next morning. Cannery Row was quiet and sunny. Lee came to visit and they started chatting. Doc picked up his book and continued reading. After reciting, he saw the rats and the snakes escaped from their cages and were staring at him.


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Story of the Door. Mr Utterson was a very serious lawyer who rarely smiled. He forgave others who drank a great deal. He was a capable man who had good natured friendships. One of which was with Mr Richard Enfield. They had many things in common. They came upon a derelict shop-house without windows and discoloured walls. The door was stained badly. Mr Enfield admitted the door brought back some memories. He saw a man trample over a girl when they collided with one another some time ago. The man was like a Juggernaut. The girl’s family came to the girl’s rescue. The doctor was present as well. Everyone there seemed to hate the doctor. The man entered the door and extracted some money. The cheque provided was genuine. Apart from that incident, no one has been seen entering or exiting the house. Utterson wanted to know who walked over the child. Mr Hyde was the one. He had a deformity somewhere which made me very displeasing to the eye. It was Mr Hyde who entered the house to withdraw the money to pay the child’s family. Mr Hyde used a key to enter the house. Utterson and Richard vowed not to talk of this case again.

Search for Mr. Hyde. Mr Utterson was at home on a Sunday evening for dinner. That night, he examined Dr Jekyll’s will, which he kept in his business room. He was in charge of lending assistance to making the will. If anything happened to Dr Jekyll, the money would be transferred to Edward Hyde. This document offended Mr Utterson. Mr Utterson went to seek his friend Dr Lanyon. They thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll used to be friends until Dr Jekyll’s mind went wrong. They couldn’t agree on Science. Lanyon had never heard of Hyde. Utterson wanted to find out more and was not satisfied by what he knew. He wanted to see Hyde face-to-face. Since then, Utterson kept spying at the door to see whether there was any movement in or out. One night, Utterson spotted a small man entering the door via a key. Mr Utterson stopped him before he entering and started chatting with him. He was indeed Mr Hyde. Utterson managed to see his face and obtained Hyde’s address. Hyde seemed dwarfish and Utterson could not explain why he was hated so much. Now, Utterson went to Jekyll’s house. Unfortunately, Jekyll wasn’t at home. Mr Hyde often frequent the laboratory. Something must have spurred Dr Jekyll to want to work on Hyde. There were numerous strange clauses to the Will.

Dr Jekyll was Quite at Ease. Jekyll and Utterson finally met face-to-face. Jekyll termed Lanton a ‘blatant pedant’. Utterson has never approved of the Will. Jekyll was indeed a very handsome man. Jekyll admitted that he took a great interest in Hyde. Jekyll wanted Utterson to approve his Will. Utterson agreed to it.

It can make no change. You do not understand my position. I am painfully situated, Utterson; my position is a very strange – a very strange one. It is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking. – Dr Jekyll

The Carew Murder Case. A year later, London was shocked by a murder of an old gentleman by Mr Hyde. Mr Hyde kept clubbing a man whom he was talking peacefully just moments ago. The maid witnessed all this and called the police. The murder was indeed very gruesome. On the victim, there was a purse and gold watch and also a sealed envelope addressed to Mr Utterson. Sir Danvers Carew was the victim. Mr Hyde was not at home when Utterson and the police officer wanted to visit. The police inspector wanted to inspect his rooms. The decoration in the rooms were very posh and luxurious in nature. The room was very messy and appeared to be ransacked recently. It seemed like Hyde killed the man for his money. Hyde was a fugitive now.

Incident of the Letter. Utterson now visited the laboratory of Jekyll’s. Mr Jekyll knew about the murder case and didn’t want to talk to Hyde again. But he knew that Hyde was safe in hiding. Jekyll gave Utterson a letter which was sealed. The letter was written by Hyde. In the letter, Hyde assured Jekyll that he had a safe means of escaping. There was a risk that Hyde would murder Jekyll some day and stand to inherit everything. Jekyll was solemn and sad in appearance now. Mr Guest was the head clerk. The writing on the letter did seem odd and Utterson questioned the clerk about it. The handwriting on the first letter and the invitation to dinner letter had an uncanny resemblance. A thought came to Utterson’s mind ‘Henry Jekyll forged for a murderer!’

I cannot say that I care what becomes of Hyde; I am quite done with him. I was thinking of my own character, which this hateful business has rather exposed. – Jekyll

Incident of Dr Lanyon. The death was now resented as a public injury. Mr Hyde was now in hiding. Many people started uncovering his horrible past. Dr Jekyll was a nice man now and started mixing more with his friends. Lanyon aged visibly over a short period of time and it was starling. Lanyon declared himself a doomed man. Jekyll was ill too. Jekyll also didn’t want to see Utterson now. Jekyll wrote to Utterson and requested him to respect the silence and the fact that he didn’t want to meet Lanyon. Dr Lanyon died a fortnight later. Utterson unveiled a letter than Lanyon sent him. However after the first envelope, in it lay another, which read that the envelope shall not be opened till Jekyll’s disappearance or death.

Incident at the Window. Utterson and Enfield were talking now. The door was actually a back way to Jekyll’s house. Suddenly, Utterson managed to catch Jekyll. He was very sad indeed. He looked in horror and despair. Both men were pale after this encounter.

The Last Night. There was something wrong with Jekyll. Poole was his servant and he admitted that Jekyll liked to hide in the cabinet and do nothing. Poole suspected some foul play. He brought Utterson to the middle of the pavement. He entered a door. They entered a hall which was brightly lit. Poole brought him to the surgical theatre. The voice in the door said he cannot see anyone at the present moment. Jekyll’s voice seemed changed. The butler thought it was strange that he didn’t know who was in the cabinet. There was something in the cabinet. Dr Jekyll kept rejecting impure chemicals for his research. They examined a letter with the doctor’s handwriting. Dr Jekyll had a mask over his face and was crying like a rat. The master hiding in the cabinet did not seem to be Jekyll. The plan was to break into the cabinet to find out who it was. Could the creature be Hyde instead? Now, they suspected that Dr Jekyll had been murdered. Once, the butler heard the creature weeping. It was indeed Hyde’s voice. Poole swung the axe against the cabinet. Finally, the lock burst. There was a good fire in the cabinet that was still on-going. There was a body of a man who was contorted and twitching. It was Edward Hyde. There was a crushed phial in his hand. Hyde was in ruins. It was now time to find Jekyll’s body. The two men searched the rest of the house. Hyde was almost dead now. The lawyer unsealed the envelope found in the business table. In the will, in place of Edward Hyde, the lawyer’s name was to be beneficiary instead. The letter was written by Jekyll and it instructed Utterson to read the narrative that Lanyon wrote. Jekyll was in hiding now. Utterson would call for the police shortly. Now, Utterson had two narratives, one by Lanyon and the other by Jekyll.

Dr Lanyon’s Narrative. Jekyll did write to Lanyon previously on 9 Jan. He instructed Lanyon to extract some chemicals and a paper book to Cavendish Square. The next task would be to pass it to someone else in the cabinet. This would be all. The two above steps was necessary to save Jekyll from more harm. Lanyon felt obliged to follow the instructions. I (Lanyon) took a revolver with me in case I needed to defend myself. I found Hyde. Hyde was dressed in clothing that was way too big for him. Hyde was expecting the chemicals from me. Hyde lunged at the chemicals. He started mixing the chemicals and it gave off a bright glow. Later, he drank it. After drinking, Hyde behaved hysterically again. After he drank it, he looked like Henry Jekyll. I was completely shaken in disbelief.

Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case. I was born from a rich family and had a bright future. I reflected hard on life. I suffered from a split personality. It came to my realization, from my research, that man was two. In the past, I only advanced on the moral side, and not the intellectual side. Now, I see the duality of man. I always wanted to separate the two elements. I could create a creature that were the stamp of lower elements in my soul. It was to be a very risky experiment and I was very wary of it. One day, I needed to make the potion and drank it. Then I felt younger and lighter and happier in being. But I realized that the experiment caused me to be much shorter and uglier. I was now Edward Hyde. It all seemed so real. Edward Hyde was pure evil. Later on, I drank the potion again and was converted back to Dr Jekyll. I now had two characters as well as two appearances. I wrote the will to make it seem that there were two different people being present. I could simply commit crimes and then drink the potion and transform to Jekyll again. However, I could not clean my conscience for the crimes that Hyde committed. Later on, the experiment went awry and I was deeply frightened. I went to bed as Henry Jekyll but woke up as Edward Hyde. I needed to hide my appearance from my servants. I gradually found it harder to return to the appearance of Jekyll but it was easier to remain as Hyde. Evil was creeping inside of me. Later on, I resolved to take the form of Jekyll and tried to make good all the crime I committed. However, the evil was too overpowering and I succumbed to it. I ended up taking the form of Edward Hyde without consuming the chemicals when I was outside the home. Now, I needed to reach for my chemicals in the lab without getting caught. I thought of using Lanyon. The good thing about taking my other form was that I could still write like Jekyll. I concluded that it was impure chemicals that caused the experiment to be so unstable. I sought for pure chemicals. In half an hour, I would turn into Hyde again and this time it would be permanent. Now, I bring the life of unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.

If each, I told myself, could be housed in separate identities, life would be relived of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil. – Dr Jekyll


Anthem by Ayn Rand

It is a sin to not think like others. It is an offence to think alone. You need the permission of the Council of Vocations before you can write. There is no established punishment for it yet. Writing down your thoughts is a crime. Our name is Equality 7-2521 and we all wear an iron bracelet. We are 21 years ago and 6 feet tall. All men must be alike. We have to repeat these words ‘We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great WE. One, indivisible and forever.’ These words were established a lot time ago. No one can recall what happened before the Great ReBirth. Everything the World Council said was the whole true. There is no free will except of the will of all men together. Our group of men are different from the rest as we have transgressed. We often fought with our brothers since young. We were all prisoners now. It was evil to be superior by our fellow brothers. We could not forget the past or pretend not to know something we already knew. After the Home of the Students, the Council of Vocations would prescribe what we should do. Preferring something over another was a form of Transgression. The Council of Scholars claimed to know everything. We were fascinated by science and how things work. Many of us dreamt to work in the Council of Scholars. If you were assigned to be a Leader, you could study more. Our life mandate was to be a street sweeper. Life was tough and with long hours. We often were made to sing the Hymn of Brotherhood, Equality and Collective Spirit. Once men turn 40, they are sent to the Home of the Useless, where the State cares for them. We loved a group called International 4-8818 and that was a transgression. Later, in a field, we pushed aside an iron bar and saw an iron grill over a black hole. We opened the grill and decided to explore despite knowing that it was an offence. It was a high tech tunnel. The place was left from the unmentionable times. We wanted to keep this a secret at all cost and protect it with our lives. The International group didn’t want to betray us. We started stealing valuable items and bringing it to the tunnel. For 3 hours each night, we would study in the tunnel. This has been going on for more than 2 years. We are doing this because we love exploring. We do not feel remorse or fear in our hearts whatsoever. Our strange ‘evil’ ways seem peaceful indeed.

We were not happy in those years in the Home of the Students. It was not that the learning was too hard for us. It was that the learning was too easy. This is a great sin, to be born with a head which is too quick. – The Narrator

We are forbidden to speak about women. There is a female group known as Liberty 5-3000. They were in charge of planting seeds in a field. After many instances, they gradually grew warmer towards us. Only speaking to other groups in Social Meetings were acceptable. It is an offence to think of other men outside your group. It was not an offence to think of women in the City Palace of Mating. There would be a Council of Eugenics who would assign a female to each man. Women will never see their children and the kids won’t know who their parents are. The female group was known to us as the Golden One. Finally we spoke to their group. They were a group of 17 year olds. We were reprimanded for singing for no reason. It is forbidden not to happy. However, our brothers look at us with fear in their eyes. Our brothers have the ultimate say. There are groups of people who are not happy all the time. Legend has it that those who enter the Uncharted Forest do not come out alive. Many of the important secrets were lost. You will be sentenced to death if you mention the Unspeakable Word. One man was burned in public for saying it. At that moment of being burnt, the Saint was still smiling. This was very intriguing to us. We would not guess the word before that guy perished. What is the Unspeakable Word?

Indeed you are happy. How else can men be when they live for their brothers? – Home Council

Men are free and the earth belongs to them; and all things on earth belong to all men; and the will of all men together is good for all; and so all men must be happy. – The Narrator

The Council of Scholars has said that we all know the things which exist and therefore all the things which are not known by all do not exist. – The Narrator

We will uncover secrets because we seek them. We were slowly discovering new secrets of life. It is important to keep learning, even though we can’t share it with anyone.

We saw the Golden One by the hedge. They called us ‘the Unconquered’. In return, we termed them ‘Our Dearest One’. Now, they brought water to us.

We completed building a strange thing. We made a wire glow. It was an electric current running through a wire. It was now possible to light the city with metal and wires. The plan was to present the idea to the World Council of Scholars. We felt the wire being part of body as well.

Now, we had been caught by the government. We were lashed in the Palace of Corrective Detention. We lost count of the blows. We refused to tell the judge where we went after we were late for duty. Now, we were placed in a prison cell. It would be the Council of Scholars meeting tomorrow and we had to escape somehow. Thankfully it was easy to escape. We went to hide in the tunnel and prepare for the next day.

It is dark in the forest. Finally we were in the hall of the World Council of Scholars. The scholars despised us when we revealed we were Street Sweepers. We demonstrated to them the power of light. The men were afraid. Many of the scholars were jealous and ordered us to be lashed for trying to show that we were superior to them. We were disappointed by such a reply. Lone thinkers had no place in society. Our box would bring ruin to the Department of Candles. The scholars wanted our box to be destroyed. We leapt out of the place, through glass. We simply ran away. Unknowingly, we ended up in the Uncharted Forest. We could no longer go back to the town and would rather prefer solitude. The golden one was not with us and we missed her.

What is not thought by all men cannot be true…What is not done collectively cannot be good. – Collective 0-0009

The forest was a mystery and yet held such charm for us. We were free to do whatever we wished. We started to explore the forest and appreciate nature. For food, we learnt how to cook and eat birds. The stream was a thing of sheer beauty.

The Golden One came to visit us now. We learnt from them that they followed us. They wished to share our damnation wherever we went. It was clear that they wanted to stick with us now. We hugged one another and experienced true joy. This new life felt so clear and simple but yet brought immense joy. We were weary when we toiled for our brothers. There seemed to be an error in which the brothers taught. What was it? We were closer to the Unspeakable Word, but could not pinpoint what it was. The Golden One confessed that they loved us.

We started scaling small mountains. We came upon a house. It was of a very modern design. This was a house from the Unmentionable Times. Undaunted, we explored the interior. It was odd that the house could only fit 12 people. We wondered about the men from the Unmentionable Times. We found scripts which we didn’t manage to comprehend fully. This was our house.

What is this secret our heart has understood and yet will not reveal to us, although it seems to beat as if it were endeavoring to tell it? – The Narrator

I am. I think. I will. I am the meaning of the things. I discovered self-will. I am not a servant for men’s needs. Honor must be earned. Do not keep using the word ‘We’. I finally discovered the usage of the word ‘I’. This was the forbidden word.

It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect. – The Narrator

I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on Earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose. – The Narrator

I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom. – The Narrator

Nothing can kill the spirit of man. I realized we all needed names so that we can be addressed. I shall be Prometheus and the Golden One shall be named Gaea. My aim would be to build up knowledge and then contribute it to future generations. I would learn how to build electricity again. If possible, when my fortress is built, I will call forth those who had been ostracized by the brothers to join me. I would rewrite the new history of Man. Man needed to free himself from his brothers. This was freedom. The problem was that men worshiped ‘We’. The spirit of Man will always awaken. For freedom, rights. For life and for honor. I will never let this word die ‘EGO’.


The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Kino is a fisherman, Juana is his wife and their baby is named Coyotito. Kino and Juana were both awake now. Kino was very attune to the sea and the natural environment. It was a perfect morning. His wife sang family songs to Coyotito. Kino entered the brush house now. He and his wife rarely spoke, but they were very close to each other. Suddenly, there was a scorpion on the rope and it was approaching the box where Coyotito was resting in. Juana started chanting, in the hope that the scorpion would leave. It was in that moment that the scorpion bit Coyotito. Just following that, Kino crushed it. Juana tried to use her mouth to suck out the poison from Coyotito. Coyotito screamed in pain. The baby had a real chance of dying from the sting. Kino was impressed by the bravery of his wife. The doctor didn’t visit the brush houses as he often attended to richer patients. Juana decided to head to the doctor instead. Juan Tomas was Kino’s brother and Apolonia was his wife. The whole community soon got to know of this incident. The doctor was apparently a very cruel man. The doctor was from a race that despised Kino’s in the past and Kino had second thoughts about visiting him. He dismissed the case, saying that he didn’t help ‘little Indians’. The messenger revealed to Kino that since he could only offer pathetic pearls as payment, the doctor did not want to see him. The villagers were in disgust. Kino was literally shamed in public. In anger, Kino punched the gate with his fists.

Canoes were parked alongside the beach. A hazy mirage was forming in the air. Kino and Juana headed to their canoe. The canoe they owned was 3 generations old. It guaranteed at least a supply of food via fishing. Kino took delicate care of the canoe. Coyotito was puffed and feeling feverish now. Juana applied seaweed on Coyotito’s shoulder. Now, she was praying that Kino could find a pearl as a means of paying the doctor. However, finding one was never easy. Now, Kino started tearing the oysters apart and placed them in a basket. It would take a great deal of luck to find a pearl in an oyster. Juana, still on the canoe, started singing the Song of the Undersea. Now, Kino surfaced with his haul. There was an oyster which was not surrounded by others and he grabbed that as well. Reluctantly, Kino opened his largest oyster. Inside it, was a pearl, perfect like the moon. It was a brilliant pearl, possibly the largest in the world. It had perfect curvature. The swelling in Coyotito was subsiding.

It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with the gods. – John Steinbeck

News spread like wildfire. Everyone knew that Kino found the best pearl around. The doctor now proclaimed that Kino’s son was his victim and fantasized about heading to Paris. It was the Pearl of the World. Now, many people took interest in Kino, and many of them were just trying to be greedy. The town was venomous now. Kino and his family didn’t know that yet. Kino proclaimed that he would get married with Juana and then they could have a grand wedding with new clothes. Kino now fantasized about getting a rifle. Humans are never satisfied. Now, Kino also believed that the new found wealth could be used to develop Coyotito’s education. Suddenly, the priest appeared from nowhere. In a quick turn of events, Kino sensed that song of the pearl was evil now. Kino knew he had to face the world, where others set up to destroy his dream and ambition. It was then that the servant and his doctor paid Coyotito a visit. He warned them that the scorpion might dissipate for a while, but there would be lingering effects on the body. Kino didn’t know much about the sting and let the doctor into his house. The doctor knew that Kino couldn’t take a risk on his son. The doctor gave Coyotito some medication to consume. Kino concealed the pearl in a rag and placed in at the corner of the house. Now, the baby was flushed and was suffering from stomach cramps. Coyotito vomited. The neighbours thought that luck brought bitter friends. Now, the doctor re-entered and gave the baby 3 drops of ammonia. However, Kino was suspicious of the white powder that the doctor first administered as a form of medication. Kino vowed to pay the doctor after he had sold the pearl. Kino moved the pearl to a location under his sleeping mat. His behaviour was suspicious in nature. No one could be trusted. Late into the night, Kino heard footsteps. Kino stabbed at the creature with a knife, forcing it to retreat. In that process, Kino got slightly hurt. Juana proclaimed that the pearl has brought them evil and she wanted to dispose of it immediately. Kino took out the pearl, stared and it and they began the day with hope. It was necessary to send Coyotito to school in order to break out of the poverty cycle.

Every man suddenly became related to Kino’s pearl, and Kino’s pearl went into the dreams, the speculations, the schemes, the plans, the futures, the wishes, the needs, the lusts, the hungers, of everyone, and the only one person stood in the way and that was Kino, so that he became curiously every man’s enemy. – John Steinbeck

If every single man and woman, child and baby, acts and conducts itself in a known pattern and breaks no walls and differs with no one and experiments in no way and is not sick and does not endanger the ease and peace of mind or steady unbroken flow of the town, then that unit can disappear and never be heard of. – John Steinbeck

Everyone knew that Kino would sell the pearl today. The fishermen all didn’t fish that day. Many wished that the pearl would not destroy a good man like Kino .In the past, people used agents to sell their pearls. But the agents all disappeared. It was best to do it alone this time. Kino removed his pearl and showed the buyer. The man offered him a thousand pesos and said that it was too large and was like fool’s gold. Kino was angry at his reply. The pearl was large but it was a strange colour. The dealer challenged Kino to go ask other people to value his pearl. The first dealer did not want to bid for it, calling it a monstrosity. The second guy said that it wouldn’t last long. The final dealer offered 500 pesos. Kino complained that he was cheated and wanted to head to the capital now. The last deal was 1500 pesos. Kino was not convinced. Kino’s actions were rated differently by the villagers. Some thought he was brave, some thought he was stupid for heading to the capital when he had no guarantee he could find another buyer. His brother was fearful that Kino was walking on dangerous territory where he didn’t know the way. Kino was brooding and occasionally turned to his wife for support. Someone later stabbed Kino. Blood was oozing from him and Kino was only half conscious. Juana helped him and nursed him now. She wanted him to dispose of it, but Kino clung on to it and refused to let it go.

The next day, they would head to the capital on their canoe. In the night, Juana tried to throw away the pearl into the ocean. Kino saw her in the nick of time and hit her in anger. Juana didn’t appear frightened and knew that Kino was half insane and half god. Later, Kino killed a man, who he thought stole the pearl. However, the pearl was actually still in Juana’s possessions. Kino realized that a large hole has been found in his canoe. Someone had sabotaged it. Kino was filled with rage and behaved like an animal now. Their house was also lit ablaze. Thankfully, the baby was safe. In order to seek refuge, Kino went over to his brother’s house. His brother was disappointed at the turn of events but vowed to protect Kino and his wife and child. The wind was favourable for Kino to travel.

This pearl has become my soul. If I give it up, I shall lose my soul. Go thou also with God – Kino

Kino was glad that there would be no tracks when he moved about. Kino experienced a rush of exhilaration. They walked all night. Now, it was warm again. Kino didn’t manage to see who attacked him. He dreamt of what he could do with the money earned from selling the pearl. Juana did not sleep. Now, they sensed some trackers and could spot that one of them had a rifle. Kino could not cover his tracks well. Thankfully, the trackers left for the moment and didn’t manage to detect them. Kino thought about going into the mountains to escape from them. They went to high ground, although the terrain was bad. Kino now wanted to distract the trackers while his wife and kid went to hide. Juana refused, saying that they must stick together. Even the spring they came across was dry and barren. Finally, they managed to find some water. From the distance, he spotted 2 trackers. Now, their plan was to hide in the shallow caves. Now the three trackers climbed the slope and started eating. Kino’s plan was to get to the man with the rifle first, while the other two men were sleeping. Kino removed his white shirt as it would attract attention in the darkness. Then he was gone. Kino was creeping quietly down the mountain. Now, 20 feet separated him and the enemy. The moon suddenly emerged from the clouds and Kino knew he was too late. Then the watchers heard a cry of a human child. The man thought it was a coyote and cocked his rifle. Now, Kino leapt with his knife and slashed at the man. Kino was a deadly man. Now, Kino heard the crying sound again, it was the cry of death. Kino and Juana returned to their homeland. Kino had a rifle with him now. Coyotito was killed in the process of the battle. They stared at the pearl for a long time and recounted how Coyotito was killed. Finally, Kino flung the pearl away with all his might. The music of the pearl finally disappeared.


The Stranger by Albert Camus

Maman died today. She was my mother. I needed to visit the old people’s home at Marengo. I didn’t feel any impact of her death yet even though I needed to attend her funeral. She was placed in an old people’s home. It was a long journey and I didn’t like visiting her.

Later on, the director showed me to where her body was. I was Meursault. My mum wanted a religious funeral and the director was arranging proceedings. The caretaker left me alone with the casket. I started conversing with the caretaker and he told me his background. The caretaker and I started smoking near her casket. Maman’s friends started streaming in. Everyone appeared gloomy and silent. Deep inside my heart, I wished one of her friends who was mourning and sobbing would shut up. I didn’t know who she was anyway. In the night, one old man started coughing and disturbed the peace. My body was aching and I felt tired. Some of my plans were affected by my mum’s death. One of her friends, Mr Perez, at the home was allowed to see the funeral procession. The priest started chanting and the process began. The heat was oppressive and extremely biting. I didn’t know how old my mum was when she died. During the procession, Mr Perez couldn’t keep up and I lost sight of him. Finally it ended and I could get a good night’s sleep.

‘For the first few days after being placed in an old people’s home, my mother cried a lot. But that was because she wasn’t used to it. A few months later and she would have cried if she’d been taken out. She was used to it.’  Meursault

Now, it was Saturday and I went for a swim. I met Marie Cardona, a former typist at our office, and we had a good time in the pool. I watched a movie together with her that evening. We slept together in my apartment. I simply sat at home on Sunday and smoked cigarettes. That day, I started observing people on the streets. The week was over and I would be working again tomorrow. Nothing had changed.

I had to pore through a stack of freight invoices. Emmanuel was a dispatcher. Together with him, we hopped onto a truck and headed for lunch. On the way home after work, I bumped into my neighour, Salamano and his dog. They were both haggard and drawn. Salamano and his dog had a hateful relationship and it had been on-going for 8 straight years. When I saw him, he was cursing at the dog for no reason. Raymond was my other neighour. He is alleged living off women. He invited me for dinner at his place and I accepted. The bandage he had around his hand was because he was involved in a fight recently. Raymond claimed to be a warehouse guard even though he kept her in the home. The guy whom he was involved in a fight was actually her brother. She was working for Raymond at the moment for a wage. Raymond also had evidence that she cheated on him. Before he let her go, he hit her real badly. He believed in punishing her. I could understand why Ray wanted to punish her. Now, Ray called me his ‘pal’. I started reading a letter which he wanted me to. Ray seemed to think that we could be good friends.

Marie and I made love again on Saturday. Later, we had lunch together in my apartment. When she asked me whether I loved her, I said it doesn’t matter. It was then that I heard Raymond screaming at a lady from his apartment. Raymond was hitting her real badly. Thankfully, a policeman entered his apartment and reprimanded him. She would be taken in to the police station. That afternoon, Raymond visited me. I agreed to be his witness and admit that the girl cheated on him. Raymond didn’t feel any remorse and admitted that he was happy he hit the girl. When we returned to the apartment, we noticed that Salamano lost his dog. The old man thought it was ridiculous to pay people to look for the dog. He would rather it die. That night, he came over to my apartment and was sobbing. It was ironic. He missed the dog very much.

Raymond told me that he had been followed by a group of Arabs, one of whom was a brother of his ex-mistress. My boss was opening a branch in Paris and suggested that I go work there. I told him that I wasn’t ambitious, that goals didn’t matter and that I was happy here. He was pissed at this. Marie asked me whether I wanted to marry her. Even though I probably didn’t love her, I agreed to marry her because it didn’t matter anyway. I didn’t treat marriage seriously. Salamano couldn’t find his dog but we continued talking. He got his dog after his wife died. He mentioned that some people around the neighbourhood didn’t like me because I sent my mother to an old people’s home in the past. I defended myself by saying that I only did it because I didn’t have the finances to support her.

I couldn’t see any reason to change my life. When I was a student, I had lots of ambitions like working overseas etc. But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered. – Meursault

Marie and I were planning to head to the beach but I was dead tired. Raymond got off with a warning from the police. We were visiting Raymond’s friend to have a party. Then, I caught a glimpse of a group of Arabs. We got off the bus at Algiers and the Arabs didn’t seem to be following us. We observed that there were people swimming on the beach. Ray’s friend was Masson. His wife was by his side in the bungalow. It was great swimming with Marie in the sea. We all headed back to the house to have lunch. Masson suggested that I went for a walk with him. From afar, I noticed two Arabs heading in our direction. We had a plan to take them down if they continued following us. There was a brief struggle and Raymond’s arm was slashed by a knife. The Arabs managed to flee . Raymond arm’s was bandaged now. Raymond and I met the Arabs again and now Raymond wanted to shoot them. Later, they backed away and hid behind a rock. Raymond’s man came back. He was intimidating and constantly observing me. The sun was hurting me and I was still in drunken stupor. Now, the Arab drew his knife and headed towards me. I fired at him and subsequently 4 more shots in his motionless body.

Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without a trace. And it was like knocking hour quick times at the door of unhappiness. – Meursault

Part 2

The police didn’t seem interested in the case even though I was arrested. The court will assign an attorney for me. The crime didn’t shake me at all. My lawyer was confident that he could win the case. He noted that I was insensitive when my mother died. I admitted that I was so tired that it affected how I felt about stuff. The lawyer was disappointed with my answers. Nobody understood me, not even him. The examination process began. I was tired of reporting what encountered during the day over and over again. I couldn’t explain why I shot at a body that was lying on the ground. The magistrate felt that no man was not forgivable according to God. However, man needed to repent. I told him that I didn’t believe in God. He felt that if men didn’t believe in God, life would be meaningless. He kept trying to convince me about God but I kept rejecting such views. I couldn’t get used to being a criminal. I wasn’t that sorry for what I did. The whole case took a grand total of 11 months. The judge called me ‘Mr Antichrist’.

I probably did love my mum, but that didn’t mean anything. At one time or another, all normal people have wished their loved ones were dead. – Meursault

I entered prison and it was a horrible experience. I was placed in a cell with a few people, some of them were Arabs. One day, Marie came to visit. My voice was drowned out by the man shouting beside me. Marie told me to have hope. Marie was very enthusiastic about my eventual release while I couldn’t be bothered. After a while, you could get used to anything. I gradually adapted to life in prison. There was always something to look forward to. In my cell, I dreamt about women and imagined them beside me. It helped to kill time. I couldn’t have cigarettes in prison. Later I got used to not smoking, and it didn’t feel like a punishment anymore. I wasn’t too unhappy and the difficult thing was killing time. I kept recalling vivid memories and it didn’t feel boring anymore. I often slept a lot in prison. I couldn’t keep track of time on prison. I was so used to prison routine that I didn’t believe I was already in prison for 5 months. I smiled at my reflection in a tin plate.

I often thought that if I had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowering overhead, little by little I would have gotten used to it. I would have waited for birds to fly by or clouds to mingle. – Meursault

I realized then that a man who has lived only 1 day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored. In a way, it was an advantage. – Meursault

Time started to pass quickly. I was interested to watch my trial. The jury and everyone else was staring at me. The reporter admitted that he had blown my case up over the papers. The court was now in session and everyone was present. I didn’t know much of the legal procedure. It was time for the witnesses to take the stand. The courtroom was very warm. The judge questioned me calmly. He started asking about Maman. I told her both of us later got used to our own lives. The hearing would be adjourned till the afternoon. The director revealed the truth about my relationship with my mum. My lawyer proclaimed ‘Everything in this trial is true, and nothing is true!’. Celeste defended me, saying that whatever happened to me was just bad luck. Marie also testified as a witness. The day after my mom died, I was out swimming with my girlfriend. Raymond attributed a lot of things to chance, including him being on the beach when he met the Arabs. My lawyer proclaimed ‘Come on, is my client on trial for burying his mother or for killing a man?’ The prosecutor proclaimed ‘I accuse this man of burying his mother with crime in his heart!’ Things were not looking good for me.

The lawyer didn’t want me to talk much. The case too place without my participation. It felt weird. The judge was basically saying that my crime was premeditated. He cast my soul as being criminal in nature. No one can say that I acted without realizing what I was doing. The judge kept coming and berating me and I couldn’t explain that I felt very little remorse in anything I did. He mentioned that moral principles was out of my reach. He talked about my implications on society. The judge concluded I was a monster and that he was primed to use the death penalty on me. There was no place in society for people like me. I stood up and said I never intended to kill the Arab and that the heat of the sun caused me to act. The court reconvened in the afternoon. My lawyer taught that I was an honest man, and a role model. I dreamt of my previous life, where I could enjoy the days of summer. My lawyer was convinced that I would have a favourable outcome. I didn’t have anything else to say to the judge.

I was placed in a different cell. At least, I can see the sky. I wondered how many men have managed to escape justice. I didn’t think I could escape the realm of justice in any way possible. In the past, my dad saw a man being publicly executed and it was indeed awful. Sometimes, I tried making up new laws in my head. I realized that every condemned man should be given a second chance. I wanted to invent a chemical where it could only kill people 9 of out 10 times. In execution, there would be no hitch. I hated that thought. I thought about dawn and the appeal. I always woke up early to watch sunrise. Now, I was waiting for the verdict on my case. If my appeal would be rejected, I would not be upset. Everyone had to die anyway. I refused to see the chaplain. It seemed unimportant whether I believed in God or not. The chaplain appeared by my side and started talking to me. I wasn’t interested in God and didn’t need help from above. I didn’t care whether it helped other men. He was upset by my reply. He said I was carrying a burden of a sin. To him, divine justice was everything. I told him I had little time left and I didn’t want to waste it on God. Although I could have dreamt of another life, it was immaterial at this moment. Then I snapped and yelled at him. He appeared so sure of everything, when all I thought was that he was like living like a dead man. Life was just plain absurd to me. The chaplain left and he was in tears. Late into the night, sirens blasted. Evening was a restful respite. I thought about my mother now. The world was completely indifferent to human existence.

What really counted was the possibility of escape, a leap to freedom, out of the implacable ritual, a wild run for it that would give whatever chance for hope there was. – Meursault

But everybody knows life isn’t worth living. Deep down I know perfectly well that it doesn’t much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other men and women will naturally go on living – and for thousands of years. In fact, nothing could be clearer. Whether it was now or twenty years from now, I would still be the one dying…Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter. – Meursault

Anyway, after that, remembering Marie meant nothing to me. I wasn’t interested in her dead. That seemed perfectly normal to me, since I understood very well that people would forget me when I was dead. They wouldn’t have anything more to do with me. – Meursault

The Chaplain: Have you no hope at all? And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains? My reply was ‘Yes.’ – Meursault

What did other people’s deaths or a mother’s love matter to me; what did God or the lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we’re all elected the same fate, me and billions of privileged people like him who also called themselves my brothers? – Meursault

For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate. – Meursault


How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry

I am sane, you are eccentric, he is mad.

Personality disorders can be divided into two kinds: 1) people who can’t get out of crisis; 2) people who have gotten out of them. This book will guide you such that you will avoid the two extremes. One should remain stable and flexible. This book also delves into the brain development and how our brain works. Spirit and Appetite pulls Reason. The brain consists of 3 separate structures. Your brain stem will respond to danger, and save your life. Our early childhood experiences shaped our brain matter. The right brain controls emotions and instincts. The left brain governs primary language, logic and reasoning. Left brain development is slower than the right one. By age 2, our brains will have distinct patterns already. People with severe childhood trauma find it difficult to adjust. Find patterns to be saner and happier. Outside psychotherapy, you can focus on these 4 areas: (1) self-observation; (2) relating to others; (3) stress; (4) personal narrative. Self-observation is about being accepting and non-judging of your emotions and thoughts. Increasing self-awareness is part of this. We all need nurturing relationships. Right type of stress creates positive stimulation. You may have hidden beliefs since young, even before you could speak.

Contrary to some people’s belief, romance is not necessarily a prerequisite for happiness; but some of our relationships do need to be nurturing ones: a nurturing relationship might be a therapist, a teacher, a lover, a friend, or our children – someone who not only listens but reads between the lines and perhaps even gently challenges us. – Philippa Perry

Self-Observation. This is not self-obsession. You are not taken over by obsessive feelings. It will make us more receptive to things in life. Do not be used by your feelings. Separate yourself from your feelings. Self-Observation is a form of re-parenting and re-learning. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. There are basically two types of people: ‘Internally Referenced People’ and ‘Externally Referenced People’. Think about where you lie on this spectrum. Practise the grounding exercise once in a while. We are not simply rational beings led by reason and intellect. Humans are largely unable to make decisions without their emotions. It is a fact of life. A lack of emotions will result in chaos. Even if you are unaware of how you are feeling, it will still have an influence on you. Re-examine your beliefs from time to time. Sometimes, emotions form for no apparent reasons and there is no need to analyse them. The left brain often makes up reason retrospectively. A feeling itself is not immoral, but actions can be immoral. Spend some time exploring your feelings. If you write down what happened in your day, researchers show people who keep diaries then to have better moods and fewer moments of anxiety. Writing is a form of expressing your emotions. Gratitude lists help improve life’s satisfaction. Writing is also a good way for self-observation. Write down your dreams and your response to them. Try stream-of-consciousness writing. Practice the art of focused attention. Research also show that people who meditate report increase in powers of concentration. Our head is always full of random chatter, some of which are hateful. Self-awareness will allow you to realize that so that you can move away from them. You can even practise self-awareness when running. In general, self-awareness improves relationships.

From birth to death, each of us needs others who seek us out, show interest in discovering who we are and help us feel safe. – Philippa Perry

Relating to Others. Just like birds, humans like to flock together. Other people are one of the best resources for being sane. The relationship between patient and psychotherapist can play a big part in the process of patient’s recovery. To experience genuine dialogue, you need to be open and vulnerable. Monologue can be disguised as dialogue too. Mentalization refers to ‘the ability to understand our inner experience, and from that, work out accurately the other person’s feelings’. You need to know what it is like to be understood before you can understand others. Our happiness has a lot to do with the relationships with others around us. Staying connected with others is vital. There is no ‘how to’ have good relationships. Thinking too much might cause you to try the other person as an object rather than an equal. Even if you act caring, you need to take the other party’s culture into consideration as well. Manners differ from culture to culture. In most relationships, we start off by engaging in small talk. Small talk is necessary to build a relationship. People talk about the weather not because they are interested in it, but you see whether you can respond and agree in a positive manner to the other party. Sometimes, misreading occurs. You might objectify the person or the relationship can become an ‘I’ & ‘I’ sort. Trust can work two ways as well. If you are too distrusting, you will be lonely. But if you are too trusting, you might get manipulated. The trick is to hold your views lightly and try to find out more about others. We can all learn from children. There is an exercise you can do to strengthen relationships with others. 1) Appreciations – Share what you appreciate about the other person. 2) New Information – Share new events and developments in your life and how these have impacted you. 3) Questions – Question all assumptions that you have of the group. 4) Complaints with recommendations for change – Do not be defensive when hearing it. Instead, listen first. A relationship is not about identifying right or wrong. It is about concern at how the other party feels. 5) Wishes, Hopes and Dreams – Get the encouragement you need by sharing them with others. Sharing vulnerabilities improves the relationship as well. Be mindful of the way you act in front of others. To resist urges, write them down in a diary instead, but not act on them. Feel superior over others is not a good substitute on companionship as well. You must not impose solitary confinement on yourself at all costs.

Stress. You need to keep your brain fit as well. The brain is like a muscle which requires adequate levels of stress to be in tip top condition. Learning must take place in a certain zone, where it cannot be too comfortable, nor too uncomfortable. This is the good-stress zone that people know about. In rats, a stimulating environment can overcome some of the effects of lead poisoning. Learning has the effect of boosting your immune system as well. Intellectual pursuits aren’t enough, physical activity is important too. Better blood circulation results in better learning. It does off-set some the mental decline that is associated with ageing. Exercise helps to combat depression. In a study conducted on nuns, Dr Snowden found that those who had university degrees were also more keen on learning and improving themselves. Keeping your brain active also helps combat dementia. Good stress fires up our creative juices. The thrill that comes with something helps produce a hormone known as dopamine. Learning a new skill will help you build more brain reserve. Do not feel vulnerable that you don’t know anything yet. Every new skill you learn will increase neural connections. Ideas don’t come from nothing. You need to try things, read and learn. ‘Feel the shame and learn something anyway’. There are different forms of learning. Learning gives us less time to be bored and under-stimulated. Draw your own circles of comfort. The trick is to expand your comfort zone in small steps. If you do not challenge your limits, your comfort zone will shrink back again.

A novel, or a book on philosophy, is going to use both sides of the brain: not only will you have feelings about what you read, but your mind will also get more of a work-out because you will make connections between what you are learning and what you already recognize. – Philippa Perry

The more we learn, the more we are able, by linking our areas of knowledge together, to come up with creative ideas…Thus the more we know, the more we can create. – Philippa Perry

What’s the Story? Re-write the narratives that define you. Our response to the world comes from our previous stories. These stories are influenced by other factors too, like mass media. Our minds are formed by narratives. Stories help to provide structure. They also play an integral part in writing and culture. It helps us think objectively. The use of imagination helps us escape reality for the moment. A story is also flexible. A lot of money will not change your emotional well-being. It is a challenge to create something that is true to yourself. Humans are primed to use stories. Do not watch too much bad television or you will be subtly influenced by the media. Learn to seek out optimistic stories instead. There are plenty of benefits for being optimistic. Start with a habit of looking for the positives in any situation. This requires much practice and won’t come naturally. Increase your tolerance for vulnerable feelings. Optimism means practising on the positive fall-out rather than the negative. If you keep visualizing something negative, it might backfire on you as it might influence the words/actions you use in reality. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is important to understand your past. If you keep job-hopping, the problem is more likely to lie with you than the other company. Some of your present actions are closely tied with how you behaved in the past. You can change your filters over time. The key thing to note is that you can set yourself free and not be burdened by your past. All of us need to navigate between rigidity and chaos and find the middle ground.

Conclusion and Exercises. By practising self-observation, nurturing relationships, seek good stress. The book gives some examples of self-observation.