Harold Bishop has a posse

The Rae St Institute > Blog archive > Suburbia, Mistrust, and The Darkness

To some extent what you get out of people is a result of what you expect out of them - the subtleties of communication between us are something we pick up on subconsciously. I have always believed that people can usually sense when they're not trusted, or when they are, and their behaviour will either opportunistically or altruistically fit what is expected of them, or what they can get away with.

I've always taken on an approach of default mistrust. A sort of paranoiac, distant and moody fucker's way of hiding from the fact that Ayn Rand was correct, but not right when Objectivism described humans as fundamentally selfish creatures. Mistrust as an Applied Materialist Philosophy. (No silent births, no weird 'therapy' with lie detectors, just dealing with the fact that people can't be trusted and moving on from that point.)

Sometimes no matter how rigidly you've set up a system of values and rules, life throws a series of events at you that bring the whole thing into question, or maybe just breeze through tearing bloody great holes in the fabric of it and roll on into the night without a second glance. Pre-analysing and (to a lesser extent) pre-determining everything is the core of logocentrism but at the same time is always doomed to failure.

This is because life is so random. Tiny twists and turns metamorphose into massive tangential changes. The Butterfly Effect is fractal; it occurs over time, linearly, on a micro scale as well as a distinct macro phenomenon. Random tiny events cascade and roll on to be massively destructive weeks later, or the catalyst for Great and Wonderful things. Expected, or unexpected. Unexpected is of course the most interesting, but expected then runs into the old Schrodinger/Heisenberg thing and what you expect tends to often rather blandly correlate with what you get. Which moves me full circle: Trusting people makes them more trustworthy. Placing no trust in people makes them less trustworthy. Placing trust in people, though, is a leap of faith.

Mistrusting your own expectations is just as important as mistrusting people who are an unknown quantity. The future as an unknown is so much more interesting than trying to pre-determine what will happen. But it's important to retain said expectations while mistrusting them.. being TOO open minded about the future can be a bad thing.

I guess I should at least touch on why I've gone on this weird circular rant. And why I haven't written anything on here for three and a half months. Well, I should, but I won't. Suffice it to say the last three months have had enough drama for at least two airport novels. I've met people who I've hated, reconciled with people I used to hate (and violated my fundamental mistrust rules), and met people who've got to me in ways that nobody else ever has. It's scary, and it's exciting, and it's confusing, and it's weird.

I'm an impersonal motherfucker at the best of times, but I'm being excessively vague here.. and this being a blog I'm probably violating some heavy duty Industry Charter by being so constantly evasive about my own life. But the Blog as Phenomenon has been waning a bit; people aren't spending as much time reading or writing blogs as seemed to be the case. Adam over at Hecho en Mexico has spotted this too, lately. In part maybe because it's been so appropriated (see The Zero Dollars (yet) Movement) and is no longer 'cool'. I get corporate clients coming to me maybe once a fortnight saying "I want my site to have a blog".. and they then make it clear they have absolutely no bloody idea what a blog actually is, they just want one because the word has some marketing-wanker-X-factor. Conversely, it's hard to tell whether it's purely a Blog phenomenon or some weird energy going around to do with this year. Everyone just seems to be really really busy.

And now I'm leaving the country. Round the world trip. Long distance train journeys across America, Blues clubs in Chicago, drinking beer in Boston, and foffing about in Europe pretending to be some sophisto but coming across as a sweary, boozy ratbag from The Colonies.

Albury, June 2005.
I took this photo thinking that in a
year's time, this price would look cheap.
At the time, petrol prices were already
'an issue'. Bad Expectations Mistrusted,
but made good...
Tangentially, maybe the excessively busy thing is some weird metaphysical phenomenon related to Peak Oil. The last gasp of the energy-intensive economy and all that. But more likely I'm just being weird and silly. As it happens, oil prices are why I'm travelling now... my airfare is $2500, and my fuel surcharges are $900. That balance isn't going to shift down. Oil ain't getting cheaper. Prices are going to keep going up, and if Iran really starts playing the card to the hilt, or war starts properly, then the whole thing's pretty much fucked.

At some point in the very near future the outer margins of the city are going to become no longer viable. Commuting 50km each way when petrol is $4/L just doesn't make sense. And unless the Transport and Liveability statement contains some solid proposals, and actually backs them up with sizeable piles of money, things are going to get very very messy.

Either way, I'm travelling now because I'm not expecting viable international travel in 5-10 years.

But like I said, never trust your expectations totally. Expect the worst, hope for the best.

And finally:
Wasp performs roach-brain-surgery to make zombie slave-roaches

... From the outside, the effect is surreal. The wasp does not paralyze the cockroach. In fact, the roach is able to lift up its front legs again and walk. But now it cannot move of its own accord. The wasp takes hold of one of the roach's antennae and leads it--in the words of Israeli scientists who study Ampulex--like a dog on a leash. ...

I can't explain exactly why, but I find the weird skill and knowledge involved in that on the part of the parasitic wasp to be indescribably cool.

5 Comments - [post a comment]

Rock the globe - Jellyfish, Thursday, April 27, 2006, 7:56 PM
Have a great time, Dr. I'm terribly jealous.

This is the fourth time lately that I've heard the whole 'Travel will be impossible due to fuel prices/the environment' argument and it scares the hell out of me. Although it does raise the possibility of us all taking future trips abroad on passenger liners- dining in the ballroom, strolling the upper deck after Noon, intrigue in the salon after dark, dancing an irish jig with the lower classes down below etc - does it not?
Dr Henrik Ziegler, Thursday, April 27, 2006, 9:48 PM
Ah yes, but of course it does. Maybe you're an optimist, and I'm a pessimist.

It also inverts the whole "In my day, we went to Inverloch for holidays. Now you bloody youngsters go to London." thing.

I look forward to sitting on the verandah of my wind/solar-powered organic farmhouse in an armchair circa 2040, smoking a pipe, in a dressing gown, talking to young relatives, prattling on about how "in my day, we had bloody great machines that could FLY, and they'd take 400 people to the other side of the world. Before the Zombie plague, and the atomic rabbit incident, that is.. We used to go to the Moon for the weekend. Now you youngsters just go to Frankston. I tell you, it's not what it used to be."

OK, so maybe I got carried away there....

But still..

Thanks for the well wishes.
anonymous, Sunday, May 7, 2006, 5:25 AM
have an awesome time! heres to them letting you back into the country...all this deliquency must lead to some sort of consequence yes?
Dr Henrik Ziegler, Sunday, May 14, 2006, 10:20 AM

Actually I'll be fine.. I'm fucking someone who works at Customs a fine, upstanding citizen, entirely beyond reproach.
cfsmtb, Monday, May 15, 2006, 3:05 AM
For some reason I don't feel the impulse to travel. Invaribly all the world visits me. Whether I want it to or not.