Ibane’s ramblings

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off in the world as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc is bound to be noticed.” S. Kierkegaard

Archive for Opinion

The Eternal Darkness in the North

lonelinessandthetreeI have been oftenly asked about how I handle the darkness up North, where I live, and the truth is that admitting that sometimes can be very hard and exhausting, there is something enigmatic about it that I will miss if some day I decide to leave these latitudes. I don’t really remember when was that I started to like that much the night and its darkness. I am aware of this sentiment is not original, but here the night gets a special dimension due to its length.

Although it might sounds weird, these days I really enjoy just taking my running shoes, my music and get out for running in this darkness. It is a feeling difficult to explain, hearing only your constant steps, and your breath trying to make its way in the cold air of the North, and then your mind somewhere else and realizing, that you are alone with the night. And then, I smile…

The Frenzy Race to Culture

godfatherihaveaproblemThese days seem to me that there is no time to taste and enjoy all the cultural offer that in an overwhelming avalanche of happenings, events, movies, books, theater plays…is offered to us. The other day I went to see the last movie of Woody Allen (I will review it in another post), and one of the , I went with, stated:”It is ok but I can’t wait for the next one”, I got surprised by this comment. We had barely come out from the dark room and we were talking about next one. Why this rush?  where is this anxiety coming from to consume art and culture compulsively?

Nowadays we have the most vast and extense access to culture and art than ever. Even if you have the privilige to have available the time to attend every possible event that you might be interested in you would need three or four lives. My first thoughts about this lead me to that art and culture have been infected also by the immediacy that we live in our daily life. Nowadays nothing is meant to last, everything is instant, you need to consume it and then you throw away.

Most of the times, I feel like fighting against this but this attitude places me immediately in the category of old-fashioned guy that thinks that any past time is better. And it is far from truth, I really enjoy what it is going on and I am lurking all the time new trends and trying to pay attention what it is out of there, but I refuse to enter in this frenzy race, some times even sounds like a competion, to attend events with no criteria. So I am investing my time discerning what is in my opinion worthy and what it is not. And if I find something that I have enjoyed, lately it is challenging (as I have posted it previously I think that mediocrity has gained a lot of space, visiting some Modern Art Musems some crap has literally taken the physical space), I will take my time to taste it and try to hold it as much as possible.

I support and I think that it is great advance that we can access to so much stuff, and therefore we have gained more freedom, however I also believe that also forces us to be more selective and to take care of the quality and be alert.

Consumer confusion

As a consumer I feel really confused with the labeling of the products. Nowadays going to the supermarket has become a real quest. If you consider the moral part, then you need to know the differences between organic, ecological and fair trade. In some cases, still not clear, and also this raises  a question inside my little brain. If by mistake or because the fair trade bananas have run out it happens that I buy ordinary bananas, what does it mean? since these bananas are not fair trade, does it mean that I am helping some evil corporation who is using children to collect them? is it not this something that my Government should take care of with my tax money. I mean, if every time that I do my grocery shopping I need to run a deep investigation about how this product has been produced to keep a calm conscience, then what for is my Government? You might think that I am stretching too much my point making responsible for my evil bananas to the Government, but I am sure you are getting my point.

If in your shopping you decide to be health-oriented, then it is better you start with your Masters in Chemistry, for example I have found lately that to buy a yogurt has become more complicated than solving a Rubik’s cube. The offer is so wide, with Bifudes, with A+, with A-, fat-free, without lactose, with some very healthy bacteria,organic…I just want a yogurt!!! Also the organic stuff puzzles me, because it usually is far more expensive, and if I decide to buy non-organic stuff, does it mean that I am contaminating my body with toxins? what are the real bad one? how in the past survived without this mess?

I am not sure but these days I feel that more and more the individuals are bearing more responsabilities for certain things that should be somewhere else, and especially others who is their job description is to take care of exactly what they are not doing now.

Tourist Army

It has been some time ago that I have decided to skip any tourist activity. I think that I have developed some allergy to this activity when I see two Japanese together with their digital cameras I get some reaction that makes me runaway and trying to find some deserted spot. This feeling probably is coming from when I am visiting my own country, Spain, which has been literally taken over by hordes of tourists from everywhere in the world. Being Spanish main income and economic activity, and especially now that our construction business is so down, I am sorry for my fellow countrymen but I will not consider throwing tons of tomatoes, running after the bulls and drinking late in the night using as excuse the name of some Virgin (I really wonder some times how Spaniards not have become extinct having so many Virgins around) as Research and Development activities.

As example there are cities like Barcelona, walking around Ramblas street is an experience that puzzles me. It is like a huge human river, all ages, nationalities,…like a powerful army ready to destroy any sign of authenticity. The only solution I have found it is just runaway to the other side of the city…with a sad feeling to have been defeated…and all ways come up to my mind the sentence of one colleague from a Nordic country that said:”Oh Barcelona is so nice city, we had such nice mojitos and pizza there!!”.

Assuming

Lately I have observed a worrying trend in our society and it is that no one wants to assume the responsibilities of their actions. As an example, in the country where I am from, the funny Spain, a group of property developers were asking help from the Spanish Government since the housing market is clearly in a backward movement and sales and profits are sinking. This same people, some years ago, when the housing market was so hot that they could sell a match box as an apartment with views to nowhere, I don’t recall them asking help from the Government how to share the disgustingly huge profits or how to cool down the market in order to let young people accessing to a decent living. So the message is, when things are beautiful and I am fine, everything for me, but when things get nasty then someone else please pay the bill.

This was only one example, you don’t need to go the housing market, you can find these examples in your daily life, friends, relatives, colleagues,…that they have done some action where they have screwed up and now they try that someone else pays the consequences. This phenomenon is for me another sign of this childishization (sorry for the word, it is a vulgar and literal translation from Spanish and the word I took it from my admired writer Javier Marias, infantilizacion) of the society.