I am a poet? and I didn't even know it??
World Leaders and the Power of Speech
For a few centuries, charming, angry, relatable, mesmerizing, or larger-than-life leaders have come to power with bad intentions. They manipulate the people who find out later that it was all for personal gain. The thing is, it's a recent phenomenon. Before the rise of democracy, there may have been tyrants, but none that had to manipulate citizens to gain their power. There's Napoleon in the early 19th century, who took France from revolutionary turmoil to nearly taking over Europe by becoming a charismatic, trustworthy tyrant hellbent on raising French nationalism and seizing all kinds of power. Then you have the rise of fascism with Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and Imperial Japan, and arguably the rise of the Soviet Union, with controversial figures like Lenin and homicidal figures like Stalin. Of course, there have also been demagogue dictators in other areas of the world—Mao Zedong, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe, Sadam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Idi Amin, and Muammar al-Gaddafi.
Graz, Austria: Away from Vienna and the Alps
Austria is a country that attracts millions of tourists each year. For a country its size, it consistently attracts relatively high numbers of visitors who take in the Alps or make a possible city trip to the capital of Vienna or backdrop of the Sound of Music, Salzburg (Austrians have likely never seen this movie and are annoyed with its popularity). However, Austria has another hidden gem of a city outside the Alps and Vienna, nestled into the rolling green hills of Styria, Austria’s southwestern province. In 2018 I studied German in Graz, Austria’s second-largest city and capital of Styria. During this time, I traveled to 21 countries throughout Europe, but my heart remained in Graz. I’ll tell you what’s so special and enthralling about this Austrian city obscured by the crown jewel of Vienna to the north and the looming shadows of Alps in the west.
Notes on Mindset
Every little ache, scratch, nuisance, pop, click, nags at my conscience until I take notice, eventually shoving it to the rear of my mind with the help of external forces, until they persist later on, perpetuating a cycle of destructive analysis, paranoia, disillusion, and ennui. The constant voice behind my forehead and in front of my brain, like soft drizzling rain, tucked between and behind my two eyes, whispering that I will never find what I'm looking for, never know as much as the more knowledgeable, or experience as much as the experienced, never dream as big as the dreamers, never yearn as vigorously as the motivated, never reach as far as my conscious mind allows and my subconscious limits. Guilt for things I have done that have hurt people over pride for acts I've done to help, even guilt for actions that I could have taken, but never allowed myself to, equilibrium teetering between fleeting selfish desire and the persistent inability to maintain fire for the present moment. Constantly drifting in between what the moment has placed in front of me, and what is lodged in my head, I hover in the purgatory of concrete and abstract, visualizing but hardly actualizing, paying attention but never fully, talking without believing, extracting the goings on of my mind while leaving bits and pieces behind; or perhaps dragging the bits and the pieces out so they can rot, wither, erode under the weather. Clinging to hope of a fulfilling future. One full of love, attention to every detail, curiosity of the seen and unseen, discovery without a second of hesitation or doubt. Physical freedom is here, mental incapacitation gone now. Words freely float between mind and paper, thoughts obtain form, ennui becoming intuition as I learn and experience and search and grow. No, the individual is not king, today we are all so engrossed in something different, but we are compassionate. We have hope but are unsure of the means to achieve, like a requiem for a dream. The ease of today's life makes life hard. Think in evolutionary terms, no longer battling to survive or fighting an ideology, but basking in comfort and looking for a challenge. I am not saying life is easy for everyone, not in the slightest, but I am saying for those that life is 'easy' it is really not. Humanity today generally agrees that we are better off than at any point in history, but I tend to disagree or maybe I just don't know because none of us fully understand what we are doing to ourselves. We get our food at the grocery store instead of finding it and killing it, but that's old news; information is as easy to come by as the hair on your head, and we earn money so we can buy things and do things, and experience life better than the next person. But hardships being removed has its pros and cons. It has moved our focus onto other things entirely. I for one, have never had to worry about where food will come from the next day, or where I will sleep, or even feared for my life. In recent or ancient history that has not been the case with the majority. And maybe some fear that the removal of hardships will affect our ability to evolve. But maybe hardships have changed form. They have become more mental than ever. Maybe now we become a metaphysical society of interactions, less individual, more intertwined. I look at the difficulties of 1-5 and reconcile them with 6-9. Mental problems are the problems of the future. Get with it, or get lost in the past. Find food, find a place to sleep, find good people to spend life with, and then take on the next challenge. That is of the mind. You become either content or accept the mental obstacles and overcome them.