Monthly Archives: May 2015

Je Suis Gay!

On Saturday just gone I spent a part of the afternoon following the coverage of the vote count for the approval of gay marriage in the Republic of Ireland. Happily they voted in favour by a margin of 62% to 38%, and became the first country to make this a matter of law by popular vote.

I don’t actually think  that people should ever be allowed to vote against  the idea of two consenting adults of the same sex having the same relationship choices as two consenting adults of differing sexes. Never-the-less that was the only constitutional choice in Ireland, and it was a big deal that the vote happened, and that a good majority supported the gay community. I found it very emotional to hear the stories of individuals, and to see how much it meant to gay folk to have this very practical and joyous sign of unity, which is now out there on public record.

The truth seems to be that most people, when push comes to shove, want other people to be able to live their lives in the way they choose. That is an incredibly uplifting thing to see in a country like Ireland where, until fairly recently, the Catholic church had a massive influence over what people thought about pretty much everything. Even though there is still a substantial amount of persecution of gay individuals and communities world wide, often stoked and emboldened by some version of “God doesn’t like it” theology, the Irish experience gives hope and lights a beacon for change.

It is easy to think that the obvious justness of the gay equality movement demonstrates that anybody in oppositition to it must be an intolerant, bigotted, anti-human human being. However, I know from personal experience how difficult it is to escape a certain mindset that is often fed to a person along with their mother’s milk. Trust me, if you are brought up with a holy book in which God says something is wrong and that, chances are, there are some kind of eternal punishments connected to ignoring that, it can take a long while, if ever, before you start looking at the issue objectively.

But happily these days I’m born again. And I do proudly proclaim: Je Suis Gay! I hope you are too.

David Fee


Life Is A Sprint, Not A Marathon

I’ve probably mentioned…I say probably, because I repeat myself, usually have an inkling that I have done so, but can’t quite remember where, or in what context…that I am shortly to run a 10 kilometre race, in celebration of my imminent fiftyness. I’m running it next Sunday in fact. It is likely to be the last race of it’s kind that I do. Although I do have a slight urge to try my one and only Triathlon to celebrate turning sixty. We’ll have to wait and see.

However, in my curious, but hopefully less than obsessive search for a way to stay fit in my middle and later ages, I have come to a slightly counter intuitive conclusion; when it comes to staying as young as is genetically and physically possible, life is a sprint, not a marathon.

Apparently, and please don’t quote me on this, we have two sorts of muscles, roughly speaking. Slow-twitch muscles and fast-twitch muscles. The former help us with endurance, and the latter help us to do things faster and more intensely. It may come as no surprise to know that the muscles that are in most danger as we get older are the fast twitch variety. They tend to deplete as our bodies age.

But that’s really only a part of the story. Because they don’t have to deplete. It’s just that as we get older we  tend to stop running fast or trying to lift things that take too much effort. The fact is (I have on good authority) that if we keep occasionally (every few days) having a few runs (or swims or cycles) for a short period of time, as fast as we can, then we can at the very least maintain our fast twitch muscles. And even cause them to get bigger.

Well, true or not true, it’s the reason, why, as I’ve probably also mentioned, I’m starting to run fast every now and then. It’s certainly making me feel younger.

So, yes, that’s me in the distance on the beach scaring the seagulls. Not Usain Bolt.

David Fee

If I Was King of the World

In the UK we’ve just had a country wide Election. We, in our divinely inspired wisdom, operate a first past the post system. So, in each region, only the person with the most votes gets to be king. Your party could have people coming second everywhere, but get no representation whatsoever. Which means that the party I supported, on this occasion, benefitted. They got 56 seats in our new parliment for 1.4 million votes. Two other parties got an equal amount of votes in one case, and double the amount in another, but only one seat each. So I don’t believe that our particular form of democracy is very democratic.

On the other hand, I’m not living in an ISIS heartland somewhere in Iraq or Syria. I’m not at risk of getting beheaded for simply being gay, or because I had the indecency to be raped, or because I wasn’t prepared to marry a 45 year old man at the tender age of 9, or because I believed in the wrong God or no God.

Perspective eh? Not sure whether to feel grateful, or guilty, or…to ask myself what I would do about it all if I was the king of the world.

If I was king of the world?

Well those are the kind of scenarios we dream up when we feel hopeless about everything. It’s an almost pointless exercise which can only ever make us feel the enormous distance between where we are and where we would like to be. Like buying a lottery ticket.

More important for sure is what I do today to make a difference. And I happen to think that the freedom I have, and the opportunities that exist, mean I have a duty to do something which makes the world a better place. That could be literally anything. And I suspect the simplest things we do are the best. As the Book I got brought up with says: Love (look after, care for) your neighbour like you love (look after, care for) yourself. But what does all that mean?

Well, I think that I, like you, will just have to use my imagination.


Touch Me

Apologies for missing a week. I’m just going to jump in off the back of what Mikel said in his last but one blog “Embodiment and Philosophy”. I like it when Mikel starts talking philosophy coz he has a way of saying things that seem to put a framework of coherent thought around stuff that I’m feeling but can’t express so clearly. And I’m pretty much in agreement with him really.  We are still very much physical beings and  everything that we can imagine, dream, relate, communicate, create, express, or hope….has to be connected to that reality.

Some people like to think that the physical side of being human is becoming of less value. A fella I respect remarked in his recent blog, words to the effect that “geography is dead”. His thought being that because of the internet, and our increasing interconnectedness, our physical location was pretty much irrelevant. I know what he means. But I disagree. Bodies are us because they are how we first establish connection. My most cherished sense is Touch, because it is the only one that  human beings cannot experience alone. Without a physical location, without geography, who needs a physical body. I am incredibly inspired by the fact that we can talk to each other over the miles, without any physical contact, and engage in something that we can genuinely call Relationship. But if there was no possibility of being able to sit in a room with you, look into your eyes, give you a hug, or a comforting pat on the back, or give you a kiss, or shake your hand, or simply just enjoy the way you look…without the possibility of any of that, I don’t think any of our more nebulous forms of communication and creation could even begin to exist or have meaning.

I think we (Human Beans) have made marvelous advances, very rapidly.  I am not a Luddite who wants to turn back the clock to some Golden Age where CyberSpace was a trillion light years away, a comforting fire kept the wolves at bay, and all the stars had first names and personalities. But I think that we could easily fritter away all our advances if we forget our bodies, and the physical spaces we live in, our neighbours, and the communities that we can actually walk through.

I don’t believe that will happen though. I’m encouraged to think that the next step forward for us humble homo sapiens will be to esblish better connections of physical community. I sense, with my prophetic cyber antenae, that there is a growing movement to keep it real and that people are starting to reassess and appreciate the importance of where they live. In fact, it’s fair to say that many people never forgot…if only because their reality involves a more direct and urgent need to simply survive. But for those of us who have been lucky enough to have the luxury of living our lives, to a large extent, online, I’m hopeful that we can start properly talking to each other again… eye to eye, in the street, on the tube.  Even in our homes!

I think communities that we choose for and remake, will be better than the ones that we had no choice about. Less insular this time, because we are all seeing a bigger world out there through the medium of our neon screens, our clicking mice, and our touchpad dreams. ‘Least that’s what I think when I’m in touch with my inner hippy.

Maybe our future does involve (I suspect that the scifi is a bit more possible than we might like to imagine)  being downloaded on to some kind of human hard drive, leaving our bodies behind like a husk. But not yet. I like to think we’ve still got a lot of use for them.


ps I’ve just released my first song in Dutch (as opposed to my usual offerings in Klingon). It’s a children’s lullaby called Droom Je Al   I’d be happy if you gave it a listen, and fell asleep while doing so.


Here’s something I’m pretty sure will be a global experience.

I also suspect there might be strong differences in how being introvert or extrovert is engaged within different cultures.

The simplest way to identify if you are basically introvert or extrovert is that introverts gain energy and a sense of balance from being on their own, extroverts gain energy and a sense of balance from engaging with other people.

The other way to express that dynamic is that introverts can fully enjoy socializing but it also uses up their energy and at some point they start to feel flat and tired and exhausted in social space.   Extroverts can enjoy being on their own but it also uses up their energy and at some point they start to feel flat and tired and exhausted being solitary and they need to go hang around with people to get their zoom back.

Now this particular model has its origins in observing individuals but the basic concept has some interpretive value for looking at cultures and societies as well.   Well I think it does.  (I might be the only who does.)

For instance, it seems to me that the public culture of Australia, Japan and the UK is introvert and the public culture of the US is extrovert.

Introvert individuals tend to put their focus and energy into their inner world and often don’t give away a lot of external energy unless something really engages their interest.  Introverts can think and reflect long after it might be appropriate to take some action.  Does that sound a bit like the UK or Australia’s public life?

Extrovert individuals tend to put their focus and energy OUT into the world, pumping out lots of talk and action and engagement of other people’s energy, creating and building and ACTING and not wanting or needing to do a lot of inner reflecting.  Does that sound a bit like the US?

Now it has to be said my little thought experiment has a number of problems,  such as the fact that I’ve posted at other times that my own country, Australia, in our public culture, really does not do much deep thinking, (Not without great leadership and effort.) but I have also said that we tend to keep our deepest places hidden and private, presenting a casual façade except at sporting events.

The kind of stories that are common motifs in a culture can tell us something as well.

For instance a very common narrative in US storytelling is the family thanksgiving weekend and how it can be a great, warm family connection experience or it can be one long and intense family argument where all the worst aspects of a family are put on display.   Now the point is that both those versions of thanksgiving weekend are extrovert – intense social expression, either warm and good or heated and conflicted – but both are extroverted dynamics.

I can’t think of a similar common story in Australia’s storytelling.  We have lots of BBQ’s but we don’t tell stories about them. We just have them and we keep things relaxed and easygoing and then we all go home, put our feet up in the quiet and watch some footy….or tennis….or horse racing….or car racing……..or…..

Now what would be really interesting would be if there was an American with a fair bit of experience of Australia who could blog this idea in reverse, I’d love to read that!

In truth all these kind of models or frameworks are not right or wrong, true or false, they are tools to think about what we see,  ways to play with and organise observations,  invitations to reflection and dialogue. When someone, me, makes such observations you are learning as much or more about me than you are about the things I am commenting on.  🙂

I seem to have said whatever it was I felt like saying.

Peace, Mikel.

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