Brainrotting: Follow Graham Styles on an epic motorcycle journey through the Americas.
Stop and search UK: your rights
Where can the search take place?
The PACE (POLICE AND CRIMINAL EVIDENCE ACT) power of stop and search may be used by the police in most public and some private places as follows:
- A place to which, at the time of the proposed stop and search, the public – or any section of the public – has access as a matter of legal right or because there is permission.
- Any place – other than a dwelling – to which people have ready access at the time of the proposed stop and search.
These categories are obviously very wide and can include private property, for example front gardens and car parks. Whether you have “ready access” might depend on whether a gate or door is locked, or whether a plot of land is fenced.
However, a constable may not search you or your vehicle if you are on land that is used for the purpose of a dwelling, without having reasonable grounds for believing that you do not reside in the dwelling and are not in the place with the express or implied permission of a person who does reside in the dwelling. There is clearly a heavy responsibility on the constable in such cases, since the reasonable grounds must be justified objectively. These provisions are intended to protect such people as window cleaners, post and milk deliverers and casual visitors.
What can the police search for?
The power to stop and search in PACE enables a constable to search for stolen or “prohibited articles” or knives, with the exclusion of short-bladed penknives. PACE defines two categories of prohibited article:
- An offensive weapon.
- An article made or adapted for use in connection with one of a list of offences including burglary, theft, taking a conveyance without authority (or being carried in one), obtaining property by deception and criminal damage.
Virtually any article could come within this second definition but there would have to be some evidence of the use of the article or the intention of the person making, adapting or carrying it, otherwise a constable would not have reasonable grounds to search.
The police also have power to stop and search for specific items under a number of other statutes. Most particularly, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 enables a constable to stop and search you or your vehicle for “controlled drugs”.
Stopping and detaining
A police officer who has reasonable grounds for suspicion can stop and detain you in order to conduct the search. Before doing the search they can ask you questions to confirm or eliminate that suspicion. If their suspicion is eliminated by the questioning or any other circumstances, you are free to leave and you must be told this. The police have no powers to stop you in order to find grounds that would justify a search.
Any police officer, whether or not in uniform, may search you personally, but usually only a constable in uniform may stop a vehicle. A police officer may detain you or your vehicle for a search, but the police officer must inform you as soon as the detention begins.
The detention may only last for as long as is reasonably required to permit a search to be carried out at the place of detention or nearby. You cannot be compelled to remain with your vehicle while the vehicle is searched, but you may wish to do so. Police officers have other powers to stop a vehicle, for example to check whether it is roadworthy or stolen, but not to search it.
If you are lawfully detained for a search, but no search in fact takes place (for instance because the grounds for suspicion are eliminated), the detention in the first place is not unlawful.
Statutory Undertakers – Other police forces
‘Statutory undertakers’ are bodies authorised by statute to run a railway, transport, dock or harbour undertaking, the larger of which employ their own police forces. For example, the British Transport Police, whose members have the powers of constables within a geographically limited area. Members of these forces have many of the same powers as members of regular police forces, subject to certain limitations. These are not the same as private security organisations that enjoy no special ‘policing’ powers.
A constable employed by a statutory undertaker may stop, detain and search any vehicle – but not a person – before it leaves a goods area on the premises of the statutory body. Such stops are carried out routinely and need not be justified by any suspicion nor recorded. There is no statutory limitation on what may be searched for and Code A does not apply to these searches.
The Ministry of Defence has its own police force, which has the same powers as civilian police officers.
A constable, who has carried out a search under any power to search without or before making an arrest, must make a written record on the spot, unless there are exceptional circumstances that make this wholly impracticable. If a record cannot be made at the time it must be made as soon as practicable afterwards, unless there are very good reasons for not being able to do so, for example, an inability to obtain information owing to large numbers involved.
Code A requires the search record to include your name, or if the police do not know your name, a description of you and a note of your ethnic origin. The record must identify the person making it and state the object of the search, the grounds for making it, the date, time and place, whether anything – and if so what – was found, and whether any – and if so what – injury or damage resulted from the search.
You should be given a copy of the record immediately. If this is not possible you can obtain a copy of the record for a period of up to twelve months (unless a record was exceptionally not made in the circumstances described above).
You are entitled to a record even if the police only detain you in order to do a search but do not perform a search because the grounds for the search are eliminated. Similarly you can have a record where the police request you, in a public place, to account for yourself. This does not apply to general conversations or in the exceptional circumstances described above.
Reasonable grounds for suspicion
Most stop and search powers can only be exercised where the constable is acting on “reasonable suspicion”. This includes the power to search a person for illegal drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the power to search for stolen or prohibited items under PACE. The meaning of “reasonable suspicion” is found in Code A.
There must be some basis for the officers belief, related to you personally, which can be considered and evaluated by an objective third person. Mere suspicion based on hunch or instinct might justify observation but cannot justify a search.
However, reasonable suspicion can sometimes exist without specific information or intelligence and on the basis of some level of generalisation stemming from the behaviour of a person. For example, if an officer encounters someone on the street at night obviously trying to hide something, this clearly constitutes conduct that might reasonably lead the officer to suspect that stolen or prohibited articles are being carried.
The power must be used fairly, responsibly, with respect for people being searched and without unlawful discrimination. This would include discrimination on grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origin. Accordingly, reasonable grounds for suspicion cannot be based solely on attitudes or prejudices towards certain types of people, such as membership of a group within which offenders of a certain kind are relatively common : for example, young football fans. Nor can it be based solely on your skin colour, age, hairstyle, mode of dress or previous convictions.
Incidents involving serious violence: section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
Under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, a police officer of the rank of inspector or above may issue a written authorisation for additional search powers on the basis of a reasonable belief that incidents involving serious violence may take place or that people are carrying dangerous instruments or offensive weapons in the area without good reason. The powers relate to pedestrians and vehicles in a specified locality, for a specified period, not exceeding 48 hours at a time.
Where an authorisation has been issued, any constable in uniform may stop and search any pedestrian or anything carried by the pedestrian, or any vehicle or anyone in it, for offensive weapons and dangerous instruments and may seize any such items which are found. In addition, the police may require you to remove any item which they reasonably believe you are wearing wholly or mainly for the purpose of concealing your identity. They can seize such items and any you were intending to wear wholly or mainly for that purpose. This clearly includes removal of head and face coverings. Where the covering is worn for religious reasons the police have to be sensitive about the removal and it should not be removed in public and, if possible, not in the presence of anyone of the opposite sex.
Very importantly, under these powers, the police do not need to have any suspicion that they will find the items for which they may search. Code A applies, except for the provisions on reasonable suspicion, where searches may take place and on the minimisation of embarrassment. It is unclear whether these powers to stop and search may be exercised on private premises. The stops and searches are subject to the same safeguards concerning provision of information, the nature of the search and record keeping as the powers under PACE. In addition, a pedestrian or driver of a vehicle who has been stopped is entitled to a written statement to that effect within twelve months of the search.
Failure to stop or to remove an item worn by you when required to do so under these new powers is a summary offence, with a maximum sentence of imprisonment of 51 weeks. In addition, it will also amount to an offence of obstructing a police officer in the exercise of his or her duty.
It was thought that powers to search anyone in a particular locality without any reasonable suspicion might be in breach of Article 8 or Article 5 of the Convention. A recent ruling by the High Court suggests that unless it can be shown the power has been exercised arbitrarily, no breach of the Convention will be found : see R (on the application of Gillan and another) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner and another).
Conducting the search Information to be given before search
Prior to conducting a search under any power to search before or without arrest, a constable must take reasonable steps to bring the following to your attention:
- If the constable is not in uniform, proof that he or she is a constable, which Code A says must be by showing a warrant card.
- Information on police powers to stop and search and the individuals rights in these circumstances.
- The constables name and police station.
- The object of the proposed search.
- The constables grounds for proposing to search.
- The availability of a search record and how to obtain one if one is not made at the time of the search.
T he search may not be commenced until the constable gives you such information, and the information must be given even if not requested.
In carrying out a search the police may request, but cannot force you to remove any clothing in public other than an outer coat, jacket or gloves. This is so even if the street is empty. Code A permits the police to put their hands in the pockets of outer clothing and feel around inside collars, socks and shoes if this is reasonably necessary in the circumstances. Similarly, subject to the restriction on removal of headgear, they can search your hair in public. A more thorough search, for instance involving the removal of a hat or shoes, or a strip search may take place in private, but it must be near to where you were stopped. Thus it could take place, for example, in a police van. No search involving exposure of intimate parts of the body may take place in a police van. Code A states that such searches must be by a police officer of your sex and must be in the absence of any one of the opposite sex, unless you specifically request otherwise.
The power to search a vehicle includes a power to search anything in or on it. If an unattended vehicle is searched, a notice to this effect must be left behind, inside the vehicle if reasonably practicable. The notice must state the police station to which the constable is attached, that any claims for compensation should be made to that police station, and that you are entitled to a copy of the search record if requested within twelve months of the search.
A constable may use reasonable force, if necessary, in the detention and conduct of the search, but force can only be necessary if you are first given the opportunity to cooperate and refuse.
The police may seize anything for which they have a power to search, for example, under PACE, stolen or prohibited items. However they may also seize any other item if it is not practicable to determine what it is at the time of search or if it is attached to an item which they do have power to seize.
Police powers to stop and search persons and vehicles (without arrest)
Part 1 of PACE empowers any constable acting with reasonable grounds for suspicion to stop, detain and search you or your vehicle, or anything in or on your vehicle for certain items. Any items found may be seized.
The provisions of PACE are supplemented by a Code of Practice on stop and search, Code A. The contents of Code A must be observed by the police, although the remedy for failure to observe is usually to make a police complaint – or if prosecuted to raise an objection in court – rather than to take legal proceedings against the police.
PACE also provides some safeguards for other well-used police powers of search.
The police do not have general powers, apart from those specified in a statute, to stop and search you. You should always ask a police officer to explain on what basis they are searching you. If no search power exists you should not be searched unless you are entering sports grounds or other premises and your consent to the search is a condition of entry.
- Extracts from the book by Bruce Lee -
Introduction by opa.
For many, Bruce Lee represents a male stereotype that many grew up idolising for his cool temper and honed martial arts ability. He was, and still is, a martial arts hero who inspired millions of people the world over.
What is little known about the man were his foundations in philosophy, spiritual understanding, and utter devotion to his art. At just 32, Lee had written the manual of an entirely new martial art, Jeet Kune Do, plus many other projects, and had begun to take the form of a potent and inspirational leader.
His life was prematurely cut short, but he left behind the beginnings of what would have been an unbelievable pool of knowledge and wisdom. The following lines are taken from his book “Striking Thoughts”; a collection of almost 1,000 angles and ideas covering a broad range of subjects including perception, knowledge, will, fear, love, adversity, goals, and so forth.
The interdependency of thought and existence.
If thought exists, I who think and the world around which I think also exist; the one exists but for the other, having no possible separation between them. Therefore, the world and I are both in active correlation; I am that which sees the world, and the world is that which is seen by me. I exist for the world, and the world exists for me. If there were no things to be seen, though about, and imagined, I would not see, think, or imagine. That is to say, I would not exist. One sure and primary and fundamental fact is the joint existence of a subject and its world. The one does not exist without the other. I acquire no understanding of myself except as I take account of objects, of the surroundings. I do not think unless I think of things – and there I find myself.
Life simply is.
Living exists when life lives through us – unhampered in its flow, for he who is living is not conscious of living and, in this, is the life it lives. Life lives; and in the living flow, no questions are raised. The reason is that life is a living now! So, in order to live life wholeheartedly, the answer is life simply is.
Life is sometimes unpleasant.
Life is an ever-flowing process and somewhere on the path some unpleasant things will pop up – it might leave a scar, but then life is flowing, and like running water, when it stops it grows stale. Go bravely on, my friend, because each experience teaches us a lesson. Keep blasting because life is such that sometimes it is nice and sometimes not.
Acceptance of death.
The round of summer and winter becomes a blessing the moment we give up the fantasy of eternal spring.
Talking and listening.
Most people can talk without listening. Very few can listen without talking. It is very rare that people can talk and listen.
The necessity for acting on our beliefs.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
The point is the doing.
The point is the doing of them rather than the accomplishments. There is no actor but the action – there is no experience but experience.
Do not expend power prematurely.
Wait in the calm strength of patience – he that is strong should guard it with tenderness. One need not fear lest strong will should not prevail; the main thing is not to expend ones powers prematurely in an attempt to obtain by force something for which the time is not ripe.
The qualities of mind.
To be one thing and not change is the climax of STILLNESS. To have nothing in one that resists is the climax of EMPTINESS. To remain detached from all outside things is the climax of FINENESS. To have in oneself no contraries is the climax of PURITY.
You are the commander of your mind.
Ive always been buffeted by circumstances because I thought of myself as a human being affected by outside conditioning. Now I realise that I am the power that commands the feeling of my mind from where the circumstances grow.
A limited mind cannot think freely.
The mind must be wide open in order to function freely in thought. For a limited mind cannot think freely.
Liberate yourself from concepts and see the truth with your own eyes.
It exists HERE and NOW; it requires only one thing to see it: openness, freedom – the freedom to be open and not tethered by any ideas, concepts, etc. We can go on rehearsing, analysing, attending lectures, etc., until we are all blue in the face; all this will not be of the slightest avail – it is only when we stop thinking and let go that we can start seeing, discovering. When our mind is tranquil, there will be an occasional pause to its feverish activities, there will be a let-go, and it is only then in the interval between two thoughts that a flash of UNDERSTANDING – understanding, which is not thought – can take place.
Concepts prevent feeling.
Don+t think, FEEL. Feeling exists here and now when not interrupted and dissected by ideas and concepts. The moment we stop analysing and let go, we can start really seeing, feeling – as one whole. There is no actor or the one being acted upon but the action itself. It stayed with my feeling then – and I felt it to the full without naming it that. At last the I and the feeling merged to become one. The I no longer feels the self to be separated from the you, and the whole idea of taking advantage of getting something out of something becomes absurd. To me, I have no other self (not to mention thought) than the oneness of things of which I was aware at that moment.
On developing the creative attitude.
To develop the creative attitude, analyse, focus on the wanted SOLUTION; seek out and fill your mind with the FACTS; write down IDEAS, both sensible and seemingly wild; let the facts and ideas SIMMER in your mind; evaluate, recheck, settle on the CREATIVE IDEAS.
Perception is the way of truth.
Not conviction, not method, but perception is the way of truth. It is a state of effortless awareness, pliable awareness, choiceless awareness.
To be a calm beholder.
Be a calm beholder of what is happening around you.
Lose the attitude.
Do not have an attitude, open yourself and focus yourself and express yourself. Reject external form that fails to express internal reality.
To be humble to superiors is duty; to equals is courtesy; to inferiors is nobleness; and to all, safety!
To be unconsciously conscious is the secret of Nirvana.
To be consciously unconscious or to be unconsciously conscious is the secret of Nirvana.
The act is so direct and immediate that intellection finds no room here to insert itself and cut it to pieces.
Seeing through ourselves.
We can see through others only when we see through ourselves.
There is fear and insecurity in pride
Pride emphasises the importance of the superiority of ones status in the eyes of others. There is fear and insecurity in pride, for when one aims at being highly esteemed, and having achieved such status, he is automatically involved in the fear of losing ones status. Then protection of his status appears to be his most important need, and this creates anxiety.
The will is spiritual.
The spiritual power of a mans will removes all obstacles.
The aim of the self-willed man is growth.
A self-willed man has no other aim than his own growth. He values only one thing, the mysterious power in himself which bids him to live and helps him to grow. His only living destiny is the silent, ungainsayable law in his own heart, which comfortable habits make it so hard to obey but which to the self-willed man is destiny and godhead.
Watch what you say.
Diseases enter by the mouth, misfortune issues from it.
Love and respect.
Without respect, love cannot go long.
On seeking the divine within.
Whether it is the godhead or not, I feel this great force, this untapped power, this dynamic something within me. This feeling defies description, and there is no experience with which this feeling may be compared. It is something like a strong emotion mixed with faith, but a lot stronger.
On the divisiveness of organised religion.
Religions divide people, just as styles divide people. If all the religions of the world were one, the world would be united in brotherhood. Some people fight with others because they believe in different religions. If, however, they only gave the matter a bit of thought, they would never fight such a foolish cause.
The spirit controls the body.
The active is controlled by the inactive – the active being form or matter, and the inactive being spirit or mind.
Absence in love.
Absence in love is like water upon a fire; a little quickens, but much extinguishes it.
The value of self education.
Self-education makes great men.
The teacher cannot be fixed in a routine.
A good teacher cannot be fixed in a routine. He must not impose his student to fit a lifeless pattern, a pre formulation.
The spiritually deficient search for external securities.
The poorer we are inwardly, the more we try to enrich ourselves outwardly.
There is no fixed teaching.
There is no fixed teaching. All I can provide is an appropriate medicine for a particular ailment. I present a possible direction, nothing more. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon; dont concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.
Enrich your understanding.
Enrich your understanding. Donâ€™t be in a hurry to “fix” things, rather, enrich your understanding in the ever going process of discovery and finding more the cause of your ignorance.
Under the heavens there is but one family.
Basically, human traits are the same everywhere. I donâ€™t want this to sound like “As Confucius say”, but under the sky, there is but one family.
To be able to do the things we want sometimes requires the performance of a few we dont.
Just as the maintaining of good health may require the taking of unpleasant medicine, so the condition of being able to do the things we enjoy often requires the performance of a few we dont. Remember my friend that it is not what happens that counts, it how you react to them. Your mental attitude determines what you make of it, either a stepping stone or a stumbling block.
Sorrow as educator.
Sorrows are our best educator. A man can see further through a tear than a telescope.
Anxiety is the gap between the NOW and the THEN. So if you are in the NOW, you cant be anxious, because your excitement flows immediately into ongoing spontaneous activity.
Empty heads have long tongues. Commonly they, whose tongue is their weapon, use their feet for defence.
Do not anticipate the outcome.
The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat.
The parable of the butcher.
There was a fine butcher who used the same knife year after year, yet it never lost its delicate, precise edge. After a lifetime of service, it was still as useful and effective as when it was new. When asked how he had preserved his knifes fine edge, he said “I follow the line of the hard bone. I do not attempt to cut it, nor to smash it, nor to contend with it in any way. That would only destroy my knife.” In daily living, one must follow the course of the barrier. To try to assail it will only destroy the instrument. And no matter what some people will say, barriers are not the experience of any one person, or any one group of persons. They are the universal experience.
Adapt like water.
Be like water; water has form and yet it has no form. It is the softest element on earth, yet it penetrates the hardest rock. It has no shape of its own, yet it can take any shape in which it is placed. In a cup, it becomes the cup. In a vase, it takes the shape of the vase and curls about the stems of flowers. Put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Please observe the adaptability of water. If you squeeze it fast, the water will flow out quickly. If you squeeze it slowly, it will come out slowly. Water may seem to move in contradiction, even uphill, but it chooses any way open to it so it may reach the sea. It may flow swiftly or it may flow slowly, but its purpose is inexorable, its destiny sure.
The disease of philosophy.
Philosophy is itself the disease for which it pretends to be the cure: the wise man does not pursue wisdom but lives his life, and therein precisely does his wisdom lie.
Philosophy often strives to convert reality into a problem.
In life, we accept naturally the full reality of what we see and feel in general with no shadow of a doubt. Philosophy, however, does not accept what life believes, and strives to convert reality into a problem. Like asking such questions as: “Is this chair that I see in front of me really there?” “Can it exist by itself?” thus, rather than making life easy for living by living in accord with life, philosophy complicates it by replacing the worlds tranquillity with the restlessness of problems.
Something for something.
There is only something for something, never something for nothing.
Your mind determines the effect.
Everyone – no matter who he is or where – must know from childhood that whatever occurs, does not happen if the occurrence isnâ€™t allowed to come into the mind. It is not what happens in our life that is important; itâ€™s how we react to what happens. Failure is what your mind acknowledges.
Defeat is a state of mind.
Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.
Make at least one definite move daily towards your goal.
One rarely reaches the goal in one step.
The control of our being is not unlike the combination of a safe. One turn of the knob rarely unlocks the safe. Each advance and retreat is a step toward oneâ€™s goal.
Faith maintains the soul.
Faith is the maintaining of the soul through which ones aims may be translated into their physical equivalent.
The price of success.
He who wants to succeed should learn how to fight, to strive, and to suffer. You can acquire a lot in life, if you are prepared to give up a lot to get it.
The nature of money.
Money of itself has no explicit nature. Money is what one makes of it.
The six diseases (of excessive self-consciousness)
- The desire for victory
-The desire to resort to technical cunning
- The desire to display all that he has learned
- The desire to overawe the enemy
- The desire to play a passive role
- The desire to get rid of whatever disease he is likely to be infected with
Art is the expression of the self.
Art is really the expression of the self. The more complicated and restricted the method, the less opportunity for the expression of oneâ€™s original sense of freedom.
Forget your mind and become one with the work.
If one has any idea at all of displaying his art well, he ceases to be a good artist, for his mind “stops” with every movement he goes through. In all things, it is important to forget you “mind” and become one with the work at hand.
Art requires creativity and freedom.
Art lives where absolute freedom is, because where it is not, there can be no creativity – art has no ego rigidity.
Artistic skill must radiate from the human soul.
Artistic skill, therefore, does not mean artistic perfection. It remains rather a continuing medium or reflection of some step in psychic development, the perfection of which is not to be found in shape and form, but must radiate from the human soul. The artistic activity does not consist in art itself as such; it penetrates into a deeper world in which all art forms of things inwardly experienced flow together, and in which the harmony of the soul and cosmos in the nothing has its outcome in reality.
Art reflects the soul.
It is the art of the soul at peace – like moonlight mirrored in a deep lake.
The four postulates of effective art.
Adequate form in art requires:
- Individuality rather than imitative repetitiousness.
- Brevity rather than bulkiness.
- Clarity rather than obscurity.
- Simplicity of expression rather than complexity of form.
Be â€˜born afreshâ€™.
Drop and dissolve inner blockage. A conditioned mind is never a free mind. Wipe away and dissolve all its experience and be “born afresh”.
Keep your mind unconditioned by past conditioning.
The more and more youre aware, the more and more you shed from day to day what you have learned so that your mind is always fresh, uncontaminated by previous conditioning.
Remove all psychic obstruction.
In order to display its native activities to the utmost limit, remove all psychic obstruction.
Empty your mind and expand your life.
When there is a particle of dust in your eye, the world becomes a narrow path – have your mind completely free from objects – and how much this life expands.
The limitation of having a set way of doing things.
Use no way as way. When there is a “Way”, therein lays the limitation. And where there is a circumference, it traps. And if it traps, it rots. And if it rots, it is lifeless.
Float in emptiness without obstruction.
The knowledge and skill you have achieved are after all meant to be “forgotten” so you can float in emptiness without obstruction and comfortably.
Remove all psychic hindrances.
One can never be the master of his technical knowledge unless all his psychic hindrances are removed and he can keep the mind in a state of emptiness (fluidity), even purged of whatever technique he has obtained – with no conscious effort.
To be detached is to be free of positive and negative.
To Desire is an attachment. “To desire not to desire” is an attachment. To be unattached then means to be free at once from both statements, positive and negative. In other words, this is simultaneously both “yes” and “no”, which is intellectually absurd.
The art of detachment.
Give up thinking as though not giving it up. Observe the techniques as though not observing.
Wu-hsin is making oneself empty.
I must give up my desire to force, direct, strangle the world outside of me and within me in order to be completely open, responsible, aware, alive. This is often called “to make oneself empty” – which does not mean something negative, but means the openness to receive.
Zen has no metaphysics.
Zen wishes to escape the pointless endeavour to trap life in a metaphysical net instead of simply living it.
Zen reveals that there is no problem – and no solution.
Zen reveals that there is nowhere for man to go out of this world; no tavern in which he can overcome anxiety; no jail in which he can expiate guilt. So instead of telling us what the problem is, Zen insists that the whole problem is just our failure to realize that there is no problem. And, of course, there is no solution, either.
Real meditation puts you in the Now.
Zen is not “attained” by mirror-wiping meditation, but by “self-forgetfulness in the existential present of life here and now”. We do not “Come”, we “are”. Donâ€™t strive to become, but BE.
Freedom is self-knowledge.
Freedom lies in understanding yourself from moment to moment.
The second-hand artist (the conformer).
The second hand artist, in blindly following the teacher, accepts his pattern and, as a result, his action and, above all his thinking becomes mechanical, his responses automatic according to his pattern – and thereby he ceases to expand or grow. He is a mechanical robot, a product of thousands of years of propaganda and conditioning. The second-hand artist seldom learns to depend upon himself for expression; instead, he faithfully follows an imposed pattern. So what is nurtured is the dependent mind rather that independent inquiry.
The Mirror Person.
A mirror-person is one who always wants to know how he looks to others. Instead of being critical, he projects the criticism and feels criticized and feels onstage.
The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone.
We tend to have more faith in what we imitate rather than what we originate. We often feel that we cannot derive a sense of absolute certitude from anything which has its root in us. The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone; we are not alone when we imitate.
Do not look for a successful personality to duplicate.
When I look around, I always learn something and that is to be always yourself. And to express yourself. To have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it, which seems to me to be the prevalent thing happening in Hong Kong. Like they always copy mannerisms, but theyâ€™ll never start from the very root of his being, which is “how can I be me?”
The need to be real.
In life, what more can you ask for but to be real? To fulfil ones potential instead of wasting energy on actualising ones dissipating image, which is not real, and the expenditure of oneâ€™s vital energy. We have great work ahead of us, and it needs devotion and much, much, energy.
Perform your own mission in life.
If you look within yourself and are sure that you have done right, what do you have to fear or worry about? You are required only to perform your own mission in life without any thoughts of aggressiveness or competition.
Most of us see ourselves as instruments in the hands of others.
There is a powerful craving in most of us to see ourselves as instruments in hands of others and thus free ourselves from the responsibility for acts which are prompted by our own questionable inclinations and impulses. Both the strong and the weak grasp at this alibi. The latter hide their malevolence under the virtue of obedience: the strong, too claim absolution by proclaiming themselves the chosen instrument of a higher power – God, History, fate, nation, or humanity.
On the light within.
No matter what, you must let your inner light guide you out of the darkness.
The statement of the self-actualized.
I am what I am here and now.
The self-actualized seek freedom and purity.
Those who distrust the life giving force within them, or who have none, are driven to compensate through such substitutes as money. When a man has confidence in himself, when all he wants is to live out his destiny in freedom and purity, he comes to regard all those vastly overestimated and far too costly possessions as mere accessories, pleasant perhaps to have and make use of, but never essential.
The sacred journey is taken alone.
Each man must seek out realization himself. No master can give it to him.
The medicine for suffering is within.
The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it – until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, consuming myself.
The continuous peeling of self.
My life it seems is a life of self – examination: a peeling of myself, bit by bit, day by day. More and more itâ€™s becoming simple to me as a human being as more and more I search within myself. And more and more the questions become listed. And more and more I see clearly. It is not a question of developing what has already been developed but of recovering what has already been left behind. Though this has been with us, in us, all the time and has never been lost or distorted except for our misguided manipulation of it.
Learning to truly see.
We possess a pair of eyes, but most of us do not really see in the true sense of the word. I must say that when the eyes are used externally to observe the inevitable faults of other beings, most of us are rather quick with readily-equipped condemnation. True seeing, in the sense of choiceless awareness, leads to new discovery, and discovery is one of the means to uncovering our potentiality.
Self-knowledge is true mastery.
True mastery transcends any particular art. It stems from mastery of oneself – the ability, developed through self-discipline to be calm, fully aware, and completely in tune with oneself and the surroundings. Then, and only then, can a person know himself.
The importance of self-expression.
Self-expression is important. Only the self-sufficient stand alone – most people follow the crowd and imitate.
Express the truth of your vision.
One must not merely copy but try to convey the significance of what you see.
The nature of growth.
Growth is the constant discovery and understanding in ones process of living.
The need to progress.
Do not hold to what you have. It is like a ferry boat for people who want to get across waters. One you have got across, never bear it on your back. You should head forward.
Growth is constant.
Man is constantly growing, and when he is bound by a set pattern of ideas, or “way” of doing things, thatâ€™s when he stops growing.
Profound simplicity = common sense.
A profound simplicity of common sense; the straightest, most logical way.
The semi-actualized talk to impress.
False teachers of the way of life use flowery words.
The etymology of yang.
The yang (whiteness) principle represents positiveness, firmness, masculinity, substantiality, brightness, day, heat, etc.
The etymology of yin.
The yin (blackness) principle represents negativeness, softness, femininity, insubstantiality, darkness, night, coldness, and so forth.
The basic theory underlying yin-yang.
The basic theory in yin-yang is that nothing is so permanent as never to change. In other words, when activity (yang) reaches the extreme point, it becomes inactivity, and inactivity forms yin. Extreme inactivity will, in the same way, return to become activity, which is yang. Activity then is the cause of inactivity, and vice versa. This system of complementary increasing and decreasing of the principle is continuous. From this, one can see the two forces (yin-yang), although they appear to conflict, in reality are mutually interdependent; instead of opposition, there is cooperation and alternation.
Yin-yang and chatterboxes.
The more volubly one talks, the quicker will come his exhaustion.
Do not cling to partiality.
Do not cling to partiality, however fantastic – see things from TOTALITY.
There is no effective segment of a totality.
There is no such thing as an effective segment of a totality, how can one respond to the totality with a partial, fragmentary pattern? In the greater the lesser is, but in the lesser the greater is not.
The Tao and emptiness.
The assimilation of the Tao has its foundation in “meekness”, “tenderness”, poverty of spirit, and quietness. These are expressed sometimes by one word, “emptiness”. An aggressive spirit will be brought low, pride leads to a fall, violence will end in defeat, all of which come from misunderstanding the real use of Tao.
Truth in nature.
There is an element of truth in everything. Nature teaches, although it can sometimes be misleading.
The man who seeks truth lives in what is.
The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what the truth is, has not style at all. He lives only in what is.
The realization of truth.
Truth comes when your mind and heart are purged of all sense of striving and you are no longer trying to become somebody; it is there when the mind is very quiet, listening timelessly to everything.
Truth cannot be limited.
Truth cannot be structured or confined. When there is no centre and no circumference, then there is truth.
First rate philosophers practice truth in order to understand it.
According to Tao, a first rate philosopher practices truth in order to understand it. Krishnamurti pointed out that in order to see truth, one cannot be fragmented, but must see the totality.
There is a pathless road.
Truth is a pathless road. A road that is not a road. It is total expression that has no before or after. How can there be methods and systems by which to arrive at something that is living? To that which is static, fixed, dead, there can be a way, definite path, but not to that which is living.
A finger pointing to the moon.
These few paragraphs at best are merely “a finger pointing towards the moon”. Please do not take the finger to be the moon or fix your intense gaze on the finger and thus miss all the beautiful sight of heaven. After all, the usefulness of the finger is in pointing away from itself to the light that illuminates finger and all.
The end is the beginning.
The beginning and the end thus turn into next door neighbours. On the musical scale, one may start with the lowest pitch and gradually ascend to the highest. When the highest is reached one finds it located next to the lowest. To know, but be as though not knowing, is the height of wisdom.
Bruce Lees Striking Thoughts is available through Waterstones UK.
THE ART OF MANIPULATION
Extracts from the article by A C Grayling
The vast dispersion of information on the Internet has in recent years sparked a huge rise in awareness of government malpractice worldwide. The intelligent person of today is simply more informed than his pre-net equivalent; though the sheer volume of information which we sift through causes some to wonder whether it is necessarily a beneficial thing.
Manipulation is a broad topic, with endless opportunities to be blunt when careful consideration should be taken in mind. In my humble opinion, to state that all governments manipulate their people is probably true: after all, government from its original Latin roots means “control of the mind”. This may initially seem overstated, but only because of the negative connotation associated with manipulation.
There are thousands of examples for the positive and the negative. The school child is manipulated to work by his or her fear of punishment; yet potentially benefits in life from the opportunities open to them from better grades. Parental actions performed with the best of intent for the child are often thought of as manipulative to the adolescent.
The action itself remains in neutrality – the issue therefore is not to somehow stamp out its existence as though it is the cause of our problems, but to become more astute as to where the positive meets the negative, and that is very difficult.
Is the perceived negative in the initial action of manipulation or the result thereafter? Is it justified if used for the greater good?
The following extracts from the article:
“The Art of Manipulation” by British Philosopher A C Grayling
Describe someone as Machiavellian and in that word you describe him as devious, crafty, scheming – and above all, manipulative. By this we mean he achieves his ends by manoeuvring people in ways they do not quite understand, at least until it is too late. He does it by blandishments and flattery, or by tricks and sleight of hand; sometimes he does it by playing different interests off against each other, by pulling secret strings, by concealing his true aims with artifice and ruse, and always by misleading those whom he is getting to do what he wants. These were among the techniques that Niccolo Machiavelli advised a prince to adopt in ruling a populace.
That last point, about misleading people, is what makes manipulation so objectionable: it implies that the manipulator has acted against the will or the interests of those he battens upon. His victims feel, if they discover what he has done, that they have been subjects of a stratagem, which they would quite likely not have agreed to if they had realised what was happening. No one likes to be outwitted ; still less does anyone like to be tricked. To describe a given act as involving manipulation implies that both these things have been done to someone.
In one way it might seem odd that manipulation should have a pejorative connotation. After all, we often try to persuade, influence and cajole others. And we are used to being subjected to persuasion and efforts at influence from the culture around us: advertisers are perpetually after our attention, sales men after our money, and politicians after our votes, all of them employing as much inducement and enticement as they can muster. Neither they nor we are above employing whatever rhetorical arts we know, and even bribes of various kinds. Why is manipulation not regarded as just another repertoire of activities, central as they are to the continual negotiation and jockeying that is social life?
The chief factor common to all manipulators is skill at penetrating the psychology of others. A needle sharp awareness of the weakness and desires of those they practice upon is the manipulators key weapon. Everyone has weaknesses, ranging from fears and insecurities to love for another person or an ambition so burning that it makes them vulnerable.
Even hope can be a weakness that manipulators exploit. Stephen Jay Gould, better known for his biological insights, once astutely remarked that “when people learn no tools judgement and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown”.
The art of politics – some with justice call it a black art – almost always involves some manipulation. Some of it is overt, as when party whips secure their own sides votes by direct threats to expose mistresses or concealed homosexual proclivities. But much of it is covert, a long game played by means of tweaking and pulling many threads. Politics is like herding cats, with so many conflicting urgencies and so many different interest groups on the warpath about their own special concerns that the politicianâ€™s life is very like being the conductor of an orchestra in a mad house. Since rational discussion is not likely to get far in such a place, astute manipulation rises high on the list of practical options.
When a statesman is described as great because he was able to persuade his country, through oratory or example, to adopt a certain line of action, his guidance of affairs is not described as manipulation but as influence at least, and more likely as leadership. All successful manipulators could just as accurately be described as leaders, or as influencers and guides, because by definition they have led others along a path chosen by themselves.
The word “manipulate” has a fascinating etymology. It derives obviously enough from the Latin for hand (manus) and “to fill” (plere) and occurs in that ancient tongue as manipulus to mean, literally, a handful (and figuratively, sheaf of wheat). In French manipule is a pharmacistâ€™s measure – a handful of medicinal powder, for example. Manipulation in that same language meant a certain method of mining ore, by pick axe and sweat. Its first recorded use in English with the negative connotation of underhandedly manoeuvring others without their knowledge and against their will is very recent: it dates only from the 1820s.
In our own way the palm for manipulative skill goes to the Hollywood film industry. Any run-of-the-mill movie in any genre, whether romantic or “family”, animated, horror or adventure, can make its audience laugh, jump, or weep at the press of a hackneyed button. We all recognise the tropes that achieve this, and yet they still work; we go to the cinema not to glower at the screen on guard against being manipulated, but precisely in order to be manipulated. It is a generally benign and often cathartic experience, and to be welcomed accordingly; but it is manipulation nevertheless, even if it is one of the very few cases where we are unlikely to think it disagreeable.
It is obvious why less benign forms of manipulation matter. They typically involve unfairness, and come too close for comfort to lying and cheating. They use people as pawns in the achievement of the manipulators aims, in violation of the great ethical principle enunciated by Immanuel Kant, that other people should always be treated as ends in themselves, never as means to further ends.
Manipulation is par excellence the using of people as means. If we do not mind being persuaded, it is because we are aware of what is happening. Discussion, argument, even bribery, which changes our minds or re-routes our actions, is a far cry from a process in which we find ourselves doing something or taking a position that we did not realise that we were being steered into by activities we did not fully understand.
The skills of psychological penetration that the manipulator relies on can be combated only by two things: having no weaknesses, which is a human impossibility though it was recommended by the Stoics of ancient times, or by being watchful and sceptical, which is far more achievable. Count your spoons when the snake-oil salesmen visit: thats the motto for the forefront of our minds when the advertisers, politicians, preachers – and talent-show judges – are at work among us.
Taken from The Independent on Sunday 15 Nov 2009
Introduction by Opa
A SNAKE DEVOURS ITS TAIL: THE MEETING OF SPRITUAL AND SCEINTIFIC RESEARCH
Featuring an extract from ‘The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu’ by Wong Kiew Kit
It is a strange experience. Some of us live our lives and never question the nature and substance of that which calls us to live within it every day. Our eyes see the same hands and feet from the same perspective that we somehow came to understand was our own, yet no one can specify exactly when they became aware of themselves. We seem to look at each other for assurance that what is going on is real, forever seeking superficial methods of sensory control; or control of the lack thereof.
We are not told, but tell ourselves, that the coincidental, serendipitous, and completely unexplainable occurrences that take place around the world every day are merely a part of our sober lives as workers and family members. There is no truth that we can all appreciate together that will end our worries as we watch TV. There is you, your direction, and the unfathomable that lies beyond.
For thousands of years in our recorded history, the human unit, in a minute number of cases, has attempted a voyage towards directly experiencing the energy of the Cosmos. We have called them many names, but the only thing that separated and separates them from their contemporaries was a will to experience directly, not abstractly, what lay behind the veil of reality.
Siddhārtha Gautama, or who some call Gautama Buddha, was so perturbed by the illness and suffering of age that we saw when venturing away from the sanctuary of his family palace, that he made it his mission in life to understand the universe and achieve enlightenment.
For me, there are no pre selected souls or reincarnated Buddhas. There is experience, choice, will, and result. By this, with positive focus and correct attitude, anyone can obtain a direct understanding of the nature of reality and the Cosmos beyond.
We need to stop thinking that the great people that have graced this planet are somehow unreachably different to us, expecting that someone will solve our problems for us. In oneness, we are the Cosmos; we are a part of every one of the supposedly different people who have made great positive change. We all know that we can achieve vast amounts more than we do, hence our non participation in actually doing something to help the people and planet around us, even on the most basic levels.
Ask yourself whether you ignore a feeling in your heart to do something truly exciting. Is there a dream of yourself that you pass away an unachievable?
Then ask yourself this: In a worldwide structure of control, which has proven its evil time after time after time, warred, tortured, and brutalised for thousands of years, do you not think that it may be advantageous for its economic stability and social foundations that its people do not question the nature of reality? When you walk through a city and see the addicted and inflicted, ask yourself what you are taking to be real. Raise your eyes from the street in front of you and the same heavenly bodies that watched over the greatest souls to walk our earth now watch over you. Lower them again, and you will see that the streets in front of you are only a glimpse in the short cycle of another civilisation, which the Sun or Moon has watched come into and depart from existence countless numbers of times. Your sensible and supposedly rational thoughts connect you to the streets, houses, and shops around you, if fact they are derived directly from the minds that designed and built them, and the goings on therein. Your heart connects you to the world beyond that; our planet, its contemporaries, and its great surrounding expanse. Ask yourself what it real.
The following is taken from ‘The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu’ by Wong Kiew Kit.
‘The wisdom found in Buddhist teaching is awe inspiring. Buddhist wisdom, originally acquired through meditation where different aspects of reality are directly perceived, is recorded in the huge body of Buddhist scriptures collectively known as the Tripitaka, which is the largest collection of religious works in the world, consisting of over 7000 volumes. It comprises three sections: sutras, which are the teachings of the Buddha in his own words; vinaya, which is a collection of monastic rules and related stories; and sastras, which are the treaties and commentaries written by Buddhist masters.
If you imagine that these extensive volumes of Buddhist scriptures involve persuasion and moralization, teaching people to be pious or religious, you are mistaken. The scriptures explain, if you can understand its classical language and profound concepts, ideas that physicists, cosmologists, psychologists and other scientists and philosophers are currently investigating, such as time and space, matter and energy, subatomic activities, the multi dimensional universe, shadow matter, and different levels of consciousness. This is not surprising if we remember that Buddhism, like science and philosophy, investigates what reality is. It is beyond the scope of this book to describe in detail the Buddhist wisdom regarding these aspects of reality, but we shall address ourselves to the question of what ultimate reality is, and its related question of why the so-called external objective world is an illusion, as such an understanding is relevant to the highest attainment of Shaolin Kung Fu.
What is Ultimate Reality?
The following theme line from the well-known but little understood Heart Sutra, one of the most important and beautiful works in Buddhism, serves as a good introduction to cosmic reality:
Form is emptiness; and emptiness is form.
Many people will find this line puzzling. They are equally bewildered by basic Buddhist teachings such as that the phenomenal world is an illusion, and ultimate reality is tranquil and undifferentiated. Interestingly, modern science provides a clear explanation for this Buddhist teaching.
In our ordinary consciousness, an opponent is real. If he or she attacks you and if you fail to defend yourself there is no illusion about your being hit. But suppose we look at the same situation from the very high level of consciousness of an enlightened being like a Buddha or Bodhisattva who sees reality as it ultimately is and not as it is grossly modified by a set of conditions. You may not have reached the level of a Bodhisattva, but here is where modern science can help us. Suppose you were able to look through a gigantic, super-powerful electron microscope. What would you see? Your opponent would have disappeared. What you thought was the form of a person would turn out to be almost emptiness; you would see patterns of subatomic particles as far apart as specks of stars in outer space. If you looked at yourself you would be equally astonished; your body too would have disappeared!
If the microscope were more powerful, like the wisdom-eye of a Bodhisattva, you would realise that the so called subatomic particles are actually not particles; they are concentrations of energy without any definite boundary. You may be reminded of Neil Bohr’s Principle of Complimentarity – that an electron can be a wave or a particle.
But more importantly, you would suddenly be awakened to the great cosmic truth that as there is no boundary separating one subatomic particle from another, there is also no boundary separating you from your opponent or anything else. In other words, the whole universe is actually a continuous spread of energy or consciousness, without any differentiation. You would be awakened to the greatest truth of all – the discovery that great masters of all religions and mystical disciplines have made – that the physical body in which, owing to your ignorance, you have imprisoned yourself, is an illusion, and that your personal mind is actually the Universal Mind. This feeling of liberation gives us tremendous calm and blessedness. The ecstatic exclamations of great masters such as ‘I dissolve myself in the infinite grace of God’, ‘There is no difference in the cosmos and me’, and ‘My own nature is the Buddha nature’ become meaningful.
This is Zen, which in this content means a glimpse of cosmic reality in its transcendental aspect, and which is called wu in Chinese and kensho or satori in Japanese, and is best translated as ‘awakening’ in English. An awakening is not enlightenment; it is nevertheless a confirmation that you are on the way to enlightenment if you persist in your cultivation. Awakening is a cosmic glimpse, whereas enlightenment is a total, direct becoming of the Cosmos, where all dualism disappears, where there is no difference between the knower and the known. When you attain enlightenment, you are not extinguished, as is sometimes misconceived; you become – are – the Cosmos. What endeavour can be grander, more noble than cultivating this attainment? Enlightenment is called by various names in Buddhism, such as nirvana, bodhi, Buddhahood and Zen.
Zen, therefore, has a few related meanings. It can mean both a cosmic glimpse and the total cosmic realisation. It can also refer to meditation, the essential way to both the cosmic glimpse and the cosmic realisation. It is also a shortened form for Zen Buddhism, the school of Buddhism especially devoted to the attainment of Zen in all its three meanings.
After you have come out of Zen, you may ask whether your opponent, you or anything else is real. The Zen answer is yes and no, either yes or no, neither yes nor no. If you think this is crazy, be assured that sensible, serious scientists today would give similar answers if you ask them whether a virtual particle, or a ‘real’ particle like a photon or electron, or even a tangible object like a cat, or a huge heavenly body like the moon, really exists. After the scientific revolution brought about by such great scientists as Einstein, Max Planck, Neil Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, modern scientists have accepted, many centuries after the Buddha, that our so-called objective external world is actually a creation of the mind. The American physicist, Professor David Mermim, has seriously declared that ‘we now know the moon is demonstrably not there when nobody looks’.
When Buddhist masters say that the external world is an illusion, they do not mean that it is imaginary, but that it is only relatively, not absolutely, real. A bacterium inside your opponent, or a sentient being from another realm of existence, will see that person very differently from the way you do, because you, the bacterium and the extraterrestrial being experience him or her under different conditions. Even if you slightly change your conditions, such as wearing a pair of glasses with strange lenses, the same opponent will appear differently. But if you, the bacterium and the extraterrestrial being were enlightened, or at least awakened, you would all see things the same way, for all would have perceived ultimate reality, i.e. cosmic reality without any conditions.
What is ultimate reality like? Masters of all religions and mystical disciplines have insisted that it is inexplicable. This does not mean that they do not want to tell people, or that they themselves did not know. But if you want to know what it is, you have to experience it yourself, just as in Shaolin Kung Fu, if you want to know what internal force is you have to acquire it to find out. In a simpler, more prosaic example, if you want to know the taste of a mango, you have to taste it; no amount of description can exactly convey its taste to you. Yet, to help people, to give them some, albeit imperfect idea of ultimate reality, Buddhist masters have described it as tranquil, undifferentiated and void.
The word ‘void’ may be misleading. Void or emptiness, known as sunyata in Sanskrit and kong in Chinese, which is the hallmark of Mayahana teaching, does not mean absolute nothingness; it means devoid or emptied of phenomena or appearances. Hence, phenomena like houses, cars, trees, the sky, the moon and stars are appearances; they are not ultimately real. Their appearances depend on a set of conditions, such as the range of light the observer is able to see, and the way each person’s consciousness as well as the collective consciousness of the group are accustomed to operate. If conditions change, the appearances change. For example, instead of viewing the sky in our ordinary light, a Harvard astronomer viewed it using ultra-violet rays; he found not one but three suns and the moon almost disappeared.’
PHILOSOPHIES BEHIND THE ALBUM
- FIRST WORDS -
‘First Words’ was written to provide a down to earth perspective of the immediate environment that a person living in the U.K. or any other capitalist nation sees around them. We chose to record the ambient sound of a shopping centre to give an idea of the droves of absent minded pedestrians that while making our way through every day, we inevitably become a part of. The poem was written to try to capture the sense of soullessness that surrounds these places, the words describing the stark contrast between the vast potential of the human individual, and his or her acceptance from social conditioning that they can be no more than a worker and family member, their lives playing out the same script that the millions around them rehearse every day. First Words seeks to create a sober base for the listener to begin the album.
All words by Chess.
- BLURRED VISION -
‘Blurred Vision’ is a short spoken word poem by Radiance, a singer, producer, and lyricist affiliated with Opanarise. The words are set over the original introduction to the following track, ‘Elements’. She describes the state of the youth of today, their problems with alcohol and the devastating effects of gun crime.
All vocals by Radiance.
- ELEMENTS -
While making the album, we became aware that it needed a strong track after its introduction. After months of different versions and ideas, we came up with ‘Elements’, the idea being to span the four elements of the Alchemical world (Air, Water, Fire, Earth), and somehow incorporate them into a piece of music. The short poems introduce each element i.e. ‘let me breathe’ for air, and set the scene for the oncoming passage. We sifted through hours of vocal snippets from various sources to find suitable material, which was relative and did not sound out of place. From here we built upon the layers to create a sense of impact when each element begins to play. The message behind the track is to realise that whatever the stage that we find ourselves socially or politically, we will always be under the guidance of the most simple aspects of creation.
The track is mostly sample based with composed strings and singing on the breaks by Rosie Corlett. (myspace.com/rosiecorlett)
All words by Chess.
- ASCENSION -
‘Ascension’ was first written in 2004, and lay untouched for the best part of four years. It was intended to be used as a background soundscape, but the inclusion of a clip from Dr Jacob Bronowski’s ‘The Ascent of Man’ brought enough to the track for it to be a suitable breather between ‘Elements’ and ‘Survival’. Dr Bronowski is speaking on the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp where he and various members of his family were imprisoned during World War II. The track aims to give an image of the stupidity of our race, and the simple teachings that if upheld, would by default change the way we coexist with nature and our own kind. The words I wrote attempt to capture a contemplation of the expanse of a lifetime, while standing in a place of no hope surrounded by endless potential for positive change.
The track is half composed half sampled, singing and words by Chess.
- SURVIVAL -
‘Survival’ was the last track to be written for the album. The inspiration for its content came after we made the chorus (sampled from Fantan Mojah) and began to shape the main instrumental. We felt that it was important to have a lyrically strong track at the beginning of the album, and so Survival came to be. I had experienced a series of dreams of huge waves crashing through cities and shorelines, which became the influence for the first verse of the track. I began this verse with the image of a young mother and son wading through a flooded London to the safety of an office block inhabited by groups of survivors. There, her and son are given treatment and as she begins to fall asleep, a singer’s voice echoes down the corridors; it chants ‘Time……….Comes around’ (the idea being that he is another survivor and is saying that this has happened before and will happen again). As she lies next to a warm fire with her son in her arms, she thinks back to when the events leading up to this point began, and so begins verse two.
I wanted to create an apocalyptic recount of a future of political and natural upheaval. Economic recession, increasing military activity in the Middle East, war, and a series of natural disasters (Please get in touch if you wish to play this at your wedding), leading to an eventual unification of world powers. The idea is that by attempting to meddle with the most basic framework of our planet, the organisations responsible bring about their own destruction by their creator, however in the midst of utter turmoil, there is hope as extreme situations can both separate and unify people, as is the case with the mother and child and her fellow survivors. The track ends with the poem ‘Everybody Sang’, by the famous war poet Siegfried Sassoon, who is commenting on the armistice that brought the end of World War One, which he fought in.
Below is an illustration on the front cover of ‘The Week’ published two months after the album was first released.
- PREPARATION -
‘Preparation’ was intended to be a gateway track as you pass through the initial stages of the album. We decided to leave the track free of any lyrics or speech samples so that the listener can relax between listening to ‘Survival’ and ‘Avarice’. We wanted to create an atmosphere that kept the darker mood of the first section of the album without being too heavy. Preparation was written with the thought of a need to prepare ourselves for the future in mind. It is entirely composed bar the drum loop.
- AVARICE -
‘Avarice’ was another track that was produced as an instrumental long before becoming a complete track. Avarice in short means greed, something which has provided huge problems for us humans on the minor and major scales. The track features Jahson (myspace.com/jahsonthescientist), Chess, and Kanetik on vocals, with Kanetik singing on the intro. We wanted to do something different with the composition of the track, so we forgot about the standard verse, chorus, verse outlay and instead recorded a conversation of us talking about Civil Liberties in the UK (for more information on Civil Liberties see the Database State article), this gives the listener the space to think between verses and keeps the track aired.
The word ‘avarice’ means ‘extreme greed for wealth’. The levels of profiteering that we see in the developed world seem to make no sense. Could it be that these huge sums of money are just the strings that hold up the financial structure? Surely if there were ceiling in place to limit money made by major businesses it would release huge amounts of pressure on their customers and workforce? Idealistic it may seem, but the idea for people to keep their gold in secure buildings controlled by other people in exchange for pieces of paper must have seemed ludicrous at the time.
Avarice tries to explore the mentality of government and business, with an emphasis on unity and positive action towards change.
Mostly composed, singing by Kanetik and Chess, Rhymes by Jahson, Chess, and Kanetik, with Chess on final chorus.
- ATHENOR -
‘Athenor’ is a track about Alchemy. Please do your own research into this subject as my description of its meaning on the track is solely my personal understanding of its teachings. It is not my place to describe it now, as it is an extremely powerful practice and has no sympathy for irresponsibility.
The speech sample at the beginning of the track is German philosopher Karl Jung.
Singing by Rosie Corlett (myspace.com/rosiecorlett) and Chess. Rhymes by Chess.
- TRUTH -
‘Truth’ features a recorded snippet of the famous playwright Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. He was suffering from throat cancer at the time but managed to write and recite a brilliant piece on his disgust with the invasion of Iraq, and the various hypocrisies that followed. The aim of this skit was to bring up the point that we must not get carried away with searching for one truth that us as a group will be able to appreciate. The real truth is that which is within you, which guides and protects you and provides only you with the benefits that you require to live. Through this understanding we rise together as accomplished individuals, rather than groups who expect ‘god to do them a favour’. The last of the lines of his passage “sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost” are intended to relate to the content of the next track, Dragon.
The Piano is played, hums are by Chess, and main guitar is sampled.
- DRAGON -
‘Dragon’ came about by accident. We were trawling through drums loops and samples when suddenly two parts came together perfectly, seeming to fit over what was left better than anything we had heard previously. The instrumental seemed to possess a potency that could be listened to for hours (you know you have made a good beat if you can leave it playing and not get bored!). From there, I decided that this would be a good base for an emotionally heavy lyric, and started to write. 192 bars later I was finally done! (Most verses are 16 or 32 bars)
The content of the verse is based around a fantasy relationship. A young man has been left alone in the deepest stages of love and sits in his room remembering the experiences in the late hours of the night. As he begins to drift away, time slips from him and he starts to see images of his lady through the course of history. She becomes an Egyptian Pharaoh, Roman Empress, Italian and eventually English Princess, the world swirling behind her as she walks through the vision before him. He retells the story of Saint George, the patron Saint of England, who slew a terrifying Dragon on the edge of the Middle East with a lance through the chest before it could devour the Princess of a nearby village.
As he falls deeper into unconsciousness, he drifts into his past life as a local blacksmith – shaping the rolling hills of England and eventually recreating her body, its form suddenly turning to fragile wood and burning with the final cast into the furnace that would have perfected his creation. Struck with disbelief, he turns from his workshop and drifts above the sprawling city of Rome, where he comes to rest only to see his love dancing with a lumbering host of Renaissance Princes, their drunken gloating eyes transfixed as she moves through the room. As the panorama changes, looming Doric pillars become sun beaten Sumerian Carvings and he listens to her Mother from a window as she pressures her Daughter to bear children with a suitable husband before bringing disgrace to the family.
Time suddenly retreats as he falls deeper into sleep and him and his fellow friends frantically journey into the Caucasus Mountains to evade tidal surges during a great deluge hundreds of years before. As he watches the thundering rains from the shelter of a cave high up in the rocks, pools of collected water become the outstretched Lochs of Scotland and he is once again in Britain. Seated on the banks of the Loch he sees her monochrome photograph drifting on the gloom of the surface of the water, and he is himself with her again, in this instance during her greatest time of need, the room surrounding them a latticework of resonating interwoven lines.
The surface of the water changes to a deep turquoise blue, sistered with underwater reefs and a plane swoops by overhead, carrying her to an inaccessible island on another side of the world. As he turns from the shoreline, a small knife appears in his hand and he curses his simple upbringings, walking back to the village where it all began, and into his workshop. There, lying on the anvil amongst the horseshoes which he left to cool centuries before is a circular pendant with a blood red crystal eye. As he holds the object to the light of the furnace, he begins to see that the roots of his own existence are not quite as simple as he, and those closest to him may have originally thought, their own callous expectations causing them to take into their own hands the metaphorical lance which, as with the story of Saint George, was thrust into the heart of the Dragon to keep it from devouring the treasured Princess of the nearby village. The pendant glows with the lineage of the past Kings of England, their images eventually fading into his own awestruck face.
Dragon is not intended to be a love story, but more of an appreciation of how much such a profound experience, if understood, can teach you about the nature of our existence and the dynamic of our true selves.
The lyrics for ‘Dragon’ were recorded on Saint George’s day by complete coincidence.
The track is mainly based around a sample, with composed strings and small instrumental touches, and all rhymes by Chess. Daniel ‘Sawdust’ Saunders plays the solo guitar over the final section.
- FLIGHT -
Flight was intended to bring the listener back down to earth after the long journey of Dragon. We recorded the ambience of a harbour side building site, the newly exposed earth exciting a group of hungry gulls overhead. The spoken sample is taken from ‘The Corporation’, an excellent documentary covering the wrongdoings of major businesses worldwide. The basis of the track is to highlight the point that there will be a terminal ending to the way we are living in the present day, if we do not take drastic measures both personally and on a worldwide scale to better the situation.
- MIGRATION SUN -
‘Migration Sun’ was again an older track which was first conceived in 2006. It is intended to bring in the first seasonal change of the album, where the heavier atmospheres of the previous tracks become lighter and more elative in sound. The introduction features a spoken sample of Credo Mutwa, one of the few remaining traditional South African Sanusis or Sangomas, who is pleading for us to wake up to the world we live in. The inspiration for the lyrics came from long conversations about moving away from the UK to live elsewhere in the world, after coming to the conclusion that there are simply better places to be regardless of their crime rates or economic stabilities. The UK provides many services to its citizens which in comparison with less developed countries make it on paper one of the best places in the world to live in. Although there should be no reason to leave this island (the fourth most populated in the world) something just does not feel right. Could it be the looming grey skies? The seven months of perishing cold followed by warm rain? The UK is empty in her heart. Her politics are sterile and over meticulous, her people lacking in substance. She boasts some of the highest levels of alcohol abuse, and twice the rates of heart disease than her similarly populated neighbour, France. Something pulls at the heart, constantly whispering ‘Go’, although the words are drowned by the incessant chants of drunken revellers who stumble through her rain washed streets. The world awaits. Migration Sun, for the soul of one.
Singing by Kanetik and Chess, rhymes by Kanetik and Chess. Track is half sampled half composed.
- DOORS -
‘Doors’ is about the transition from darkness to light. It represents the change in mood that the previous track; ‘Migration Sun’ brings to the album, seeking to encapsulate the metamorphosis into one fluid poem.
Words by Chess.
- THE TREE -
‘The Tree’ is another older track which goes back to 2006. It took several forms before vocals were finally added in 2008. ‘The Tree’ helps to bring in the seasonal change of the album, lifting away from the dark climate of the poem ‘Doors’ and helping to convey the positivity of its words.
It is a track about spiritual progression and understanding. The lyric is a metaphor for the Sepirothic Tree, a system of spiritual teaching associated with the Kabbalah or mystical side of Judaism. Its 22 stages map the makeup of the human consciousness, steadily climbing into higher realms of awareness in the same way that a tree climbs for sunlight and oxygen. At this stage of the album all that matters is the soul. The political and social commentary of the previously darker stage of the album has faded away, revealing the mapping of intuition and the roots of all things.
The chorus; ‘and so we walk into the sky’ sums up the lyric and hopes to galvanise the track’s message.
Rhymes by Chess, singing by Kanetik and Chess.
- PROGRESSION -
‘Progression’ is a piece completely composed by Kanetik. We felt it carried a sublime and reflective atmosphere and so chose to use it to clear the air as the listener progresses into the lighter area of the album.
- LAWS OF SCIENCE -
‘Laws of Science’ arrives at a point of the album where we hope the listener is at their most serene. The vocal samples are researcher David Icke explaining that the laws of science are not as concrete as we may think. There are only rules understood by science, which are constantly being reworked, and understood by people because they trust science. The introduction of quantum theory has finally met its tail with the spiritual understanding that has been calmly recited to us for thousands of years.
The arrogance of the modern scientist has attempted to plant posts and markers on that which has no form. They want to measure the unmeasureable, and capture what does not exist. Our science only can explain the densest levels of existence, ignorant of the other energies measurable around us, and vast amounts more which are not. The five sense human consciousness manifests its physical surroundings from only 4% of the energy around us, condensing from the unknown as a torch picks up objects in the darkness.
Laws of Science attempts to be a track that conjures deep reflection in complete tranquillity.
Half sampled, half composed.
- WHY -
‘Why’ is a speech sample taken from the film ‘What The Bleep Do We Know?’ a fantastic documentary covering the nature of reality and quantum theory. It is intended to come across as a glimpse of the reality of what we are doing as humans; from an angle without philosophical debate. Are we not more than simply units of labour in vast economic systems? Of course we are, only the real issue is not that we are part of these systems, but wilfully ignorant of the fact that we know we can change our lives, sacrificing the power of our minds for the immediate pleasures of the day to day working life.
- BETTER DAY -
‘Better Day’ marks the end of the serene mid section of the album, and the descent once more into darkness. The poem in the middle was originally written as a standalone piece, and then incorporated into the track as the two moods complimented each other well. Better Day is a track about feeling truly positive in your heart, no matter what the situation that you face.
‘Better Day’ is entirely composed, poem by Chess.
- NINE -
‘Nine’ was the first track we made. It goes back to 2004, and was the accumulation of a lot of experimentation and thought. We are both huge Hip Hop fans, although the changes in its sound over the last 15 years have caused us to search amongst other genres for production that bears the signature sound of the mid nineties.
Advances in music technology have helped various genres enormously. Reel to reel magnetic recordings are now crystal clear 24-bit wave files. The issue with rap music is that technology does not aid it; in fact it detracts from it. Use the metaphor of a boxing match on TV: you want to see the action, but not in too much detail otherwise it becomes disturbing.
Good rap music is founded on simplicity. Intricate detail begins to separate the various parts of the track until it lacks cohesion. To achieve the honest and wholesome sounds of mid nineties rap music, producers need to do their research and source the relative equipment used at the time. Please do not listen to talking heads who tell you about using analogue emulators etc. It doesn’t sound the same.
Conscious and intelligent lyrics are one of the most positive aspects of good rap music. It brings the genre out of its stereotype, and helps us to realise its potential as the most descriptive genre in music.
Nine was an effort to incorporate these values into a track. We avoided a chorus, and I wrote until I felt that the verse was finished. The resulting feedback gave us huge confidence to continue with a full project. Nine was re recorded in 2009 (The year of the Ox) with better production and some added instrumentation.
The speech sample is Bruce Lee speaking during an interview. The track is entirely composed.
Singing by Kumaree, rhymes by Chess with some interjections by Kanetik. Guitar by Kanetik.
- PERSIST -
‘Persist’ is a track about strength and persistence. The speech samples that begin and end the track are Mohandas Gandhi, the hugely influential and inspiring Indian thinker. The lyric covers the need for strength in this world, and the huge obstacles that many of us face on the way to our realising our dreams.
It is only with tooth and nail dedication that we can materialize what is most important to us, and this track seeks to be a celebration of this. Again, the track was conceived as a basic structure in 2007, and then completely revised for the album.
The instrumental that accompanies the main verse is half sampled half composed, with the final ending mostly composed.
All singing, words and rhymes by Chess.
- GETTING IN TOUCH -
‘Getting in Touch’ is probably the one track on the album which directly appeals to the Hip Hop connoisseur. It is probably the most rap-like sounding track on the album. The speech sample at the beginning of the album is taken from the film ‘Network’; as the main character pleads with his audience to wake up and begin looking at themselves. ‘Getting in Touch’ is in essence similar to the other tracks on the album, but presented in a slightly different format. We intended to make something that carried our message in the shape of a verse-chorus-verse style track (a formula that has been a standard in rap music for twenty years).
Rahma Ali, a very talented vocalist and producer (myspace.com/rahmaali) sings the chorus, with Kanetik on the first and third verses, and Chess on the second and last.
Getting in Touch bridges the gap between the more neutral atmospheres of the previous tracks and the intensity of ‘Cracks in the Paradigm’.
Chorus by Rahma Ali (myspace.com/rahmaali)
Singing by Kanetik and Chess
Verse 1& 3 by Kanetik
Verse 2& 4 by Chess
The track is mostly sampled, with some composition in the break, in which Sudanese singer Emmanuel Jal is sampled.
- PEACE -
‘Peace’ is taken from the manga series ‘Patlabor’. Two colleagues stand on a harbour’s edge and discuss the definition of what we know as peace. One of the reasons that we included this skit in the album is that it is important to think about the words which we use in our everyday conversations and read in our various publications. Words are not inherently powerful; they are amalgamations of sound, punctuated by volume and emphasis. A word gains energy by being associated with an event, action, object, or any other thing. As the particular entity gains energy, so does the word associated with it. With this in mind, it is an interesting thought to wonder whether two overlapping words such as ‘peace’ and ‘piece’ could have an infringing effect on each other. Why should the word for one of the most highly sought after states of social, political, and ultimately human affairs be tinted with another word whose definition is that of being a smaller part of a whole? Surely the word ‘piece’ bears a negative effect on the word ‘peace’ in our minds? It would surely help the process of understanding and changing the situation in and around us if the English language had a word for peace whose phonetic spelling was entirely exclusive, it is rather important after all.
- CHANGE -
‘Change’ arrives at a stage of the album where light is slowly regressing back into darkness. A psychic medium speaks of her experiences, and the importance of her understanding that what is inside will be balanced on the outside. The track prepares the listener for the longest and most intense stage of the album.
Mostly composed, with some small samples.
- CRACKS IN THE PARADIGM -
‘Cracks in the Paradigm’ was intended to be the one track on the album which directly confronted the threat of one world government and the function creep of security and policing measures that we are seeing in the world today.
The break in the middle of the track features speech samples from George Bush Senior, ex Prime Minister Tony Blair, and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown, all speaking on the subject of ‘The New World Order’. Of course anyone mentioning this outside of politics is a tin foil hat wearing nutcase who probably believes in UFOs, so where does it leave us when we hear three of the most influential people in the world talking about it? It must be a different New World Order, or so we hope.
Jordan Maxwell, a researcher of forty years, is sampled at the beginning and the end of the track. He outlines the treat that is posed by the institutions of world government, reminding us of the huge importance of positive action against the direction of negative development, and the need for us humans to wake up and realise that we are being led by profoundly evil people.
Iron Braydz (myspace.com/gmabraydz) features on the second verse, with a blistering lyric that summons biblical images of desert storms consuming hoards of marauding troops.
‘Cracks in the Paradigm’ is the album’s look into tyrannical rule, working with the idea that if we can honestly look at the situation that we are in, we will gain enough understanding of it to be able to change ourselves and thus the situation itself.
Singing by Chess, rhymes by Iron Braydz and Chess. The track is mostly sampled, with some composed parts.
- MEDIATATION -
‘Meditation’, as mentioned on the explanation of ‘The Map’ is a reworked version of ‘Black Paradigm’ which we decided not to use for the album. Instead we agreed that it would work as a short instrumental skit to clear the air after the long haul of ‘Cracks in the Paradigm’. The track aims to create an impression of the energies surrounding us, slowly calming into the meditative tranquillity of still water.
The track is based around two samples, with composed strings and sounds, and background vocals by Chess.
- THE MAP -
We wanted to create something completely different at this stage of the album. We had been experimenting with atmospheric sounds to create differing moods during the transitions between tracks, and some of these atmospheres had inspired spoken word lyrics and speech snippets. With this in mind, I decided to write ‘The Map’ as an ad lib, with the simple image of an old warrior meditating by the seashore as its beginning.
The origins of the story were explained in another track called ‘Back Paradigm’ which did not make it onto the album (we decided that it was too sample-heavy to use, but track 25: ‘Meditation’ is a reworked version of its instrumental)
The story begins during the aftermath of the battle of Tanamine, a fictional mountain citadel renowned for its mineral deposits. Our character awakens from unconsciousness as the dawn sun rises over a snow cloaked battlefield. As his vision clarifies, he witnesses the decimated remains of his section strewn across the blood soaked ground. Soldiers moan for help as the more fortunate desperately edge back towards their battered lines. The towering silhouette of Tanamine bears over the mottled plains below, its high stone walled defences bathed in the glow of the rising dawn.
He stumbles to his feet, and slowly begins to edge towards the smouldering buildings. As he progresses, memories of the battle begin to creep into his mind. He recalls the long siege of the city, finally ending with the calling in of the ‘Black Paradigm’, a small unit of highly trained shock troops who covertly enter cities and kill all within. Their impact had been shocking. He entered Tanamine and was met with a scene of utter destruction. Still regaining his balance from his prior unconsciousness, he numbly observes the smouldering houses and slain inhabitants, making his way to the city’s temple, its exterior heavily scarred but still intact. Below is the painting ‘Temple’ by Leon Botha, almost an exact image of my vision of the temple of Tanamine.
Inside the temple he encounters the last remaining survivor, an old prophet, who lies critically injured at the far end of the darkened interior. Here, his soul is questioned and his intentions judged. After having decided that our character is deeply remorseful of his army’s actions he is handed the map as the prophet passes away. He returns to his section, the map hidden, and the story does not re ignite until decades later.
The story begins decades after the long saga of Tanamine. Our character has returned, and has lived a prosperous and responsible life. The society in which he lives operates around a highly controlled system, where external influences are strictly illegal, with punishment of death for the most serious offences.
After Tanamine, our character buried the map given to him by the dying prophet at the foot of a willow tree located in the dense forests surrounding his home city. The only others who were aware of the map’s existence bar our character were a handful of military Pages; helpers who maintained weaponry and equipment etc, who were strictly loyal to their masters, even over the rule of their government.
After having been informed that the security forces of the city had become aware of his possession of the map, he bolts back from the shoreline where he had been meditating towards the city as the sun sets and darkness falls around him. On entering the city, he is aware that capture would mean certain death. He creeps through the gloomy streets and eventually reaches his home. He frantically gathers vital equipment together and hides the mementos of his time in the war of Tanamine. It is at this point the he meets the guide. (Needless to say, bumping into an eight foot samurai apparition with the face of a wolf would probably spark a question!)
“Who are you?”
“I am a keeper of dreams, a guide who has walked from the end of where your map leads”
And so the journey begins.
This track is entirely about persevering through hard times and finding the strength to continue on. We are all fragile. An egg may observe another egg as having a shell five times thicker than its own, giving the impression of invincibility to the weaker, but the reality is that both will break in exactly the same way if dropped. Sometimes people experience immensely traumatic things, and find themselves in an area of their minds where their consciousness has condensed from a vast array of choices, to a handful of terminally important decisions; the light hearted options of before seeming completely irrelevant in the circumstances.
It is in these places that we see the root of ourselves and decide whether to continue on. If we make the choice to advance with positivity and perseverance in mind, one can become aware of a guiding energy which operates within us all, however in a huge amount of people it seems to work as a very subtle signal to calmly usher us through life. It is pretentious to digress any further, important events require important decisions.
Our character had lived with the trauma from what he had seen in Tanamine for many years until the threat of death came to visit him. One of the psychological symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an interest in information which questions authority. The passing on of the map after the battle of Tanamine signifies the gaining of hidden benefits that these events can have for some of us. His burying of the map signifies his receipt of a guiding energy, but his ignorance of it until most needed.
The map is the awareness of a path in life; the guide is the manifested inner strength to walk that path.
The city and its strict laws represent the inner boundaries that we set ourselves, its pinnacle, the warden (head of security) being the character of fear.
Thus our character’s inner strength (the guide) has defeated fear (the warden).
As they embark on their journey, they must first escape the confines of the city. This is representative of the awakening to the world we live in. The city represents the womb like state of a conditioned mind, its borders strongly defined and guarded by the two balancing forces of the ego, the Id and I, represented by the guards of the city gates.
For them to progress, our character’s strength (the guide) must overcome his childlike ego (the guards) by non combative means. The guide approaches the guards and they fall to the ground, the blood vaporised from their bodies, not a violent move made. Now that the trappings of the ego have been left behind, they take a torch from the walls (representative of the guiding light given to us from birth) and enter the darkness of the surrounding forest (the unknown world/non predetermined life) in search of the map. After having been located by our character, its seven binds are cut to reveal its detail. This signifies the seven most commonly accepted stages of the alchemical journey that that embrace the experiences of the voyager.
As the map is discovered, our duo is compromised by a group of soldiers with a civilian in tow. It is at this point that the guide rises to their pursuers and questions their intent and loyalty to their superiors. The narration fades out at this point, but the story will be explained in further work.
‘The Map’ is entirely composed, with some small bits of sounds design. All vocals and narration by Chess.
- THE GUIDE -
‘The Guide’ interjects the narration of ‘The Map’ and ‘The Desert’. The story will continue in future work, but we thought that too much spoken word at this point of the album would slow things down. ‘The Guide’ is one of the oldest tracks, which was first put together in 2004. It was completely reworked from its original state, having the production and structure tightened up, and re recording the vocals (the album took over five years to make, during which time my voice deepened significantly). We made the track to bear a positive and strong energy of achievement amongst the chaos of our world.
The lyrics attempt to carry a message of perseverance to the listener, delivered in a slower way to let the instrumental play more of a part.
As a track, ‘The Guide’ seeks to encapsulate musically the entire story of ’The Map’.
Based around a sample, with composed strings, and all singing and vocals by Chess.
- THE DESERT -
‘The Desert’ was originally written in 2006 but completely revised nearer to the album’s completion. Our character and his guide have endured a gruelling journey and have finally reached the desert, the hardest phase on the route to the map’s destination. Our character is physically exhausted, mentally drained, and the further he walks, the weaker he becomes.
Eventually, the pair rest amongst a rocky escarpment, and for the first instance, our character contemplates whether he has the ability to continue. The guide sits beside him, sharpening his sword with a sharp piece of stone. This is symbolic of a testing time’s ability to make one stronger. At the point of his defeat, the guide explains to our character that all is energy, and he is all that exists in unison over all time, and further.
The words begin to fade at this point, as the story will be explained in full in our next project.
‘The Desert’ is about strength in the most desperate of circumstances, and the knowledge of and belief in your destiny carrying you through the obstacles which always arise when a soul seeks its true meaning. The track is a metaphor for the areas of doubt that one experiences when embarking on a journey into the unknown, be it a business venture, adventure in other countries, or decision to create or do something original. It is an area of no return which tests ones resilience and eventually galvanises a person’s strength to achieve what they have set out to do. Crossing the desert brings untold benefits, however becoming consumed by doubt will weaken the journey maker to the point of defeat. I believe that you must commit to your chosen undertaking with everything you have to achieve your personal goal, whatever level it may be on. Constant half heartedness eventually corrupts the spirit, sending the journey maker into routes and eventually a destination that their spirit did not originally seek.
The sounds are entirely composed, narration by Chess, speech samples taken from the audio book ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, a huge inspiration for the whole album.
- KNOWLEDGE -
‘Knowledge’ was intended to be a return to the flow of the album after the long saga of ‘The Map’.
‘Dez’, a Parisian lyricist, singer, and poet features on the intro. A translation will be available in the lyrics section over the next few weeks.
We wanted Knowledge to be a less intense track, with a more contemplative atmosphere than its predecessors.
The lyrics are focused on the benefit of the acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge of the self, knowledge of the keys, knowledge of your wealth, and knowledge of the seas. It is the basis of advancement, the platform on which we cultivate wisdom and hone our skills to navigate through life. Every instance deepens the mind and opens its aperture to the world. If we stop learning, we stop growing.
Singing by Elize and Chess, poem by Dez, and lyrics by Chess.
- BRICKS -
‘Bricks’ was written to be the last collaborative effort of the track. As with ‘Doors’, the introductory poem was written as its own piece, and later incorporated into the track. I wanted to create an image of the futility of the modern western life, the materialism, selfishness, and wilful ignorance that we see around us.
I try to make clear that we need guidance that if is not manifested within us will probably materialise as a single leader or small group. For me, I live with an overwhelming feeling that something is wrong, and will not continue for long. The country which I was brought up in and love dearly is a mass of drunken louts who fight their way through their unhappiness. People seem to have no substance, their hearts are empty and their ideas lack passion. Young men should have fire in their bellies and anger in their eyes to change what is wrong. Where is brotherhood and loyalty amongst us? We fight each other not realising that the truth that sits and laughs in our faces every day.
Our women are overworked and distrusting, now finding it somehow patronising for a man to be chivalrous towards them. They lack affection and elegance and have replaced their feminine grace with hard edged work ethics. Britain needs focused, educated, self disciplined problem solvers if she wants to heal. We need to ostracise the mental pollution from our areas of acceptance and begin to heal ourselves and let our land lie down and rest. Britain is a fantastic country ruined by the gluttony of her citizens. Pubs and Bars are now the places of worship. We indulge in the most carnal behaviour at the end of our working week; drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking drugs, vomiting and urinating on the street, fighting, and returning home to rut with an unknown person in a substance fuelled stupor, who then cheats nature the following morning by swallowing a pill that destroys what truth she may have created inside her.
We are so far from where we should be. Love is the energy that makes you do what you need to do. It is not a chemical process which engages you with a sexual partner in order for you to mate. You must feel truth when your heart is quiet. Feel that energy and grasp it harder than anything you could imagine. Protect it, cultivate it, nurture it, and help it to develop and grow until the whisper in your core becomes the fire in your eyes. Let nothing, even from those most dear to you, distract you from it. It is the thread towards all that is true and is the most profound mission in life. Its path helps you to develop, cleanse, understand, strengthen, and grow. It takes you through ecstatic profundity and terrifying darkness, rooms of doubt and vast seas of turmoil, but when you know where you are going, all, to the deepest level of yourself, is understood.
You must work every day to purge fear from your mind, until its claws are unpicked and it has vanished into the ether. Study your surroundings and feel that which is true. With this in mind, truth, or your truth will begin to reveal itself to you. We are all stronger than we could ever imagine, nothing is too much. Believe that you are your soul’s image and you will be that person. We are born into a realm of high levels of social conditioning that seek to convince us that our hearts speak a language which is to be seen in relation to the mental illnesses that cause us to lose touch with reality. The person who is doing what he or she should be doing and is in their centre is so profoundly in touch with their reality that it makes the most supposedly realistic people seem insane. With fire in your mind become the person that you are, as though all around you conspires to manipulate and suppress you.
Feed your mind, body, and soul with stimuli. Look at people with your heart, not your eyes. Never adjust your beliefs to suit conversations or your beliefs will stop conversing with you. Relish the tense atmospheres created from bold statements, it is the sign of new territory just as a muscle shakes when first used.
Accept no compromise and understand that every day is a brick towards the structure that you create in the journey of your life. One day, we will all finally turn around and see what we have created, be it a tomb or a temple.
Love is the understanding of oneness, but who am I to talk?
Intro poem by Chess. Verse 1 rhyme by Chess, 2 by Kanetik, 3 by Radiance.
- BALANCE -
‘Balance’ comes at a stage of the album where we hope that the listener has understood its flow and concept. In my view, everything is balanced by a counteracting force. Thus nothing is dark without light and blind without sight. With this is mind we can welcome bad times as being precursors to positive change, and know that negative actions towards us bring word of blessings in the future.
Vocals by Chess.
- HIGHFIELD -
‘Highfield’ was intended to be the culmination of the preceding tracks on the album, both musically and lyrically. We made the track originally in late 2004, and it lay untouched for the best part of three years. The idea was to create a highly emotive track without losing the rhythm of the beat. The claps came about by accident, giving the track an atmosphere which was perfect to outro the album.
French singer ‘Dez’ features, his lyrics; ‘laissez-toi allez’ meaning ‘let yourself go’ in English.
My verse was written to convey a message which I had not managed to get across previously. I wanted to comment on the futility of revolution, and the inevitabilities of the misuse of power. For me, it is especially important these days to realise that being involved in a radical movement which seeks to physically change its surrounding governmental environment is not worth the while. We all want to see change in the world, and that is a basic nervous reaction to the awful state that the world is in. However the structures of control are from a very old class who have extended qualifications in kicking arse. Trying to somehow bring change by smashing windows and planting bombs will not help anything; the participators only become a catalyst for more legislation and so control.
In my opinion, patience and assertiveness combined with common sense is the answer. The cycle of chaos-theocracy-aristocracy-democracy-chaos has run for thousands of years. Is it a human trapping which makes us desire societal change in our lives? Why do we grab for it, often acting before thinking and destabilising countries which may not have been just, but at least were not in chaos.
My view (and that of many others) is that harmonious, responsible, and intelligent humans will create their reflection in the structures of leadership which nature creates as we begin to pool together and form communities. It is a natural occurrence in nature; it always has and always will occur. We should not seek to find ways of leadership not existing, but find ways in ourselves that leadership does not need to be a constant issue of contention.
Idealisms aside, ‘Highfield’ seeks to be a track that pleads for people to let themselves go from the perpetual cycles of government and society, and beginning the path towards understanding themselves and thus making educated actions in the physical world around them.
Singing by Dez, harmonies by Kanetik & Chess, vocals by Chess.
The track is entirely composed. Speech samples from ‘Voice of the Buddha’ audio book.
- LAST WORDS -
‘Last Words’ was written with a simple message. We wanted to end the album with a down to earth atmosphere that brings the listener almost to the point of where he or she started, ending on a calm and thoughtful note.
The message is: If you can see that there is something to do, please do it.
Words by Chess.