October 5, 2020

Dragons Tales

I have never really thought about pain. You don't. But to some people it is ingrained, built into their lives and any release even momentarily is bliss.

Dragons Tales
Photo by Sean Thomas / Unsplash


How tickling the dragon’s tail brings relief? Or is it the Demon’s Core?

I have never really thought about pain. You don't. But to some people it is ingrained, built into their lives and any release even momentarily is bliss. I loosely need to explain what I mean by pain. I am not talking about mental pain, well not as such, more later, but I am talking about physical pain. The stuff you get when you stub your toe or when you hurt your back. The experience is sharp almost like an electric shock. It is your bodies way of telling you something is wrong or to rest and relax. Pain never goes beyond a certain point but that ‘point’ saps your self.

Some people actually like pain. I knew someone who never had novacaine when they went to the dentist. Whatever floats your boat I suppose, but others just have to deal with it to get around it and you do find ways to ease the pain otherwise you could be up a certain Batson creek without a paddle?

I wrote an essay once about the theory that people who are depressed, tend to be creative and write beautiful stuff. Two examples could be the obvious one Sylvia Plath, or less obvious Anne Sexton, she rowed awfully towards God? Both were serious depressives and wrote some amazing stuff. Is there a link between depression and artistic talent? I am not sure at all.

So getting back to pain, is there a link between physical pain and artistic talent, does pain shape you into the person you are? Well of course, to me it does because it is an intrinsic part of my life, but does it make people more productive artistically? Well I find that when my arthritis flares up I have to use some form of distraction and mine is faffing about doing stuff. I try to be productive but I prefer the process rather than the result. Figuring how to produce an effect. I am not patient enough, my mind moves from one thing to the next whirling round. I faff therefore I am.

So what's the next big thing in my world? Well I have found that Zoom meetings have put me in touch with people that I have become estranged with because of my disability. People may complain and say. Well all you ever do is moan about the virus. Partly true I do. But there have been slivers of gold in amongst the silt of life and the virus. Zoom and the use of this technology has made things more connected and 'inclusive’ for me. A sliver of gold? So with this idea in mind I have decided to go into the cult of technology fully and livestream my fizzog onto the internet. The main reason is to show my distant relatives that I am still alive and chasing that fifteen minutes of banality with all us delusional relics, yesterdays men? Is this technology really 'true' slivers of gold or more likely ‘fools gold.’ Am I chasing the process to satiate a need? Many Drug addicts get as much out of the thrill of the chase, getting the drug, as to its effects.

I have fallen deeply in love with technology and that is, I suppose, quite tragic. In a way it is a 'perceived' necessity for me. I don't do drugs so technology is the next best thing. You are, by using technology, chasing the dragon, inhaling the vapours from a drug that, is in essence, as addictive as inhaling Heroin or Opium, the reference is from the Cantonese apparently. I am for better or worse hooked!

But by using technology, and ignoring the slivers of gold which we may find by using it, are we doing something as dangerous as, using the words of the brilliant physicist Richard Feynman 'tickling the tail of a sleeping dragon’? Are our actions, akin to those of the poor physicist Louis Slotin who tickled the tail of the dragon once too often and paid the price? Dying after receiving a bright blue flash of radiation that eventually killed him. Working with two hemispheres of Plutonium in a physics experiment that ended tragically. Those two hemispheres of Plutonium earned the nickname the Demon Core. Take for example.

In Japan there are a group of young men the Hikikomori. A word that literally means “pulling inward to be confined.” People who withdraw from society, who live in their rooms alone and become reclusive. The psychiatrist Tamaki Saitō defines Hikikomori as "a state that has become a problem by the late twenties, that involves cooping oneself up in one's own home and not participating in society for six months or longer, but that does not seem to have another psychological problem as its principal source". [1] I am not qualified to go into the psychological or sociological aspects of this phenomena, however I do believe that the role of the ‘dragon’ in our lives, the dragon that is technology, is one of the root causes of self isolation in many cases?

Technology helps being isolated to be bearable, enjoyable even. Lockdown Round One showed that? According to associate professor of psychiatry at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Takahiro Kato, video games and social media have reduced the amount of time that people spend outside and in social environments that require direct face to face interaction. The emergence of mobile phones and then smartphones may also have deepened the issue, given that people can continue their addiction to gaming and online surfing anywhere, even in bed.[2]

Well Takahiro, I hear you. You are preaching to the converted or perverted. I use technology for good and for bad. It makes my pain bearable, makes the social isolation that people with disabilities sometimes face, less painful and for me to be honest it is painful. But is technology the ‘Demon Core’? As a technology addict I have to say yes. And it's hard to say. I am an addict.

  1. Source: Wikipedia article on the Hikikomori ↩︎

  2. Source: op cit in Wikipedia article on Hikikomori ↩︎