Of all the characteristics of ordinary human nature envy is the most unfortunate; not only does the envious person wish to inflict misfortune and do so whenever he can with impunity, but he is also himself rendered unhappy by envy. Instead of deriving pleasure from what he has, he derives pain from what others have.
– Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
Envy. It takes us all at some point, usually when we’re at our weakest. Whenever I’m miserable or depressed, the sin rears it’s ugly head and poisons my mind. I have envied my friends, I have envied my family. It shames me to say it, yet it’s almost impossible to stop.
When we are children we are all envious creatures. We know little of the world or our own lives, we lack true empathy and are selfish beings. We look at the other children around us and see what they have and if we don’t have it, we want it. If another child has a new toy, we too need a new toy.
As children our envy stems somewhat from perceived injustices. Why should another child have something while we have nothing? How is that fair? Children can’t rationalise that another child getting a toy has very little to do with their own circumstances.
Growing into adulthood we don’t learn much, we are still prone to envy and jealousy and struggle with our feelings, we just find between ways to hide it from others. Continue reading Modern Envy.
The biggest annoyance of science is that the stronger it gets, the more we as people are forced to live with the truth. Our lives are meaningless and we will all eventually succumb to our own mortality.
This week in the news I read about how the ice is melting even faster in the Antarctic, a cause for some concern. Usually I don’t like to comment on current affairs on this blog because as soon as I publish the post my post will become outdated. Thankfully this news article isn’t the first time and wont be the last time I’ll read about how the whole world is fucked and we’re all going to suffer.
Right now it’s the polar ice caps melting. Next week it’ll be global warming. The following month it’ll be a super-volcano in Yellowstone erupting or possibly a giant meteor from space coming to destroy us all.
Continue reading It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Annoyed)
It was just my second week of working in a hagwon when my headmaster said we needed to talk.
We moved into a small classroom, large Lego bricks scattered on the floor. The only place to sit was in tiny chairs for toddlers. Our knees were pressed up into our chests as we looked across at each other. I would have laughed if the headteacher didn’t look so serious. She stared at me intently, her lip quivering. She took a deep breath.
“I’ve actually been very upset with you this week. Very angry.” Immediately I was taken aback. My mind raced, my stomach tightened. What had I done?
Continue reading Cultural Differences and Respect in Korea
On its surface Bangkok is a city that is defined by its roads and food. In Bangkok it is either rush hour or rushier hour, either breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time or supper time.
Everywhere you go food exists, in restaurants, bars, malls. The city is paved with food stalls. Eating is so intertwined with life that it’s hard to tell when one meal ends and the next begins. Life is like one long feast to Thais, all they seem to do is smile and eat. Smile and eat. And take taxis.
Continue reading Leaving Bangkok
Like every generation of Englishman, I got into football at a young age. Each day I would go out onto the field outside my house with my friends. Friends – at that age – were easy to come by. Anybody that could kick a ball was a friend.
We’d throw down some t-shirts for goalposts. The unluckiest – weakest – child was forced to be the goalkeeper. Then the rest of us would pretend we were world class footballers until it was dark. Continue reading Waiting For Next Season: The Pain of Being a Football Fan
The greatest thing about being in your 20s is that you still have the opportunity to be a hypocrite. I’ve often thought that it’s fine for me to be wrong about things because I’m still deciding how I feel about them. Once you get older, once you’ve experienced the world, you should probably know better than to have ridiculous opinions. Being young gives you a free pass – you can be as wrong as you like and get out of it later by claiming “I was young and naive back then!”
One thing I was perhaps wrong about is children.
Children. Ugh, children. The only thing worse than children is parents. Parents. Ugh, parents. Children and parents equal one thing: pride. Is there anything more sickening than pride?
Continue reading Cute Korean Kids
Christmas was approaching. Excitement building. At first the children spoke in hushed whispers, but as the day came closer their voices grew louder. Eventually they were shouting in hysterics “Santa is coming! Santa is coming!”
I wrote about lying to children in my last post. Well the biggest lie of all is Santa. And as Christmas approached it was my biggest problem.
Pity. That’s what I feel for any white male who works in a Korean hagwon at Christmas. Why? Because there’s a very definite possibility that you will find yourself tasked with being Santa. In a school filled with Korean women, the white guy becomes Santa by default.
Continue reading Santa Teacher