Friday, April 06, 2007

The Faces of the Stranger

Well we all have a face that we hide away forever,
And we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.
Some are satin some are steel some are silk and some are leather,
They're the faces of the stranger but we love to try them on.

You may never understand how the stranger is inspired,
But he isn't always evil and he is not always wrong.
Though you drown in good intentions you will never quench the fire,
You'll give in to your desire when the stranger comes along.

Recently, I’ve been hearing a great deal about the masks that we all tend to wear. As a nomad, I have certainly been guilty of wearing masks over the years. With each new location I have lived in, I’ve had the opportunity to recreate myself, with the only condition being that I then needed to live up to the image I created for myself.

Like the song says, it isn’t always evil and it isn’t always wrong. The various masks I created allowed me to survive in a wide variety of challenging environments; I don’t think I could have made it to where I am today without these masks. But along the way, I’ve lost track of who I am.

Perhaps this is natural, to lose yourself in the masks you create for yourself. But as I have wandered along a path of self discovery recently, it has made it really tough to distinguish between my views and morals and what I’ve picked up along the way.
I try my hardest to be an honest man, 100% of the time. But am I truly honest with myself, when the true me is hidden beneath the person I had to become along the way?

As I find out more about myself, I move closer to being the happy, healthy person I’ve always dreamed of being. But as I peel the onion to discover the various layers that I am, I have been struck with the pain associated with each memory of my pas. The more masks I’ve put between the true me and today’s version, the harder the path has been.

I have no idea what tomorrow may bring, but I figure tomorrow has got to be better than today if I’m happier with who I am. So I’ll keep on my journey of self discovery, and hopefully one day I can live life without the masks, being truly honest with myself in every way possible.


Posted by Scottage at 1:11 AM / | |  

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Release of British Sailors with an Eye to the Future

I certainly was surprised to see Iran releasing 15 sailors held hostage Wednesday. In reality, the move raises more questions than answers, and these questions may have a huge impact on the future of international relations over the next many years.

The capturing of the British sailors certainly raised Iran’s prestige in the eyes of other Middle Eastern countries. It showed once again that Iran is not afraid of the West, and that they consider themselves a military force to be reckoned with. Further, the method of their release does nothing to change that perception, maintaining the powerful image of Iran while giving the country an air of benevolence.

Admittedly, I don’t buy it. I don’t believe for one second that Iran released the British sailors out of the kindness of their hearts, and I don’t think President Ahmadinejad’s resolve wavered one bit. Further, I don’t think he feared American or British retribution. So why were the sailors released when they were, and in the manner they were released? We may never know the answers, but some clues do exist.

There’s been a great deal of discussion about Syria’s role in the release of the sailors, as well as Nancy Pelosi’s role in the diplomatic relations. For years, I have indicated that Bashar al-Assad of Syria is not the evil dictator that many believe him to be, and this may be the first sign of his true nature. Al-Assad saw first hand that ruthlessness and fear bolster your image in the Middle East, but his education and speeches paint a picture of a moderate with a real desire to reform Syria.

Bashar alAssad quickly recognized the ascension of President Ahmadinejad in Iran, and fixed his wagon to the ultra-religious president. But has al-Assad’s actions been that of a tyrant, or has his actions in Syria and Lebanon been merely a way for him to attach himself to Ahmadinejad? Only time will tell, but al-Assad’s role in the release of the British sailors certainly may be cause for optimism.

However, I doubt highly that al-Assad could have completely convinced Ahmadinejad to release the prisoners. My tendency is to believe that there must have been a benefit for Iran in the release. My first thought is a back-channel deal to arrange the release of the Iranian soldiers being held by the US. Another thought is negotiations with Iraq to allow Iranian soldiers to take a more active role in Iraq.

But I can’t help but suspect that for Iran to release the prisoners, they somehow need to believe that their own image in the Middle East will be bolstered by the move. Iran was unable to gain the support of the majority of the Middle Eastern countries in the South Lebanon conflict, primarily because most countries saw Iran as the instigator. On the other hand, Muslims throughout the world protested the Mohamed cartoons because they felt the cause was righteous.

As proof mounted that the sailors were not in Iraqi waters, the justification of their capture eroded. Perhaps Iran believes that by foregoing this cause, which is not justified, they’ll gain support on the next issue. Or perhaps Ahmadinejad believes that being seen as merciful will help other Middle Eastern countries to see them the same way in the future.

Either way, I believe the real motivation for releasing the soldiers has everything to do with future conflicts between Iran and the West. Let’s hope the true motivation behind Iran’s actions come out before they can take advantage of this latest ploy.


Posted by Scottage at 12:17 AM / | |  

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Rat Trap

It’s the endless loop in your head, where one thought keeps spinning around and around. A million times I try to push that thought out of my head, but it doesn’t work. The thought is stuck in the rat trap, haunting me, keeping me up at night and providing an endless fountain of sorrow in my waking moments.

My belief is that everyone experiences the rat trap. Do you? Are you plagued by thoughts which simply can’t be pushed out of your consciousness? I bet you do. I bet the rat trap exists in your head, just waiting for the thought that can’t be evicted.

The thought is invariably something which I have difficulty accepting. I strive for acceptance, for the ability to let go of a situation which I have no control over, but acceptance does not come. Instead, I think of every thing I can do to change circumstances, and the result of my action, and my reaction to the result of my initial reaction. This is truly the rat trap in motion.

A million permutations, a million consequences; the rat trap whizzes around at amazing speed, providing me with all the possibilities until I can fixate on one that pleases me, one result that works for me. I am the director, and if everyone follows my direction, I will have a result that I can live with, that pleases me. My will can be accomplished.

Then, something happens. Normally, it’s something I never anticipated, something I never would have guessed in a million years. Perhaps I needed a million and one permutations. But this keeps the rat trap in motion, spinning around, examining a million new consequences of a million actions I can take.

I strive for acceptance of the many things which I can’t control, but today I don’t know how to achieve it. It doesn’t matter what thought sticks in the rat trap, its existence is the real enemy. But maybe, by working on my understanding of myself, I can dismantle the rat trap, and learn acceptance of the situations I can’t control.


Posted by Scottage at 1:16 AM / | |  

Monday, April 02, 2007

Back to Blogging

Welcome to the faithful viewers of Perspectives of a Nomad. As many of you have noticed, I have not been posting for quite a few months. Well, that trend is about to change.

The fact is that many times over the past few months I’ve written part of a post. However, there has always been an aspect missing: some sort of an explanation for my absence. So I decided that my first post back should address this very issue, paving the way for me to resume posting.

Basically, my absence has primarily been a result of momentum; having stopped blogging for a length of time, it became harder and harder to make that next post. I wanted the post to be something special, something monumental. But really, I think there’s much more value in consistent posting than in that one great post. Consistent posting must be my goal.

Certainly, there is plenty to post about, and I am not short of opinions. Whether discussing the war in Iraq or the potential for war in Iran, recent conflicts and the potential for negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the ascension of China on the world scene or efforts by Russia to reclaim its position in the world order, there is a tremendous amount to write about today.

I’m also going to dedicate some of my blogging to recounting my past journeys, and the insights I gained from these journeys. What’s more, I’m going to talk about my current journeys, which are more a journey of a spiritual journey and a journey of the mind, as I learn about myself and grow every day. This work is perhaps the most exciting work to me, as it will help in my development.

In general, I am going to let my blog flow, writing about whatever topic comes to mind, and see where the writing takes me. And perhaps, somewhere along the way, I’ll learn something about myself. So feel free to come along for the ride, and maybe we can learn something together.


Posted by Scottage at 11:02 PM / | |