Nirvana revisited


There’s not many things I enjoy more than a passionate discussion.  Maybe a Cherry Ripe straight out of the fridge.  Or the smell of kitten’s paws.  But that’s about it.

Some people have to jump from great heights or hurtle along the road to feel like they’re really living.  My thrill comes from the jousting of thoughts and words.

My passion for debate was kindled at university.  I’d been led to believe at high school that academic success was to replicate what I had been taught.  This edict was turned on its head at university when a philosophy lecturer told me that any answer was right, as long as you could argue it convincingly.

So begun my inquisitive and outspoken approach to most things.

My degree in English literature and psychology led to a career in public relations.  Soon enough, the political world beckoned.

It was my Nirvana to be working and socialising with so many talented wordsmiths, advocates and strategists.  Fourteen hour days were barely a nuisance when they culminated in a philosophical debate with colleagues and opponents in the early hours at a seedy bar.

Those days are long behind me.  It is nearly 20 years since I was a partisan participant in the gladiatorial arena that we politely call politics.  Looking back on those days, I truly believe it is the debates and discussions, rather than the election campaigns and victories that are the addictive element of political life.  We pine for the battle of minds and words with respected friends and adversaries long after we’ve moved on to the “real” world.  Like any addiction, this desire only ever lies dormant.   It can never be excised or cured.

Which leads me to the purpose of this blog.  I realise that it doesn’t actually need a purpose, but for me it is like a secret door to a place I thought I would never visit again.

These days I’m what you might call a “lapsed” political junkie.  There was a time when I would listen to three radio programs and read six newspapers before I was prepared to start planning for the day ahead.   I would read the editorials and the views of the esteemed columnists in each major newspaper before concluding whether yesterday had been a good or a bad day.

Once I ceased to work as a political operative, it occurred to me that I had lapsed back to my high school way of thinking.  I was just replicating what others were thinking and saying.

From that point I decided to use my own knowledge and experience to analyse what was happening in the political world.  These days, I shun all news and current affairs programs.   I skim three newspapers each morning, and receive two electronic media summaries on daily basis.  I don’t read editorials or opinion pieces.

I trust my own judgment and I form my own views.

This is liberating, but mostly pointless because I don’t have any means to put my views to the test.

That is, I didn’t, until I stumbled upon the Twitterverse.    And what an amazing place it is, with whimsy and silliness at one end, sharp edged philosophical debate in the middle, and porn-spam at the other.

I found very quickly that Twitter is like a university pub writ large – a place for high-brow satire, Pythonesque plays on words, hilarious and short-lived situational jokes, love and lewdness.  It is true that prejudice and bigotry make the occasional appearance but they are quickly bounced out the door.  Most of all, the Twitterverse is a place for respectful but lively exchanges of considered thought.

I am besotted with this world and have quickly followed the lead of other Tweeps to the land of Blog to let the thoughts that I’ve had to prune to 140 characters expand and roam free.

I’m not sure what I will write here, or whether it will be interesting enough for others to read.  It will be like putting my views to a rather rowdy bunch at the uni pub on a Friday night – there might be a couple of nods, or I might be denounced or even totally ignored.  Who knows, but I am going to give it a try.