Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Monstaville Book II. Chapter 21


‘They pray to God and when He doesn’t answer they turn to the Devil.’

“When God assigns a particular lot to a person, this does not preclude him from exercising consent, desire and free will. But when God sends suffering, the spiritually weak react by fleeing from God; the lovers of God react by moving closer to Him. In battle all fear death, but the cowards choose to retreat while the brave charge toward the enemy. Fear carries the courageous forward, but the weak-spirited die in themselves. Suffering and fear are touchstones: they distinguish the brave from the cowards.” - Rumi, Masnavi IV: 2914-20 (Rumi: A Spiritual Treasury, compiled by Juliet Mabey, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, U.K., 2000).

“A coward dies a thousand times. A brave man dies only once.” (Arab maxim).

Pigsy is trying to make me feel bad - as bad as he does.

Pigsy: Your problems are your problems. They are nothing to do with me. Stop taking them out on other people. ‘What goes around comes around.’

Hardcore chat with Tom, the club doorman.

If Pigsy enters your flat - which could be his next step - you could use a stick: keep a baseball bat near your door. Hit him on the head; batter him. Then you explain that you were in fear for your life and it would be OK in court. If you go to court for fighting, says Tom, never say you do martial arts. They can then say it was premeditated, that you knew what you were doing and had a choice: you did not have to hurt your attacker badly. Surely everyone has a right to defend themselves though? Or what is the point of learning a martial art? Apart from the confidence to deal with situations more effectively and hopefully avoid violence. I mean, unless you really hurt or injure him, he is likely to persist and you risk coming off worse.

‘If you live by the sword, you die by the sword’: that is, if you take a weapon with you, you might be harmed by that or a similar weapon, provoking another’s use of one to combat you. Tom says he was threatened by someone using a knife once whilst working as a doorman and he warned the guy that he would be stabbed by his own knife accidentally in a struggle. And that’s exactly what happened. Tom slowly backed further and further away, leading him into the club for extra space whilst trying to dissuade him from doing something he would regret, and then stood his ground, giving the man his final warnings. When he thought, ‘Right, I’m going to take control of this situation, he swung the guy around using a technique he had learned and the knife ended up lodged in his face! (He taught armed combat in the army!).

Tom says the best martial art to learn is the one they use in the Israeli army (called krav maga which, according to Tom, is expensive to learn). It is designed to deal with all the basic combat situations one is likely to encounter (especially against people wielding guns and knives). It is very practical and effective.

A former soldier whom I knew for a while suggested that, should one find oneself under threat outside, it could be very effective to shout very loudly, ‘Put the knife away!’ in order to draw attention from other people in the area.

In a physical situation with Pigsy, phone the police ASAP. If you can, phone them when it is happening! (Or as soon afterwards as possible so that he can be caught). If he has a knife, they may send a weapons unit because they are keen to deal with weapons assaults skilfully. They take it very seriously. He could go down for 5 years. It is a very serious offence. Even just threatening you with a knife; even just pointing a finger and calling someone names is a mild offence with a penalty. Breaking anything, such as a nose, or a laceration is considered GBH. If caught, if you had him arrested for using a knife, or for having it, you need to emphasise that you were in fear for your life. You can get a restraining order on him so that, if he even just makes a noise, you can call the police and they will come round to see him.

“Fear not, your enemies shoot their invisible arrows upon you only as long as the Lord allows. But when their time comes, ye shall be free of all evil.” - Old Testament.

“‘Love conquers all, and is the only weapon that ye need.’” - St. Francis (The Shining Brother by Laurence Temple, Psychic Press, London, U.K., 1941, p.101).

“Done is an ignoble deed
By another - so you get angry.
Aren’t you just like him?
Who wants to copy the very same act?

If, wishing to provoke you,
Another acts aggressively,
By allowing anger to spring up,
Why do that which he would have you do?

If you are angry, maybe or maybe not
You make the other man suffer;
But even here and now to yourself
You inflict the pain that anger brings.”
- from Positive Response. How to meet evil with good by Acharya Buddharakkhita (A Buddhist Publication Society booklet, Sri Lanka, 1987, p.34).

Regarding the prospect of using violence (which has never been my intention), someone suggested that I get his legs and throw him onto the floor where I can attack or threaten him. An Irish friend said I should tie some cord across the stairs so he trips and falls down, then deny that I put it there, just to show him that he is in as much potential danger as I am living here, and give him a lesson he will remember. I mentioned that he might see the cord and not fall for it and the guy said, ‘So what? You still didn’t put it there and don’t know anything about it.’

“Success is the best revenge.” (French proverb).

“Living well is the best form of revenge.” - George Herbert, Clergyman (1593 - 1633).

“The best revenge is not to be like that.” - Marcus Aurelius (Meditations: 6.6, translated by Gregory Hays, p.69).

“The noblest way to avenge yourself is not to become as they are.” (An alternative translation of the above perhaps). Don’t become like the wrong-doer.

“There is almost no reason in the world to fight. But there is every reason in the world to know how to fight: It gives one Mark Twain’s ‘confidence of a Christian with four aces.’” - Robert W. Smith (Chinese Boxing, p.12).

Pigsy, you need to grow up and take responsibility for your own shit instead of trying to dump it on other people, and trying to accuse them of the behaviour you fear, the behaviour to which your own weakness and lack of self-discipline can easily lead, and which you also enjoy. It’s your shit. Deal with it. Your problems are your own, not mine or anyone else’s.

“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” - USC Professor Leo Buscaglia.
The Merchant of Venice (film adaptation directed by Michael Radford, 2004). Extract from comments by Beth Accomando, 28 January 2005,

Michael Radford: What is so wonderful is that Shylock has every right to be angry about what happens to him, he’s a man of great dignity, that’s how we play him, but he goes too far. (:37)

Portia (Lynn Collins): Then must the Jew must be merciful.

This is when Portia, now promised in marriage to Basanio, arrives at court in the guise of a young male judge. She advises Shylock on the quality of mercy.

Portia: It droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven upon a place beneath. It is twice blessed, it blesseth him who gives and him who takes.

But Shylock, blinded by revenge (for a different affront), chooses not to be merciful.”

Shylock turns to the law to exact his revenge in the name of justice, but justice, when it involves the human heart, is tempered with mercy, not blind and ruthless vengeance.

"There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness." - Han Suyi (Chinese author).

You are a fool to target me. Just because I am financially in such a weak position that I am forced to live in a run-down part of London, it does not mean that I belong here or that I accept the low quality of life that others here do. It does not mean I have such low self-esteem or even that I am lacking in confidence. It means that I am a struggling but hard-working artist who is learning certain lessons cut off from society. It also means that my experiences and observations here will become part of my ‘art,’ for artists transform and release their pain into products that others may use. And artists are at the heart of any society; hence, they often endure the hardest lessons that a society faces. My will and intelligence make me less vulnerable than I might appear. I am a ‘victim’ of capitalism and the widening fissure in society as global corporations are pitted against the common people more than anything. We are all waiting for the return of strong and enlightened government, not just in national, but in international terms.

“One must endure without losing tenderness.” - Ernesto Che Guevara.

Self-defence Against Fresh Fruit.

Colonel (Graham Chapman): Get some discipline into those chaps, Sergeant Major!
Sergeant (John Cleese): [shouting throughout]: Right sir! Good evening, class.
All [mumbling]: Good evening.
Sergeant: Where's all the others, then?
All: They're not here.
Sergeant: I can see that. What's the matter with them?
All: Dunno.
Self-defence student (Graham Chapman): Perhaps they've got flu.
Sergeant: Huh! Flu, eh? They should eat more fresh fruit. Ha. Right. Now, self-defence. Tonight I shall be carrying on from where we got to last week when I was showing you how to defend yourselves against anyone who attacks you with armed with a piece of fresh fruit.
[Grumbles from all]
Self-defence student (Michael Palin): Oh, you promised you wouldn't do fruit this week.
Sergeant: What do you mean?
Self-defence student (Terry Jones): We've done fruit the last nine weeks.
Sergeant: What's wrong with fruit? You think you know it all, eh?
Self-defence student (Michael Palin): Can't we do something else?
Self-defence student (Eric Idle): [Welsh] Like someone who attacks you with a pointed stick?
Sergeant: Pointed stick? Oh, oh, oh. We want to learn how to defend ourselves against pointed sticks, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh?  Fresh fruit not good enough for you eh? Well I'll tell you something my lad. When you're walking home tonight and some great homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don't come crying to me!
- Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different (directed by Ian MacNaughton, 1972).

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