Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Monstaville Book II. Chapter 44


"A man should be proud of suffering. All suffering is a reminder of our high estate.”
- Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf).

Pigsy spent two years trying to find my weakness so he could get to me. My only weakness was depression, so his presence forced me to fight my depression and exercise my will; that is, not to commit suicide but to survive and win.

"Depression is a lot like that: slowly, over the years, the data will accumulate in your heart and mind, a computer program for total negativity will build into your system, making life feel more and more unbearable. But you won't even notice it coming on, thinking that it is somehow normal, something about getter older, about turning eight or about turning twelve or turning fifteen, and then one day you realise that your entire life is just awful, not worth living, a horror and a black blot on the white terrain of human existence. One morning you wake up afraid you are going to live." – Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation. Young and Depressed in America: A Memoir, Riverhead Books, New York, U.S., 1995).

It is reasonable to assume, whichever way you look at it, that my depression, my self-sabotage, attracted Pigsy into my life. I'm sure it was a necessary experience. It's better to be scratched by the cat so you can learn to avoid the tiger! It reminds me of Chet Baker walking up those stairs to score coke or heroin back in the 60s (back when I was born, for, to some extent, I am a product of those times). In Bruce Weber’s documentary Let’s Get Lost (1989), made just before Chet kicked the bucket (or, according to reports, fell out of a window, mysteriously) at the age of 58, he explains that he kept his hand in his pocket pretending to have a gun in an attempt to protect himself from a malevolent-looking character who was standing there. Nothing happened that night but he would have been wise never to have returned. Compelled by his addiction, of course, he did (if my memory of the film is correct). A gang of black thugs were sent to beat him up, possibly targeting his mouth, the most important thing to him, although all but one of his teeth had rotted due to substance abuse anyway, however, and it may only have taken one or two punches to reduce them to stubs. Chet says he took refuge in a parked car but the white guys inside kicked him out and drove off leaving him at the mercy of his attackers. The incident pretty much destroyed him, his life and his success as the great musical talent he was although he did recover enough to keep going. A romantic, tragic figure if ever there was one, Chet Baker, the ‘James Dean of Jazz,’ was evidently too sensitive for this world. In the film, he described being hungry and cold as ‘boring.’ Apparently, he went AWOL after a few months in the army, stationed in the desert (Arizona). He couldn't cope and sat in a trance for hours on end so they gave him shock treatment or something and he tried to figure out how to escape from both that and the army. After he deserted, however, he was declared unfit for military service and given a discharge anyway so he left legitimately as it turned out: 'unable to adjust to army life.'

“Chet Baker's life of beauty and pain ended twenty years ago tonight on an Amsterdam sidewalk. He may have killed himself. That is unlikely, in my opinion. He may have fallen from his hotel window. He may have been thrown or pushed. Either way, as hard as Baker was on nearly everyone else in his life, he was even harder on himself. Far from the first gifted artist to burn himself out, Chet did it rather slowly compared with Charlie Parker, Bix Beiderbecke, Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe. It is a tribute to the toughness of his Oklahoma country genes that despite decades of self-abuse, he lived nearly fifty-eight years.” – Doug Ramsey (13 May 2008,

Chet was familiar with the natural high produced through music and I guess he just wanted to be high all the time. And, of course, to escape from this harsh world. The desire to escape from this world, this unbearably dull and often harsh environment, led him, ironically, into some nightmarish circumstances (he served a prison sentence in Italy during the early 60s for possession as well). He wanted out…or, rather, ‘up.’ I sympathise! [Retrospective note: Taking drugs is a response to the craving to go home to the Mother Goddess, as St. Germain says. In other words, to return to infinite consciousness, to feel whole, euphoric and at peace. Yet, there is no escape. There is only an eventual shift from resistance to transcendence. Acceptance of what is, again ironically, opens us to receive more of what we crave.]

PLAY: ‘Everything Happens To Me’ - a song covered beautifully by Chet Baker in 1958 (written by Tom Adair & Matt Dennis, 1940).

I had been seriously suicidal and actually started praying for death to simply take me out of the life I was stuck with. All I seemed to have in life was what I didn’t want. I was not coping with the haters next door very well and I had lost and been deprived of so much that was important to me. I would rather have died although I would never accept long-term suffering, like ‘not quite dying,’ as an alternative. That was not the point! It is surely an interesting subject. When we desire something, or ask the universe, or God, for something, we receive something similar in nature but actually nothing like what we wanted in reality. We wanted pleasure, or relief, but we might find that all the universe makes available to us is the same brew without the sweetness. All we get is the bitter ‘medicine’ which is probably designed to kill our desire and silence our prayers. Anyway, ‘death’ did not happen. The pressures of living in an even worse environment than I had endured previously could have thrown me over the edge, justifying suicide. Alas, even though I did go over the edge on several occasions and did continue to feel suicidal at times, I also responded to the challenge in the way that the cosmos expected.

I suppose that I did rise to the challenge in my own silent way. I chose to live. I decided to cope the best I could and I applied myself to winning the war in my own time, searching for answers, adjusting my attitude and training my mind so that if there was a way to oust the brute I would eventually find and execute it. Even on the night of the knife incident, Mr. Pig was not seriously going to kill me and I would not have accepted being killed, at least not in that way, but perhaps by any means really. The attack was designed to scare me into moving out or, if I did not, to give him power over a vulnerable person who could do nothing about the situation...until I moved out eventually and left him to buy the house from the landlord. And, so, rather than facing death (release), it was my own fears (suffering) that I was forced to face. Life’s a bitch...and then you die!

“No man...cuts another man’s throat unless he wants to cut it, and unless the other man wants it cut. This is a complete truth. It takes two people to make a murder: a murderer and a murderee. And a murderee is a man who is murderable. And who is murderable is a man who in a profound if hidden lust desires to be murdered.” - D.H. Lawrence (quoted in The Politics of Self-Determination by Timothy Leary, Ronin Publishing, CA., U.S., 2000, p.27).

During the summer before the knife episode, I had gone to stay with an old friend, whom I hadn’t seen for many years (save a recent reunion), for a few days. We went to a party in a squat one night and, apparently, the people who were expected to go weren’t there but some other people had turned up, or gatecrashed. I sat talking to a girl for a long time until her boyfriend (who I didn’t know was her boyfriend!) decided it was time to go. I wandered into the main room in the house where most of the ‘party people’ were and sat on a stool to talk to some other people. At some point a blond-haired guy from York stood behind me and shook my shoulder roughly, saying ‘hello.’ I ignored him, instantly writing him off as someone I did not wish to respond to. Soon after, he made himself the centre of attention by performing his party piece which amounted to singing various songs to which he had learned the words off-by-heart. My friend was praising him along with everyone else. I was tired and bored, couldn’t stand the guy, and wanted to go home. It was very late and I had to wait for my friend since I was relying on him for a place to sleep. I opted to sit quietly and discreetly at the other end of the large sofa. I closed my eyes at some point and meditated. Mistake! My chakras all open in this atmosphere of hooligan-worship!

I was tired but deeply relaxed and at some point I felt something touching my earholes, then realised what was happening. Some violent force surfaced from deep within me and I thought, ‘I’m going to kill them.’ The minute I opened my eyes, I held my thumbs and fingers either side of their throats, lightly but threateningly, tempted to squeeze. I could imagine doing it vividly and was ready to go through with it, but my intention was simply to warn them. Needless to say, they quickly backed away and stood up. I told the blonde-haired ‘lad’ on my left quite simply that, in another age, I would have crushed his windpipe, demonstrating the sharp procedure with my hand, snapping my thumb and fingers together. I added that the only reason I did not kill him was that I didn’t want to end up in jail! [It is likely that I plucked this out of a film stored in my memory somewhere. I noticed that Al Pacino announces, ‘”I’ll bust your windpipe” in a fit of rage when provoked by his smarmy nephew” in Scent of a Woman, when I watched it again recently. Love that film].

The other guy looked at me maliciously after that. I was clearly aware of the threat of being beaten up by these two men but just continued to ignore them. I looked at him confidently in the eye with my inner power hoping he would get the message that I could defend myself (even though I probably couldn’t!). Besides, this was a private party and such a fight would involve others. It would have been quickly stopped, I’m sure.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” - Ernest Hemingway.

Dwight Frye in The Bride of Frankenstein

I explained what had happened to my friend on the way home and he threw a fit. I thought he was angry about what they had done but, no, it turned out that he was furious with me for not going along with the fun!! I haven’t spoken to him since! He told me that he felt that he accepted chaos more than me! Britain and its cruel ways: no, I am not such a docile feudal subject as many who live here appear to be. I believe in individuality. [Retrospective note: Following this incident, I had engaged in some loose conversation with one of the scallywags, not that I responded wholeheartedly and the energy remained volatile, with the prospect of a fight still on the cards. At some point, probably not long before we left, he asked, ‘Are you happy?’ The question didn’t register until later. It was delivered in a vaguely condescending tone and I only picked up on the intent behind it with my usual delayed intuition. Was I happy? No, not really. No. ‘Why? Is that a good enough reason for someone like you to behave like a shit?’].

Perhaps he was one of those fire/water guys whose need for attentive response found my integrity and introverted sense of freedom and space too much of a threat to his personal belief in co-dependence as a disguise for feeling safe or powerful. Indeed, perhaps both he and my neighbours have clashed with me as a reminder that my own emotional baggage have been preventing me from achieving a state of peace and contentment. Whatever anger and feelings of insecurity I have had have been stuffed into a secure locker within my unconscious. I perceive those kinds of men to be inherently feminine in nature - as though they have incarnated most often as women or they are essentially female spirits and are exploring more masculine qualities in this present lifetime. I’m a very male spirit who, although I have a male body again in this life, have been rendered over-emotional by my childhood. Keeping my emotions in and not having to express or deal with them seems natural to me. I admit that I have found them to be a nuisance and it is only now, at the end of this crisis and process of transformation, that I recognise the need to nurture and express my feelings.

Simply acknowledging how I feel is quite a liberating experience because I am extending my awareness – and compassion – to a part of myself that I simply ignored (and exploited) for many years. In fact, if the truth be known, I am consciously bonding with my Inner Child as recommended by my therapist (and also inspired by Jelaila Starr’s articles on the subject)! As a result, I am feeling a new sense of wholeness and feel freer than I did when I was bent on freedom at any price – because what I failed to realise was that I was sacrificing my very soul. That is a crippling price to pay for a necessarily limited type of freedom in which emotions are simply buried underground (they turn into zombies sooner or later and stalk us in the shadows: Night of the Living Dead!). At least, I got away with it for a certain length of time and did most certainly enjoy my freedom but could not sustain that condition forever. Sooner or later, the Great Crash was going to arrive and I wouldn’t have the energy or resources to deal with it. I’d be forced to pay more attention to my emotional needs, slowly scrape myself off the floor and integrate that side of myself if I was to have any hope of staying afloat, of enjoying or coping with life.

“I’ve got a really violent temper and I like booze and so, you know, shit’s gonna happen...I don’t get fuckin’ pissed at anybody for no reason. If somebody’s fuckin’ kickin’ me in the fuckin’ nuts...then I’m gonna bash your fuckin’ head in...I would never hurt anybody...go out of my way to bully anybody. I never bully anybody. I hate bullies. Bullies are fuckin’ pussies. I’m a bully crusher. You fuck with me, you know, I’ll be the first one to go in the schoolyard and go, ‘Why don’t you pick on somebody your own size? Who the fuck are you? What are you gonna do about it? Well, you’re about to find out. Leave the little guy alone.’ You know what I mean? I never...I’m always about helping people. I would never pick on anybody or do anything like that. Ever. That’s an asshole fuckin’ move man, you know? I mean, you know, like, with Black Label, if a man doesn’t fuckin’ bleed and he doesn’t cry you don’t trust him. He ain’t a fuckin’ man. You know what I mean? He ain’t got fuckin’ balls, so fuck that. You know what I mean? You don’t haze people. You don’t pick on people, beat ‘em up. You don’t do that shit. You know, someone tries to haze me? I go, ‘Yeah. Hey you motherfucker c’mon. You know you motherfuckers better kill me ‘cause I tell you right now, after your fucking five of yous get done kickin’ my ass I’m gonna kill every one of you motherfuckers. I’ll just make sure, when you’re walking home to your house, I’ll just jump out of the bush with a baseball bat and break every fuckin’ goddamn bone in your fuckin’ body. And then I’ll bite your dick and balls off and [?] them in your mouth.” - Ozzy guitarist and Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde (from a YouTube video posted by gladheads on 10 march 2008 titled ‘Is Zakk Wylde a Hellraiser?’).

In addition to this incident, only two or three months after Pigsy’s knife hovered at my throat, a confrontation with yet another psychopath occurred. I was friendly with some girls who worked in a bar with which the company employing me did business. At closing time, they invited me to join them as they headed off to a lapdancing club in the city, with one of their wealthy clients footing the bill. I went along out of curiosity (I think I had been to Stringfellows with a friend once before that). At some stage, one of the girls told me she was feeling scared because a guy on a nearby table was staring at her constantly. Shortly after I looked over in his direction to see who it was, he came over to talk to her. I tried to mind my own business as I listened to him telling her beautiful she was. Then he tried to persuade her to strip naked and pole-dance! I don’t even think it would have been allowed but, anyway she was trying to get rid of him and he was persisting. So, eventually, I turned round and told him she wasn’t interested and that he should go back to his table. I was completely shocked by his reaction. I ought to have expected it, probably! He exploded in my face, shouting at me like someone possessed by a demon. He said it wasn’t any of my business and it was not for me to tell him what he should and shouldn’t do. I said nothing, just nodded my head calmly in disapproval. The venomous violence of it had penetrated me, however. He sat back at his table and looked at me occasionally in a menacing way. The guy he was with was a giant bodybuilder! I was scared of something happening on our way out and was determined to relax and not let someone like that spoil our evening. I calmed my fears with the prospect of getting into a cab while the club’s door men were present, which is what happened.

“I have never learned anything wrong. In the penitentiary, I have never found a bad man. Every man in the penitentiary has always showed me his good side, and circumstances put him where he was. He would not be there, he is good, human, just like the policeman that arrested him is a good human. I have nothing against none of you. I can't judge any of you. But I think it is high time that you all started looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in. I sit and I watch you from nowhere, and I have nothing in my mind, no malice against you and no ribbons for you.” - Charles Manson (to the Court, 19 November 1970,

Charles Manson, Political Prisoner and American Folk Hero

"When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertiliser, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change." - Thich Nhat Hanh.

"The act of judgement is an act of pride. It involves looking to our own store of knowledge, putting together a few facts, figures or fancies, and coming up with some sort of answer or solution to a given problem or situation. All too often it is the wrong solution or answer, and because of pride, we refuse to correct course.
Judging others is an act of monumental pride ‑ enormous pride, stupendous pride, galling, astonishing, fantastic pride. This should be understood. When you render judgement on another, you have taken upon yourself an awesome responsibility for making the correct judgement. Because, after all, your judgement is not necessary.
All things, big and small, invite your judgement. The condition of the weather, political matters, the taste of your food, a television program ‑ at every moment of the day, something or other is inviting your judgement of it. And so often, and so willingly, you render it, without being aware of the consequences, without taking care of the responsibilities entailed.
You judge, and then to make matters worse, you believe in your judgement. You've looked at the evidence, you've made a judgement ‑ it must be right! There couldn't possibly be any other conclusion to arrive at but the one you've chosen, could there?
What you don't see, don't understand, is that your judgement leads to suffering ‑ your own suffering. It does not touch the person judged; he or she is free of you and your thoughts and your judgements. You cannot change their behaviour by even a hair's breadth by your judgement."

“I was released from the penitentiary and I learned one lesson in the penitentiary, you don't tell nobody nothing. You listen. When you are little you keep your mouth shut, and when someone says, ‘Sit down,’ you sit down unless you know you can whip him, and if you know you can whip you stand up and whip and you tell him to sit down. Well, I pretty much sat down. l have learned to sit down because I have been whipped plenty of times for not sitting down and I have learned not to tell people something they don't agree with. If a guy comes up to me and he says, ‘The Yankees are the best ball team,’ I am not going to argue with that man. If he wants the Yankees to be the best ball team, it's okay with me, so I look at him and I say, ‘Yeah, the Yankees are a good ball club.’ And somebody else says, ‘The Dodgers are good.’ I will agree with that; I will agree with anything they tell me. That is all I have done since I have been out of the penitentiary. I agreed with every one of you. I did the best I could to get along with you, and I have not directed one of you to do anything other than what you wanted to do.
I have always said this: You do what your love tells you and I do what my love tells me. Now if my love tells me to stand up there and fight I will stand up there and fight if I have to. But if there is any way that my personality can get around it, I try my best to get around any kind of thing that is going to disturb my peace, because all I want is to be just at peace, whatever that takes. Now in death you might find peace, and soon I may start looking in death to find my peace. I have reflected your society in yourselves, right back at your‑selves, and each one of these young girls was without a home. Each one of these young boys was without a home. I showed them the best I could what I would do as a father, as a human being, so they would be responsible to themselves and not to be weak and not to lean on me. And I have told them many times, I don't want no weak people around me.
If you are not strong enough to stand on your own, don't come and ask me what to do. You know what to do. This is one of the philosophies that everyone is mad at me for, because of the children. I always let the children go. ‘You can't let the children go down there by themselves.’ I said, ‘Let the children go down. If he falls, that is how he learns, you become strong by falling.’ They said, ‘You are not supposed to let the children do that. You are supposed to guide them.’ I said, ‘Guide them into what? Guide them into what you have got them guided into? Guide them into dope? Guide them into armies?’ I said, ‘No, let the children loose and follow them.’ That is what I did on the desert. That is what I was doing, following your children, the ones you didn't want, each and every one of them. I never asked them to come with me - they asked me."
- Charles Manson (to the Court, 19 November 1970,

“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” - Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha.

Whatever you have in your mind ‑ forget it;
Whatever you have in your hand ‑ give it;
Whatever is to be your fate ‑ face it!
- Abu Sa'id (Sufi poet).

A Warrior’s Creed

I have no parents:
I make the heavens and Earth my parents.
I have no home:
I make awareness my home.
I have no life or death:
I make the tides of breathing my life and death.
I have no divine power:
I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means:
I make understanding my means.
I have no magic secrets:
I make character my magic secret.
I have no body:
I make endurance my body.
I have no eyes:
I make the flash of lightning my eyes.
I have no ears:
I make sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs:
I make promptness my limbs.
I have no strategy:
I make 'unshadowed by thought' my strategy.
I have no design:
I make 'seizing opportunity by the forelock' my design.
I have no miracles:
I make right action my miracles.
I have no principles:
I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles.
I have no tactics:
I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.
I have no talents:
I make ready wit my talent.
I have no friends:
I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemy:
I make carelessness my enemy.
I have no armour:
I make benevolence and righteousness my armour.
I have no castle:
I make immovable mind my castle.
I have no sword:
I make absence of mind my sword.

‑ Anonymous Samurai (14th century).

Ritter Hocketse, Bruchsal, by Paul Needham-Mohawk Visuals

“Be proud of your pain, for you are stronger than those with none.” - Lois Lowry (Gathering Blue).

‘Angry Dick.’

Harry Solomon (French Stewart): I wish I had a remote. Frank had a remote.
Dick Solomon (John Lithgow): [Agitated] Well, if you like Frank so much, why don’t you go and live in Frank’s house? [Harry goes to get up] Sit down!
Sally Solomon (Kristin Johnston): What is your big problem?
Dick: Nothing. I just reached out to Frank and he kicked me in the teeth because Frank hates me for no good reason. But, hey! That’s Frank.
Sally: Humans are not perfect.
Dick: Oh, well, that’s a convenient excuse isn’t it?
Sally: You just can’t admit when you’re wrong.
Dick: Oh, please! It’s not like I’ve never bonded with a life form, Lieutenant.
Sally: Yes, yes, we know. You’ve bonded beautifully with creatures on nine different systems.
Harry: And those that wouldn’t bond, we ate.
Sally: It’s different here Dick. To bond with a human you have to give and take, like me and Patty.
Dick: It’s not worth the trouble. I can be perfectly content as a disaffected loner.
[They all rush over to the window when they hear Frank moving their car]
Frank (Mike Starr): I told you Solomon. Eight inches over my property! Huh!
[Dick’s fists clench and his torso tightens up: he is enraged]
Sally: Dick, what’s wrong?
Dick: I don’t know. It’s an odd situation in my body. Oorrrgh! Who the hell does that stupid psychopath think he is anyway?
[Dick sinks into a demonic posture with an evil expression on his face]
Harry: [Worried] Dick?
Dick: I have a plan!
Sally: Remember, we’re not allowed to liquefy humans.
Dick: OK. I have another plan.
Tommy Solomon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt): No, that’s it. I’m invoking the supreme directive. I’ll need witnesses. [Sits in a chair while the other two position Dick on his lap]
Dick: What is it?
Tommy: I want you to remember who you are.
Dick: I’m the High Commander.
Tommy: And what is the High Commander’s oath?
Dick: As High Commander, I vow to handle all problems with strength and deliberation. I will strive to understand other life forms. I will avoid aggression and make peace with all who piss me off.
[The Solomons go round to see Frank in his garage].
Frank: What are you doing here?
Sally: Dick.
Dick: We’ve come to apologise and make a peace offering.
Frank: Oh, so, the great professor offers the lowly chump a present and makes it better.
Harry: That’s what we’re hoping. [Nods]
[They show Frank the present and Dick describes it]
Frank: [Pointing at them] Look, you can talk down to me. You can wake me up at three in the morning, but you can’t buy me off. [He tells them to get out. Then Sally confronts Frank, telling him that Dick is apologising]
Dick: Now, now, now, now, now, we are not going to sink down to his level.
Frank: ‘My level’! Haha. You people always go straight to the snob stuff.
Sally: Hey, who are you calling people?...You wanna fight? Come on! Come on!
Dick: That’s enough.
Frank: Get your hands off me! I don’t like it! [Pointing angrily at Frank as he says each word]
Dick: Please don’t do that [Politely but with his fists clenched, turning away]
Frank: Oh yeah? What are you gonna do about it? [Pushing Dick’s back repeatedly with both hands] Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? Egghead! Brainiac!
[Dick turns and punches Frank in the face, knocking him to the ground]
Tommy: Dick, I am so disappointed in you.
Dick: I don’t know what happened. I just lost control.
Tommy: Yeah, well, you hurt a human!
Harry: We are in so much trouble. What if he talks?
Sally: He won’t if we finish him off.
Dick: Oh, w-w-w-this is awful!
Tommy: Yeah, well, you should feel awful pal!
Dick: But, I don’t. I feel better. And powerful! This is why people have friends – so they can hit them! This is incredible. It’s the best I’ve ever felt! [Frank gets up off the floor and punches Dick back. Dick is stunned!] Well, there’s the downside. [Falls to the ground]

Later [Frank goes round to see Dick, telling Sally and his wife it’s ‘guy’s stuff’ on the way]

Frank: So, ah, how you doin’?
Dick: I’m swollen, thank you.
Frank: [Laughs] So am I.
Dick: [Gets up out of his chair] Why are you suddenly so civil
Frank: Now we understand each other’s boundaries. I mean, you know my limits, I know your limits and now we can respect each other.
Tommy: Wait, let me see if I can get this straight. In order to achieve each other’s respect, you had to resort to violent confrontation. Now, doesn’t that strike you as stupid? [Looks baffled].
Frank: Kids, huh?
Dick: They don’t understand the world.
Frank: So, we’re still friends? [They shake hands].
Dick: [Smiling] Sure. [Frank places his hand on Dick’s shoulder and Dick is affected emotionally and gives him a big hug] Oh God!

- 3rd Rock from the Sun (Season 1, Episode 13, written by Linwood Boomer, 1996).

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