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Tuesday, 20 December 2016


For this one, we are going to dive into the future! Not sure how far, but a little ways at least. Maybe in our lifetime - maybe not. The idea we're looking at is something that I've heard a few people talking about lately, so thought that I'd give it a look. It's called a UBI - or Universal Basic Income. The basic idea is that everyone (that's the universal bit) gets a set amount of base (that's the basic bit) money (the income bit), no questions asked, regardless of whether they work or not, etc. Everyone. Now, various people have talked about how this might decrease people working; some countries have done trials, with good results; and as we look towards a time when more and more jobs are being done by machines, this may well become more and more needed.

But I don't so much want to look at the why of it all, the reasons for and against. Other people have done that extensively, and if you want to look that up, go ahead. Instead, I want to provide one suggestion as to how it could work. I'm not saying that this is the best way to do it; this may well not work at all. I don't know. It's just one thought that I've had, that I think is interesting to ponder.


In this example, I want you to imagine that there is no other pay apart from the UBI. The UBI is the only way to get money/currency, unless you want to go into bartering. The UBI might be paid per day, per week, per month - it doesn't really matter. Let's say per week, for this instance.
So, each week, every person in this country gets two units of money. Before you say that that's a tiny amount - a unit could be anything. It could be $1000. It could be less. It could be more. For now, let's just assume that one unit is enough to get the average person through the week relatively easily. So when you go to buy something, it's measured in fractions of that unit - your rent might be 1/3 of a unit, or something. Now. I said you get two units.
One unit is keyed to your ID, some sort of unique identifying number or something. Only you can use it. The other unit, however, is the opposite - you have to give it away to someone else. And the same is true every week. There's probably a website you can go on, where different people show the work they're doing, and talk about why you should donate to them; and each week, you choose which one to donate that unit to. A person can never have more than a certain number of units (five, for example), and there might be some rule against repeatedly giving one person a unit each week.

Of course, you could try this with more than two units - say, keeping one unit and donating two if you have three, or maybe being able to donate fractions of units - but I like this idea. The idea that everyone has this basic income - but then you can still go and do a creative project, or a scientific project, etc, and essentially get other people to fund that. Now, I have no idea how things like businesses and such would work with this - but I think it's an interesting idea to consider.

Would love to know what you think :)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

On Retrospect and Release.

As I believe I've mentioned a couple of times, this year has been pretty hard. Since I'm coming towards the end of it, I thought I'd use the 20/20 vision of hindsight to look back at it and see what happened.

So there were two big things that have really made this year difficult. Amusingly, the crash isn't one of them. It was annoying, but I think it's actually been helpful, in many ways. And I'm not saying that these two haven't been - there's been a lot of good that's come from these - but they are really what have made this year hard.
The first was moving out, and the second was a challenge to go for an intentional season without pursuing anyone romantically. I talked about it in this blog post, if that isn't ringing any bells for you. Go on, give it a read. I'll wait.

Done? Good. Now.

Moving out has been awesome, don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed so much making my own food, and setting my own diet. It's meant that I've been able to go pretty much vegetarian, which I've wanted to do for ages. I've also met some great people, started some fantastic friendships, and had some memorable times. And it's definitely a step forward that I needed to take, and that I hope I'll be able to continue with.
But it's also been difficult, moving from a six-person house, that's rather noisy most of the time, to living in a five-person apartment where often I'm the only one at home, or people will just do their own thing for the most part in their rooms. (Which, admittedly, still happened back at my family's house.) It's made me feel more lonely, which is something that I always struggle with anyway. And that then served to aggravate the second one.

Taking an intentional season where I didn't pursue anyone romantically was something that I needed to do. (And am still doing.) But it certainly wasn't something I was particularly excited about. I knew why I needed to do it (see the other post linked above for all of that), but it was still pretty shit. Because I'm a Four. The Tragic Romantic. It was pretty much how I defined myself - and that's a problem.
Thing is, I'm an emotional person. That's a given. I can't just not be emotional, or not have emotions. They happen. If they're not directed in this way, where's that going to go?
This is where I think I went wrong, because I didn't make any plans for this. I just tried to bottle it all up the best I could - attempting to not have too intense conversations with people that I could be romantically interested in, trying to tone down the flirting (I act like I don't know anything; but really, I'm terrible, I'm doing it all over the place), and even taking music out of my iTunes and CD collection that were 'love songs', or likely to get me in that frame of mind. That's most music, folks! But in particular, it was a couple of artists that were my favourites, and that I really identified with - Owl City and Brendan James (no, not me, look him up). Pretty much all of their songs fit into this category. So I was denying myself all of this music, denying myself the ability to actually express this emotion and release it in a healthy and safer way.

Is it any wonder that I've been doing terribly with it? :P Ha.

I mean, I've been struggling more this year with porn and fantasy than I have since Valiant Man. I have abysmally failed in not pursuing anyone romantically, though thankfully I haven't done too much. But you could also easily put that down to my shyness around romance in general.


So yeah. I've still got a long way to go. I'm hoping that next year I can do this a little better next year - removing myself from everything, and actually allowing myself to vent some of this emotion in a healthier way, rather than just attempting to contain it all and being surprised when it overflows and spills out uncontrollably. Time will tell, I suppose.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Four Days.

It's winding down towards the end of the year - and doing so rather quickly. It's now less than four weeks until Christmas. *shivers* December is tomorrow. Or is when I'm writing this, anyway. It's....yeah.

I've been getting a bit emotional about the end of this year, because it's when a lot of things are winding down for me. Well, pretty much everything, really. I'm finishing up my lease at the place I'm staying. I'm finishing up my work at BOE. I'm finishing up with my internship, and even finishing up at my church. I mentioned it briefly as part of this post a while back.
Essentially, God's asked me to do two things. Firstly, finishing up and leaving basically everything that I know, everything that I'm familiar and comfortable with, and going somewhere new. Hard part is, I've got no idea where that 'somewhere new' is. (Reminds me a bit of the story of Abraham.) So the second part is taking a week or two at the end of this year/start of next year as a retreat, rest and re-focus time, using that as an opportunity to talk to God about what he wants me to be focussing on in this next season of life - however long that happens to be, whether it's a year, a few years, or some more general things that I can focus on for most of my life going forward. I don't really know. It's all a bit up in the air at the moment! And kinda super-scary.

But it's also really sad, particularly in finishing up at church. I've been there for most of my life now, and it's been like a second home for me. Particularly considering I've been there longer than in any house! It's something I've been involved in in so many different ways - music, sound, creative bits and pieces, communion, even preaching now and then. And yeah, there have been ups and downs, but that's true of any family :)
But yeah. I realised the other day that there were only four weeks left until Christmas - and then I did a bit of a double take. Because Christmas Day will be the last service I have at church. So that means that I've essentially got four days - four Sundays - with those friends left, until I don't know what. That's a bit - crazy. Particularly because these are really the closest friends I have, and the friends I've really grown up with and known for the longest time. So it's strange to think that soon, I'll be leaving to go who knows where. Yeah.

There have been some incredible memories I've had in that place. From Oasis, to Dinomight, to SWORD, to the camps we've been on, to playing songs with Alan's sermons, to Youth Group, to the Creative Team, to the internship this year. And all the incredible people - some of which have moved on to other places, some that are still around, some that have only recently moved in. You are what makes these times and this place special, and it's going to be you guys that are so hard for me to leave. But thankfully, the internet makes the world a smaller place, and I'm always only a message away :) So do say hi now and then. I'd like that.

I don't know what next year is going to look like. I really have no clue. But I do know that God is taking me on an adventure. That he's going to be testing me and stretching me in ways that he hasn't before. And you know what?
I think I'm quite ready for another adventure.