Vasilios Theodorakis – An Online Author is a digital repository of all my written work (in text and podcast formats)…

November 26, 2010

Against All Odds

Filed under: General,Quotes — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 11:49 am

Between 1980 to 1984 (while I was aged 13 to 17), I lived my life according to a saying I had formulated for myself. The origins of the mantra are somewhat hazy, but I know it came out of my need to redress “an education label” I had been given early on in my schooling i.e. that I was slow and/or retarded (intellectually disabled). Looking back, the fact that a 13 year old could come up with such a saying seems a little odd, but in hindsight, it was quite an accomplishment for a child who was permanently in survival mode.

The saying was part observation (of past circumstances) and part motivation (positive self talk and encouragement). It was obviously hobbled together by a child, when you look at its grammatical structure, but it worked and worked well. At the time, the mantra helped me excel in whatever I tried to do, despite my dysfunctional environment and against all odds.

The saying went something like this:
Nothing comes easy,
Yet nothing is impossible!

If you correct for the use of “nothing”, it meant…
No accomplishment comes easy,
Yet no accomplishment is impossible!

Something so simple, yet it placed me on a magic carpet of self confidence which lasted a full 5 years. Damn all the people I encountered from 1985 onwards who convinced me to abandon my own mantra! Shame on you, and shame on me for allowing you to take away my hopes and dreams!

Truth be told though – by the time I got to Uni, I fell into the same trap I had witnessed most of my high school friends succumb to, and that was, wanting to do well without actually doing the work! I forgot the first part of my own mantra, i.e. that no thing comes easy.

Unfortunately, what often follows a desire for reward without effort, is blaming everything and everyone when things don’t go your way. Once I got into this mode of operation, I became the consummate victim. It’s so easy to go from success to failure, if you start to think people owe you something. Looking back, it’s a shame I wasn’t able to maintain the humility of that 13 year old who never did learn that he couldn’t accomplish something. And why? Because he was always far too busy working towards that accomplishment! ;)

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

November 19, 2010

The Deserving

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:20 pm

The most irritating and disturbing thing I hear coming out of people’s mouths in Australia is – “I’ve worked hard and I deserve all the rewards I’ve received!”

It flabbergasts me – it’s just dumb luck that these people were born into a well resourced and rich country. They could just as easily have been born in a country where ten people live in a single room dwelling with dirt floors. Do 70% of the earth’s human population deserve that sort of lifestyle? And were an individual from that earthen floor dwelling to work “really” hard, they would still only be able to build an earthen floored dwelling!

None of us “deserve” anything! There is no rhyme or reason as to where we’re born on the planet. It just happens that some of us have access to amazing opportunities but there is no justification for that good fortune!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

November 18, 2010

Working With Death

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 11:01 pm

During the course of my own ill health, I’ve met both young and old patients who’ve been handed a death sentence by our medical oracles. As might be expected, I’ve found both age groups embrace or reject the inevitable and live their remaining time accordingly. What’s stood out however is that young children, if given the chance, are much better at dealing with death than adults.

During the last 20 years, I’ve had the good fortune of knowing a few of the “accepting” young and their families. In those instances, parents provided the space for the rapid evolution of their child, who invariably died with a level of wisdom and insight far beyond their years.

I’ve also known families, who tried to hide what was happening from their terminally ill child – an approach which really didn’t help. The child almost always died in a state of fear, indirectly fostered by the parent’s own denial.

Then there’s adults, and sadly I’ve known more adults that greet the reaper in a state of denial than acceptance. From what I’ve seen, children, if allowed, accept their reality much better than “grown ups”. For example, the last gentleman that my wife and I farewelled, continued to believe he “could not die”, right up until his last days.

We have truly messed up as a society, to allow death to be so perfectly removed from reality that even when we’re dying, we can’t be honest with ourselves. Then again, I don’t suppose you’d think your life could come to an end, if you drove around in flashy cars, lived in McMansions and had enough disposable income to replace all your furniture every 2 or 3 years!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

November 14, 2010


Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 9:55 am

There was a time when anyone could come up with a notion, research it, develop it and release it to the public. It didn’t matter if you weren’t a specialist and didn’t matter if you didn’t have a Ph.D. in the field – as long as the idea was sound, made sense and could be backed up by the rest of humanity’s body of knowledge, there was a chance it would be accepted into popular thought.

But today? Today, without a string of letters after your name, the idea of contributing to human insight is “technically” off limits. So what do people like me do – people who’s minds come up with notion after notion? Find a means of getting ideas out into the world without 7 years of academic specialisation in every field of knowledge! After years of thrashing around inside my “degree limited” cage, I’ve come to accept that the only legitimate avenue for people like me is writing, and in my case, Science Fiction writing.

So, if you like the ideas appearing in my blog’s commentaries and poetry, I hope you take the time to investigate my Science Fiction material when it finally gets a public release – the short stories and novels I’m working on contain all the ideas I’ve come up with in the last 30 years. :)

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

November 8, 2010

Burying Things

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 5:31 pm

What is it about our species and its obsession to bury things – both physically and metaphysically?

Did it begin when we were hunter gathers and got into a habit of just leaving things lying around because they naturally decayed. Then, when we started using materials that didn’t break down, like masonry, we had to bury them so that our environment didn’t become an eyesore. A progression from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle maybe?

Or are we just genetically lazy? i.e. After building something, using something and abandoning something – instead of cleaning up after ourselves, reusing materials or recycling, we cover them up with soil, pretend they never existed and build more on top of that soil! Just look at our oldest cities – places like Rome. New York, etc., now sit tens of metres higher than when they were first settled.

Whatever the reason, it has two far reaching consequences:
1 – Our refuse and rubble has allowed us to study our past, which has to be a good thing in terms of learning from our mistakes.
2 – It is not sustainable. No other creature, leaves behind (buries) the amount of waste we do. It isn’t natural and if it was, the planet would already be covered by a billion years of concrete!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

November 3, 2010

Waiting To Know

Filed under: Ungrouped — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 9:18 pm

Standing up – arm led by the firing squad,
I’m shown a chair for my own comfort!
And as I sit – I gag on the reflex to laugh out loud
Chimpanzee like,
Trying to hide my fear.
That my response should revert to a simian Id
Is not so strange,
Knowing how similar our hand prints are.
Grimace set,
My face is taut
Till lips morph into teeth,
And I wait for the path’s division.
Left – I live,
Right – I dual with death,
Whose advance is a breech
Of the city walls
Where foreign infantry run through the streets
Of my system
Aiming for chaos but content with mayhem.
Pushing forward
Forever in assault mode,
I’m overrun
And witness the fall of my own torso.
Just as the war is lost in my head,
The verdict
From the delicate genius arrives – results are fine!
I sheath my body’s duelling sword.
Will not be the day,
This battle is fought!
Relief stricken,
I slump forward
And catch my head
In conveniently cupped hands.

Yet another stay of execution has been granted,
And for now – I walk free!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

November 2, 2010

Important People

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 8:42 am

I can honestly say, I feel blessed to have the people who are now part of my day to day life.

From the handful of relatives, to my wife and close friends – people who I see face to face and who are there for me as I am there for them – not through some impersonal, superficial, digital connection. So I say, “Hit the internet kill switch Barack Obama” and let’s see how many of those social network participants have actual, reciprocating friendships. 500 friends online doesn’t amount to squat come the real challenges of life!

But I digress – I didn’t always have such genuine people in my life. For the longest time, like so many of us, I surrounded myself with people that never reciprocated interest or concern for me. I was so busy investing time and energy in these people that I didn’t notice that if I stopped, nothing was being invested in me. It took a long time to learn that a relationship needed to be reciprocated, whether that be with a relative, friend or partner.

So when things were at their worst, in the early 1990s, and I was forced to stop investing in people – primarily because of the lengthy hospital stays – it dawned on me that not a single person I had thought were friends, were friends!

It took many more years to excise most of these people from my life, and to this day, its an ongoing struggle to not fall into the trap of one way connections. (There are still 2 or 3 people, I do this with, and that’s because they did support me either financially or emotionally for a brief period of time in the 1990s – the rest of these anthropomorphic mannequins are long gone.)

The interesting thing is that the truly important people are just there for you, as you are for them – the “humble servant”, in the best sense of the Orthodox Christian faith. While those who think they’re important, are never there for anyone other than themselves – and that really amounts to nothing in the grand scheme of things. Human islands, I have come to know, do not survive the rising tide of life’s complications!

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

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