Smoke in a prison – view on stress

Posted by on Jul 15, 2018 in Photos | 7 Comments

Smoke in prison, is an photograph which you may have seen before. As I told you few days ago, I seems to be going over the images from Japan. Especially those from period when I started to use that blur filter of mine. This image was captured same day as the Japanese forest. It is now, ten years ago. I gave it same feeling in color, which should keep same mood.

English version

Skok na Slovenskú verziu.

I call it Smoke in a prison. It looks like it, doesn’t it, right? I made few shot why observing this guy smoking in very small room behind the open window with no glass only the bamboo sticks in the opening. He felt quite stressed to me. Taking one puff after another, running through the cigarette in speed of light.

stress

Following is longer text, feel free to ignore ;-)

Stressed I said, well he felt like stressed to me. Stress what is it? Is anybody doing that to us or we are doing this to our-self. I am now, in period when I am extremely stressed. I seems not able to find a way to stop it. It often feel as been on some kind of circle road, where one can not find an exit from. It is surprising how I am not able to stop that, even I recognize I am driving around. I know I am there I know the reason why. I just can’t calm down and get out of that never ending roundabout.

Life change

When I have been in high school, first year actually, I was extremely enthusiastic. Enthusiastic to learn all that new things, I was very much into math, astronomy, physics. I was soaking the knowledge as a sponge. I love it there, I though: finally something I can learn, something what is not boarding, something I do not know. Then at the end of the first year a shock came. I didn’t pass from English language, received the worst mark. The only options was to repeat a year or do special exam. I did the exam and I failed again. I was sure I was not so bad.
It was the end of school year. Summer holiday were about to start. For me there were two options. Repeat a year or have a special test in front of English teacher’s assembly and director of the school. My summer holiday turned to morning and evening private lesson of an English language.

Effect?

You may wonder why I am writing about this experience. The reason is the effect it has on this young fifteen year old enthusiastic school boy. After this, extremely unrighteous event I become complete stoic. However not in the very positive sense of this word. I become completely indifferent to anything in school. I still kept my interests but had not show anything of that to the outside. That period of the end of first year at high-school showed me how word can be unfair.

From that time on I have become very suspicious of everything (well almost, one never learns, right). My attitude to life has changed enormously. I didn’t see it as something widely interested, something to be explored. I become to thing about it as a source of possible disappointment and treason.

A connection? disappointment – stress ?

At the beginning of this writing I though, this experience from my teen years was something related to the stress. Now after I wrote previous few paragraphs I am not that sure about it. Matter of fact I realize some time ago that until we moved to The Netherlands, I had no idea what stress was. Only after few years when I felt full responsible for more then myself in place where there was nobody to help and talk about these internal feelings, I noticed something building up in me.

That something has created rather intense sort of pressure in chest. Something which force me to breath shallow, not being to concentrate, not being able to let things go. That is what connects these two experiences. Those many years ago I solved the treason done to me by letting things go. Stop caring about many things. For what a reason, I am not able to do that now. i am not able to let things go. I am not able to give a dam about things I can not change, things I can not influence. In some sort of crazy way I feel responsible for too many things. This creates that pressure in my chest that hurry in my mind.

It is all known, we just read too little

And here I must give a citation. Citation from something written thousands of a years ago by Epictetus in his book The Enchiridion:

“Make it your study to confront every harsh impression with the words, ‘You are but an impression, and not at all what you seem to be’. Then test it by those rules that you possess; and first by this—the chief test of all—’Is it concerned with what is in our power or with what is not in our power?’ And if it is concerned with what is not in our power, be ready with the answer that it is nothing to you.”

I need to apply this. Maybe then, I may start let things go, again…

 


Slovenská verzia:

Ako by som to len nazval po Slovensky. Fajčenie vo väznici? Možno. Ako som už pred pár dňami písal, nejako sa vraciam k fotkám z Japonska. Obzvlášť z obdobia keď som začal používať ten rozostrovací filter s gélom. Túto fotku som urobil ten istý deň ako Japonský les. Dal som jej tú istú farebnú škálu pretože by som rád aby mala podobnú náladu. možno je toto začiatok nejakého projektu. Niečoho viac ako len pár fotiek z Japonska.

Neviem či ten názov sedí, obzvlášť v Slovenčine mi znie trochu kostrbato. No čo už je to tak. Však sa na to pozrite. Je tam chlapík čo poťahuje s cigarety. Oproti nemu mrak dymu. To okno je úplne bez skla. Iba tie dve bambusové priečky. Pamätám si že že tú cigaretu ťahal len tak fučalo.

Zdal sa mi úplne vystresovaný. čo je to však ten stres? Je to čo nám niekto robí, stane sa nám to len tak alebo si to robíme sami? V poslednej dobe som sám v zajatí stresu. Je to dosť intenzívne. Sú dni keď si pripadám, ako keby som bol nekonečne uväznený na kruhovom objazde kde nie je nijaký výjazd. nie som schopný ani zastaviť ani vidieť tie exity aj keď mám občas pocit že popri nejakom zrovna prechádzam. Všetkého som si nejako podvedomo vedomý, nie a nie však odbočiť.

Životná zmena

Keď som bol na gymnáziu, hneď v prvom ročníku, bol som veľmi nadšený. Šťastný že konečne škola nie je nudná, že sa niečo nové učím. Bol som úplne zbláznený do fyziky, matiky a astronómie. Nasával som nové vedomosti ako špongia. A potom na konci prvé ročníku som dostal päťku z Angličtiny. Boli len dve možnosti, zopakovať si ročník alebo isť robiť postupku. Takú kontrólnu skúšku. Vybral som si skúšku a neurobil som ju. Nechápal som, však to nebolo až také zlé.

Bol koniec školského roku. Akurát sa začínali letné prázdniny. Predo mnou bolo opäť rozhodnutie. Zopakovať si ročník alebo na konci prázdnin robiť reparát. Špeciálnu skúšku pred učiteľmi angličtiny a riaditeľom školy. Moje prázdniny sa zmenili na ranné a poóbedné súkromné hodiny angličtiny.

Vplyv?

Asi sa pýtaš prečo o tom vôbec píšem. Dôvodom je efekt aký tento zážitok mal na entuziastického študenta. Po tomto extrémne nespravodlivom (stále si myslím že to bolo z nejakého dôvodu celé vykonštruované) zážitku som sa stal úplne ľahostajný a flegmatický ku všetkému čo sa týkalo školy. Stále som mal záujem o vedecké disciplíny ale nechával som si to pre seba. Udalosti konca môjho prvého školského roku na gympli mi ukázali aký nespravodlivý vie život byť.

Od toho času som sa staval ku všetkému veľmi podozrievavo (no skoro ku všetkému, nikdy som sa úplne nepoučil). Môj prístup k životu sa radikálne zmenil: Nevidel som ho už via ako niečo extrémne zaujímave niečo čo treba skúmať. Začal som sa naň pozerať ako na zdroj sklamaní a zrád.

Spojitosť? sklamanie – stres

Keď som začal písať tento text o mojej buberťátskej skúsenosti, bol som presvedčený že to má nejakú súvislosť so stresom. Teraz po tom ako som dopísal predchádzajúci odsek, nie som už tak istý.
Koniec koncov mi už relatívne dávno došlo, že do času kým sme sa presťahovali do Holandska som nemal ani páru čo to vlastne stres je. Iba po prvých pár rokov v tejto krajine, keď som cítil plnú zodpovednosť za viacej ako iba za seba samého, bez toho aby mi niekto pomohol alebo aby som s niekym prehodil pár slov, my došlo niečo vo mne rastie.

To niečo vytváralo v mojej hrudi pocit napätia. Niečo, čo ma nútilo plytko dýchať, zabraňovalo mi sa koncentrovať a nedovovalo mi sa na veci vykašlať, ignorovať ich. To je to čo tieto dve skúsenosti spája. Pred tými desiatkami rokov som bol schopný pocit nespravodlivosti a zrady vyriešiť tým že som sa stal k zdroju zrady flegmatický. Neviem prečo, ale teraz to nie som schopný urobiť. Nie som schopný sa vysrať na veci ktoré nedokážem ovplyvniť. Z nejakého, určite chorého dôvodu nie som schopný kašlať na veci ktoré nedokážem ovplyvniť. Cítim sa zodpovedný za príliš veľa vecí a to vytvára ten pocit úzkosti na mojej hrudi. žabu čo ma dusí.

Všetko je známe, iba my čítame príliš málo

A na záver si nemôžem odpustiť citovať z knihy napísanej pred viac ako dvoma tisícmi rokov Epiktetom.

Hneď od začiatku si zvykaj pri každom nepríjemnom jave hovoriť: „Si iba vnem, a vonkoncom nie si tým, čím sa javíš.” Potom ho preskúmaj a otestuj pomocou pravidiel, ktoré máš, pričom najdôležitejšie je zistiť, či sa daný vnem týka vecí, ktoré sú v našej moci, alebo vecí, ktoré v našej moci nie sú. Ak sa týka niečoho, čo nie je v našej moci, maj po ruke odpoveď: „Toto sa ma netýka.”

Mal by som sa touto knihou riadiť. Potom, možno, budem opäť schopný, sa na niektoré veci vykašľať.

7 Comments

  1. Miro
    Mon, 16. July , 2018

    Porušuješ Epiktetové pravidlo, ktoré robí život spravodlivo znesiteľným, ale to bude asi aj záležitosťou dákeho poslania, ktorého si nositeľom. Šťastný je ten človek, ktorý si vie poradiť s tým, čo má k dispozícii. Toto asi tiež platí v Tvojom prípade. Ten chlapík za mrežou z bambusu, je obeťou civilizačného zhonu – je dosť možné, že fajčenie je pre neho fiktívnym exitom z kruhového zacyklenia…
    Zodpovednosť za veci, ktoré nedokážeme sami zmeniť, môžeme zmeniť spoluprácou s inými, ktorí tiež túžia po náprave a spravodlivosti. Treba uniknúť mocnejúcemu tlaku systému, ktorý sa nás ako jednotlivcov snaží zahnať do kúta egoizmu, aby sme sami bojovali proti všetkým.

    Reply
    • richo
      Mon, 16. July , 2018

      Aké je to krásne stretnúť človeka, ktorý hovorí tvojim jazykom. Priblížiť sa k duši a vidieť svet ako jeden. Veľká vďaka Miro za tvoje krásne slová a ešte viac za to že v deň mojich narodenín hovoríš že som nositeľom poslania aj keď o tom neviem. Vždy som si myslel že ide o niečo viac ako o chleba do úst.

      Reply
  2. JPH
    Tue, 17. July , 2018

    Good read, Richard.

    Found it interesting and sad, the already known deficiency in the educational system in the country I reside in, as compared to others. Such emphasis in your education’s insistence of learning and knowing a language outside of your native tongue, something that is so not the way here – “you’re in ‘merica, all you need to know to speak is ‘merican.”

    I know I have commended you before, when you may have criticized yourself in probably not expressing what you were wanting, in my my only known english language, my saying that you had nothing to apologize for, as I could not at all reciprocate and communicate to you in your native tongue…. just interesting on my end to hear your telling of this episode from your youth, how it effected you, your life.

    Liked your roundabout analogy… I can certainly relate to that.

    Wishing you well, sir.

    Reply
  3. Saurav
    Wed, 18. July , 2018

    The quote you have selected from Epictetus is so apt ! As you have rightly said, try to apply the same.

    When people do what they like to do, they normally don’t feel stress. Doing only what one likes to do is not always possible. Do sincerely whatever is within your limits/capabilities/power and be happy with that – don’t tie your happiness to the results of your work.

    Ignorance or capability to ignore is a bliss at times !

    Reply
  4. dave beckerman
    Thu, 6. September , 2018

    I’m older than you, so I can offer you something to look forward to. I too had a terrible relationship with the school system. I won’t go into it here but let you know it wasn’t until I was in graduate film school at the age of 28 that I felt comfortable and excited by what was being offered.

    Not sure when it happened, but somewhere in my early 60s, I found that I didn’t care at all what people thought about me; or how to react or not react to events that were beyond my control. I ran out of money, had / have health issues… serious but not deadly ones.

    In earlier days, I did a lot of Zen meditation, because I was fearful all the time. I don’t meditate any longer, but I carry those moments of inner peace with me, usually. I put my life in the hands of a higher power. No, not God. Not Buddha. Just a feeling that fate was a spinning roulette wheel in the sky; and I had placed my bets. Some worked out. Some didn’t.

    That deadening thing with school, especially early schooling, is universal. And depends a lot (again) on the “luck of the draw.” The wheel of fate. One year I failed French miserably. The next I had a wonderful French teacher who read to us great French stories, and that year I passed French with an A plus.

    Reply
  5. Paul Dlugos
    Thu, 11. October , 2018

    Hello Richard,
    I don’t know if this person is in jail or just in some dead end job waiting for his next assignment but it is very stressful for me to view. I think you conveyed that very well although I don’t know if I would have quite ‘gotten it’ with reading you notes on school.

    I too was miserable in school from the very beginning and I believe there was physical & mental abuse involved although I can’t prove anything as it was so many years ago and there are only a few people around who experienced something similar. This affected my entire life – especially creatively – until I was in my 60s and finally started to work my way out of it and I’m still working on it.

    I like the way you put your words to the photos – it means a lot to the interpretation.

    Reply
    • richo
      Fri, 12. October , 2018

      Paul, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am really glad you like my writings with images.

      This ever occurring fight with things which creates tension and stress in my mind is not that heavy. What makes much bigger effect on me is that disappointment that you can not change some things, even not the things which effects you very personally.

      Reply

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