El-Branden Brazil

Photographer, Writer & Mystic Traveller

Posts from the ‘Thoughts About Our World’ category

A Fair World

I am by nature what some would consider “Leftwing”. My ideological tendencies do not come from some sort of perverse Stalinist fantasy or the belief that we should live an existence under some idiotic regime, as they do in North Korea. My beliefs in human welfare have nothing whatsoever to do with such horrifically distorted visions of Socialism, where the extreme ego of one dominates the masses. Quite the opposite in every way. I simply believe in COMPASSION and OPPORTUNITY for ALL!

I believe in the potential of all to be allowed to flourish unhindered. To do this, we need higher education to be available to ALL. For reasons I do not understand, but assume is decided out of fear of having an educated population, education still remains a privilege, which is frankly ridiculous! Everyone’s intellectual potential should be allowed every opportunity to flourish. This is good for the individual, good for the community, good for the country and good for the world. I wonder how much great talent has been stunted and lost because of poverty, lack of opportunity and elitist governance?

I also believe that we must evaluate accurately those most in need, and support them fairly, whilst allowing them dignity without prejudice.

ALL of us play in a funny fantasy of money; a socially accepted system of value, where bits of paper and metal are assumed to have worth, and that you get a share of this assumed equal to the hours of labour (life time before death) you put into your work. After this, we pay taxes for services to keep society functioning, like sewage, garbage collection, road and bridge maintenance and so on… All, we hope, paying for the parts that make society comfortable, ignoring conveniently war adventurism.

We trust in our governments (or blindly follow) in paying what we are told to pay. This would be fine, if the rule book were the same for everyone. Unfortunately, as we have learned all too well, the tax system in many countries is loaded in favour of the rich, where those that have are allowed to pay the minimum, whilst those that don’t have are royally shafted!

Socialism is about a fair game for all, and yes, whilst there have been so-called “socialist experiments” that have turned into nightmares through the last century, socialism as a source of hope that ALL can get a fair chance on our tiny rock in space still remains. WE must ALL work together to provide for those that don’t have. WE must ALL fight for the the protection of workers! WE must ALL work to protect the environment! WE must ALL fight for human rights! WE must ALL fight for liberty from intolerance! WE must celebrate our differences, whilst celebrating our shared humanity! We must provide security, education, healthcare and maximise the potential of EVERY human-being!

A Scene On Mae Sot Dump, ThailandPhotography by El-Branden Brazil

The Zeitgeist

In response to the results of unbridled capitalism, banksters, austerity, exploitation of workers and the unfair distribution of wealth, there is clearly a growing global movement that is shifting towards the left, seeking a fairer, compassionate and responsible world.

The rise of the likes of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn is testament of the zeitgeist which the elites and the traditional media are desperately trying to stop, but failing. They may attempt to misrepresent and disparage these men, but the people are waking and can see beyond these crude smear tactics. The people can see that the world has been unfairly rigged in favour of the few, and they want real change and they want it now.

There will be those who scoff at such notions, holding onto redundant social structures. But, the inevitability and necessity for change will soon become apparent, even to those whose heads remain deeply imbedded in the ground. A much better, healthier world can be created for ALL.

Sun-Bleached
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Believing In The Real

I have no time for beliefs in the supernatural anymore. I only believe in what is tangible and real in this moment. What lies beyond death will be what it will be at that time, but it has no relevance now, except as a pointless game of speculation.

If there is a God, then whatever it may be will be just as natural as I. A permutation of existence, all-encompassing, entirely universal, abstract and beyond the lexicon of language. God does not need to be called “God”. Likewise, I do not need to be called “I”.

We are continually faced with the inadequacy of language to encapsulate the whole without division or separation. The labels applied to things by words, blind us from seeing things as they truly are, often leading us into beliefs of delusion and fantasy. We have a tendency to fill in the gaps of our knowledge with fanciful ideas, however unproven, to comfort us.

What I am far more interested in are patterns of behaviour that transform the world we live right now. Actions based upon compassion and love, applied through a prism of wisdom, whether by a Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Pagan, Buddhist… have very real effects upon our world. These behaviours should be cultivated and encouraged, because by nature they neutralise the effects of negative activities. They inspire, comfort and increase harmony within communities. We don’t need to have faith in speculative concepts, we just need to observe the results of positive actions, such as compassion. They are apparent, without the need to believe in anything supernatural. There is no reason to believe in the unreal, when the real is so much more magical. It is simply a matter of how we wish to see; a choice of perspective.

…Truth is the manifest of reality as it truly is, not what we wish it to be.

Blossom Blooming At A Zen Temple In Kamakura, Japan
Blossom Blooming At A Zen Temple In Kamakura, Japan
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Cages Of Our Configuration

We are trapped within a variety of cages of complexity and ideas, to which some of us will remain forever shackled. Each cage is uniquely finessed for each inmate. Some are permitted to look out beyond the bars of their cage. Others have a dark curtain draped over their cage. Some have no bars on their cage, but stay within it, regardless. Others are chained to the cage, but have stepped outside of it, afraid to step back in. Occasionally, there are those who fly freely within and outside of the cages. And the rare ones get to soar beyond the room of cages itself towards complete, immaculate liberation…

A Japanese Bird Of Prey In Flight
Words & Photography by El-Branden Brazil

The Stream Of Consciousness

We are each unique configurations in which consciousness expresses itself. Consciousness is without definition, but is shaped by form, just as water is shaped by the geography of a river it passes through. The differences and sense of separation are illusory, as water always remains water, consciousness always remains consciousness.

The Sun Setting Over The Mekong In Laos
The Sun Setting Over The Mekong In Laos
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Against The Flow

Humans have to get over the mistaken, ego-centric belief that we are invincible. Nature permits us the right to live, but equally, could snuff us out in a wink.

There are processes going on far greater than ourselves, and by not flowing within the parameters of these processes, we have become an irritant. We are dirt in the cogs, and as a result, we have harmed our planet and we are harming ourselves, because of our myopic shortcomings.

Fishing Near Lake Inle, Burma
Fishing Near Lake Inle
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Changing Our Ways

I just scrolled through all my posts on Facebook the past few days, and I felt sad. There is so much unnecessary cruelty in the world. I try my best to bring awareness, so that people with voices will speak out. We all have to speak out! Enough violence! Enough abuse of the planet! Enough greed! Enough hate! Enough war! Enough prejudice! Enough! Enough! Enough!

Unless you have been anaesthetised, I think we all share in a very palpable fear that we, as humans, have not made the best decisions for our future. There is both an equal amount of frustration, apathy and confusion that is clouding us from making the bold decisions that we need to make, to bring a future suitable for our grandchildren. There is no time to lose, and we need to be firm in our commitment to each other, regardless of creed, to build bridges between those we feel do not understand us. We must be self-aware and see our own mistakes equally to the mistakes we see in others. We must all accept that we are flawed, but there is always another sunrise upon which to build an improved, better world.

Vision, compassion and wisdom are not some folksy terminology: They are paramount expressions of noble human activity. ACTIVATE THEM!

Shifting Sahara Sands
Shifting Sahara Sands
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

The Moment

In a brief moment,
I peered out upon the stars
And knew that we were one.
That seeming separation
And that vast distance between us
Was as relevant as non-existence.
That I was never ever alone
And even “I” was mere illusion.
For in that passing, fleeting second
I realized time was just delusion.
Observing the cosmic splendor
I remained humble in ecstatic fervour.
Recognizing momentarily
To appreciate all that is sacred
And to exist without burden.

Sunrise On The Nile
Sunrise On The Nile
Photography & Words by El-Branden Brazil

Our Beliefs

Unless we know something to be 100% true or 100% untrue, it is better to be open-minded, neither believing nor non-believing, but always curious and asking questions. It makes for a much more interesting life, allowing an engagement with the magic of mystery to manifest.

Let me also add, that I have no interest or business trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking about anything. I certainly am not arrogant enough to think that my thoughts are any more right than someone else’s. We are all on our individual journeys, trying to get through life, as well as understand it. The conclusions we reach are ours alone.

Lighting Incense At A Hong Kong Temple
Lighting Incense At A Hong Kong Temple
Photography & Words by El-Branden Brazil

Accepting An Impermanent Universe

In the process of change comes uncertainty. For some, this is a positive opportunity for development, progress, creativity and fresh ideas. For others, it produces anxiety, disturbance and fear of the unknown and unfamiliar. Those who fear change will try to do whatever they can to retain the status-quo they feel most comfortable in. The reality is that this is pointless and in contrast to a universe that is in constant flux. Nothing remains the same.

It is far better to accept the inevitability of change, whether it be in society or the leaves on a tree, or even the eventuality of death. The processes of birth, decomposition and renewal are all about us daily to observe and learn.

Likewise, holding onto myths of nationalism, ethnicity and so on, to the point where violence is even applied to protect them, is folly behaviour in extreme. It is like trying to retain the petals of a flower in a typhoon: The inevitable will happen, whether we like it or not. Change will come, and we had best learn to adapt and flow with it, rather than to resist.

Granite is a strong natural material, but over time, it will be reduced to nothing. As an ancient proverb says, it is better to be bamboo that bends in the wind, rather than bamboo that does not.

A Lotus Blooms At A Japanese Zen Temple
A Lotus Blooms At Japanese Zen Temple
Photography by El-Branden Brazil