Exile is failure, and reality is always ZERO



Beep-beep, beep-beep. Here is the news at 22:28.

Brand Smit, writer of yesteryear, still under house arrest after the shocking and unexpected return to a position of power of the Commercial Dictator  a year ago, has come to the following realisation: After eight years in Taiwan, and two years of true love, he is indeed still in exile.

“I have been in this place for eight years,” he announced to his beloved a few minutes ago, “and two of those years have been with you, my true love. If I still cannot call this place my home, when will I?”

“Where is your home then?” his beloved was on the verge of asking when he pre-empted her. “In no way do I mean to say that South Africa is my home!

“No,” he continued, “I am still in exile because I have no money.”

And as he rubbed his thumb against his crooked index finger, he announced solemnly, “My exile has nothing to do with place; it has to do with ability. I am in exile because I have failed.”


HOME is not necessarily a single geographical place. HOME is where you have the ability to do what you want. HOME – is where you are free.


Last weekend, just before I fell asleep one night, the idea of rebirth struck again. And I know: as the current incarnation of BRAND SMIT is slowly dying, so the next, stronger incarnation is growing.

Sunday I thought back to my July 2003 holiday in South Africa, and how I had felt about my life at that time. I read Natasja a few pages from “Exile 14” – including text about the rebirth that had taken place in the first half of 2003. I realised that there was something about that time that is absent now. The only possibility: “Personal Agenda”.

Then it hit me: focal point of identity.

From March 2003 until the beginning of last year, “Personal Agenda” and other literary projects were the axis around which my identity revolved. I was a writer, and I could show what I meant.

Who and what am I now if daily activities are an indication of identity? I am an entrepreneur – without money; and I am a master of projects – who can’t seem to finish anything he works on.


It is simply amazing: Reality is always ZERO. Things will change, your life will improve, sometimes by leaps and bounds, but the next day your reality is still ZERO.

You will protest and say, “How can it still be ZERO after what happened yesterday, or with this new technology that I have acquired that will make my life so much easier?”

The fact is, things that change get absorbed; the circle closes, and the New Reality becomes the New ZERO. As if things have always been like that.


An idea hit me a few days ago: Everyone is vulnerable. Everyone. There is not a single soul on this planet who is not vulnerable in some way, at some or other time.

This may compel one to recognise that we are all in trouble – or in slightly alternative wording, that we are all fucked. Is it not so?

Only one possibility remains: to look out for each other.


Has to make money, don’t want to do nine-to-five, don’t want to call anyone “Boss”, don’t want to be bored or stuck in a place with rules that dictate when you may go outside. Has written much, but doesn’t want to submit material for commercial approval, or make changes to material for the sake of commercial acceptability.

Until recently I thought I was in trouble, and then I discovered that you can do more on the Internet than just e-mail and search for information.

[Two undated notes from later in 2007]

Says one guy: Multiple sources of income are all fair and well, but if you give people looking for opportunities to make money on the Internet too many options, they will choose not to decide.

* * *

It would always have been a dangerous combination: dozens of possibilities and my strong inclination towards excessive ambition. This combination struck in February 2006.


1. Thirteen years ago I wanted to be a hermit.

2. An aversion to any conventional position of employment is virtually a characteristic of my personality.

3. Three years ago I wrote a lot about non-appearance (“Desert or City?”)

4. I feel drained, and wonder if it’s time for my annual “Big Fatigue”.

5. Tuesday on the train the idea of retirement hit me as an ultimate ideal.

The pattern is clear enough. But in the meantime I have to survive.