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Meanderings [tl/dr]
Old 10-13-2009, 10:47 PM   #1
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Default Meanderings [tl/dr]

There's a Goddess In My Life

There seems to be a Goddess kind of trend going on in my life lately.

The other day I responded to a couple of guys who were complaining about women-only web stuff they've been dealing with.

I said that women make less money across the board and generally wind up being single mothers to boot, and face rampant discrimination from men in everyday life- and I illustrated the point by talking about some of the issues I've had in my own life.

One of the guys said that I "obviously have issues". I responded by saying that "issues" is shorthand for "you're f'ked up so I'm dismissing your discussion". The other one started going off about how women don't appreciate their gifts and play the victim all the time. I retorted, "stereotype much?" and did my best to bring it back to the topic at hand- but I probably failed. Both of them were trying to have an argument with me- and the only point I really wanted to make was that a lot of women HAVE been discriminated against, and as a result they mistakenly believe that the best way to circumvent that problem is to reverse-discriminate [which I disagree with].

Then today I saw a few things that caused me to revisit that ...um... discussion?

First, Marge Simpson is on the cover of November's Playboy Magazine. Awesome. Not only do I get to "compete" with silicone-enhanced, airbrushed 20 year olds, but now it's gone to a 2D representation of a representation of What Is Sexy. So it's down to a pure symbol. I might as well be measured against Pi.

Second, Rush Limbaugh is to judge the Miss America Pageant. In Vegas. So the biggest lying fat idiot to program the right-wing minds is also going to be the arbiter of womanly talent and beauty according to Traditional [aka Playboy et al] mores.

We're getting into - i . here, the realm of imaginary numbers...

and then Third, Nancy Pelosi is under fire by the Rovebots for turning down General McChrystal's request for more troops in Afghanistan.

The piece goes on a bit about the GOP's sexist rhetoric:

"If Nancy Pelosi's failed economic policies are any indicator of the effect she may have on Afghanistan, taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place," concluded the release, setting off a barrage of criticism from Democrats and liberal blogs that the GOP was employing sexist rhetoric.

Pelosi herself weighed in Thursday at her weekly press briefing.

"It's really sad they really don't understand how inappropriate that is," Pelosi said. "I'm in my place -- I'm the Speaker of the House, the first woman Speaker of the House, and I'm in my place because the House of Representatives voted me there. But that language is something I haven't heard in decades."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) went further in her criticism Tuesday, saying the GOP's rhetoric was "not surprising, coming from a party that's 80 percent male and 100 percent white."

What the press [Washington Post] doesn't mention in its article is that McChrystal first presented the report to Gates, a lifelong devotee of the Nixon/Reagan/BushI/BushII/
Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz dynasty. And that dynasty [which was put into place by Prescott Bush in the form of Richard Milhouse Nixon] has a longterm agenda that has nothing to do with the interests of the American people.

The report was made public and farmed by the Rovebots to the press, and they're denigrating the Speaker's decision IN the press, because they really really really want the Gates agenda to move forward- and McChrystal is working for that same agenda.

The Bushites are a corporatist [in every sense of the word] dynasty that put us into Iraq for the sake of its oil interests, put us into Afghanistan for the sake of its TAPI pipelines, and is trying to put us into Iran for the same reason. Their agenda is to get as much money out of this nation as they can and further their own wealth agenda.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then I strongly suggest reading the biographies of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, and learn which White House administrations they worked in, and which corporations they rotated out to in between times.

The Pelosi story isn't that she's a feminist under fire, it's that she's telling these wannabe elites that they no longer can have our young people as cannon fodder in order to rob the system for their own personal gain.

Interesting that the papers don't cover that end of things. Instead we get "he said/ she said" and the posturing about rhetoric and the competency/ incompetency of personalities. Nothing about the true issue, which is a matter of life or death for both our military people and the Afghanis [and anybody in the way of the TAPI pipeline, I'm sure].

But, as those guys said in that other exchange, I obviously have "issues".

Yep.

Thank you, Goddess.


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Old 10-13-2009, 10:48 PM   #2
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spleen Venting

All my life, I’ve noticed a huge difference between the people who work for themselves and have to accomplish something to get paid, and people who've spent their time climbing the "attaboy" ladder.

The “attaboy” ladder starts in elementary school, when kids who get A’s and follow the lead of the authority-figure teacher and don’t ask the wrong questions get rewarded and moved up, and kids who make things difficult for the authority-figure get marginalized and punished.

It continues through high school and college. And that’s all fine, it’s innocent enough, except that the scope and content of “academics” in this country has increasingly been molded by corporate/ wannabe elitist interests, and therefore the intended product of the 12-16 years of mindf’king in the factory school is a nice generic corporate factory worker.

An ideal citizen, to that system, is an unquestioning rote-spitting drone whose sole purpose in life is the swallowing and regurgitation of whatever is handed to hir, in the form of forms or assembly line products or sales- and the pleasing of the boss- in return for a paycheck that provides just barely enough for a vinyl-sided palazzo and ample carcinogenic carbs to pad the asses of one’s self, one’s mate, and one’s 2.5 grubs and Playstation.

And here we are after years of shoehorning people into that box, 9-11’d, smelling acrid smoke [it’s the bodies] and wondering why our financial house is falling down.

Whereas somebody who works [and/or thinks] for themselves has the dubious distinction of having to deliver something tangible- be it a faux finish or a Mickey Mouse mural in a vinyl sided palazzo or the repair of a toilet, it has to occur in reality, or the person doesn’t get paid [and sometimes even then, the fatassed drones feel justified in not paying for the artwork they’ve redecorated around]. There is no “security” in such a life, but that’s one’s own damn fault for not being a good respectable drone.

We've seen the difference between the two models over and over again when we look at what we're going through as Rome, New York burns. The "attaboy" kids have been shoving the actual doers out of the way for decades now, destroying the foundations of the hierarchy they have inherited by dint of entitlement. Incompetent flash, rooted in social eugenicism, has trumped actual effort. Corporate has trashed Labor. Theft has triumphed over the fruits of one’s toil. The work of our grandparents in the unions has faded out of memory, and we the grandchildren would not pay their like a living wage now. Not cost effective.

If you’re stupid enough to be someone who works with their hands creating actual buildings, or clothing, or food, or art, or if you’re some other good-for-nothing free thinking noncorporate person, like a writer, and you ask that any vinyl sided palazzo designated perks be extended your way, by God you’re a Commie, and Rush Limbaugh’s gonna beat you up [although, being a fat assed lifelong corporate ass kisser himself, those of us who’ve actually used our muscles in recent years will probably break him like a stale Starbucks biscotti].

We have a society that has spent billions valuing Clever Tricksters who can game the system and keep the money away from the workers [by sending the jobs overseas to slave labor camps] and then we stand agog when they do what they’ve been trained all their lives- socially and fiscally- to do. Endemic sociopathy does that.

It’s not the same thing, though, when it’s the Middle Class [or Upper Middle Class]. We’re Entitled. How dare they?

But it's not the Tricksters per se that are at fault, it's the system. And we’re all in it.

Corporations are golems. They are artificial constructs built for the sole purpose of acquiring wealth. They are mindless predators. They swoop into an econo-system that has taken centuries to grow, they suck the wealth out of it, and they move on. Giving a corporation “personhood” is like flooding a nursery school and giving the keys to a great white shark. Of COURSE they’re going to destroy every person in their path- humans are not considered wealth, they are ancillary, and therefore what happens to them is unimportant.

We continue to organize ourselves within a gigantic pyramid scheme. We continue to believe that people raised to be Clever Tricksters all their lives, with bullshit and social standing as their foundations, are somehow superior.

These people, who honestly believe that sociopathic behavior worthy of a follower of Molech somehow renders them "elites", spoiled princesses [male and female alike] who have no understanding of the fact that every living thing is a miracle in a universe bereft of any other life, these people are in need of a real education about what is precious.

I'd much rather know a carpenter with solid skills than ANY Wall Street whiz kid, any day- even before the crash. A carpenter is USEFUL. A “whiz kid” knows whose ass to kiss and how to get lucky and cash in on it. A “whiz kid” has been carefully taught that people are disposable, that value is determined by trickle-down, and that a good lie is an acceptable substitute for an inconvenient truth. The ideal of Entitlement is the only one [s]he understands.

And here we are, Katrina’d, wondering where the formaldehyde smell is coming from in our trailer [it’s the bodies].

As for the assignment of blame? I’m sick of listening to it. I’m to blame- for not telling the lying sacks of shyte I’ve come across in my life- more frequently- that they’re lying sacks of shyte. I’m to blame for not standing on a corner wearing a sandwich sign reading “You stupid selfish thieving bastards should be shot.” I’m to blame for not immediately slashing the tires of every fucking Ford Explorer or Hummer I ever saw.

Do you really need to blame somebody? [and is that all you know how to do?] In that case, blame our systems, our illusions, and our perceptions [or lack thereof]. Blame every person who’s ever watched the morons on television for more than five minutes a day.

Blame every mindless gum-chewing factory worker who refuses to find out anything about politics. Blame every politician who thinks that mindless gum-chewing factory workers aren’t worth their concern or honor.

Blame every teacher who is satisfied to only tell their pupils what is written in the texts the corporate publishers have issued. Blame every pastor who has not challenged his parishioners to forgive. Blame every rabbi who hasn’t demanded that her parishioners rise up and help the poor. Blame every CEO who helicopters to work over the projects in the Bronx. Blame every stupid fat lying radio show host who knows he’s a schmuck and doesn’t choose to change the fact. Blame every sponsor and producer of said radio show for propagating hatred in this great nation.

Here we are Bernie’d, wondering who the shadowy figures are in the corners of our mental alley [it’s the bodies].

Our values are in need of serious review, and our systems of organizing as well. I've gone on at length on this subject, it's my dead horse to beat [see "the pyramid and the net" for more of same]. Top-down is a relic of Roman Empire, eugenics and class are relics of the British Empire, and the concept of monoculture goes all the way back to Egypt.

THEY ARE LONG-DEAD EMPIRES. WHY ARE WE EMULATING THEM? As we’ve seen via study in all the sciences: monoculture is dangerously weak in any environmental system- or social system- or military system- or monetary system. It’s not even good for a diet. We must learn to value diversity- strongly- if we’re going to survive.

That means diversity of thinking, doing, and being. The only thing we should all have in common is a purpose as a people. And defining our purpose as a people can be very simple, clear, and common: in order to survive, we must now save the life force that the previous generations have done so much to destroy. And the first step towards that is to begin to value humans above golems, whales before fishing boats, coral reefs before oil rigs, homes before mortgage companies- and so forth.

Get over how freaking right “you” are and how freaking wrong “they” are and start cleaning up the mess we’ve all made. Stop thinking that “them who has, gits”- or you’ll be the next one gotten. Stop believing that if you somehow kiss the right ass, you'll escape, or that somebody else hadn't done something right and that's how they fell.

There are people starving on the streets of America, you pompous ass, and if you have a package of Ramen Noodles, you should be out there giving it away. Right now.

Consider it a tithe for the privilege of sitting in a heated home reading my bullshit on the internet instead of doing something tangible.

I’m tired of reading about all the bodies.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:48 PM   #3
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Art Snit

The article at the end of this post appeared as a quicklink in OpEd News [which is one of the best places around to find all manner of things, from the ridiculous to the sublime]. [ :P ]

Once I read it, I was in a full-blown snit. Not a peeve, or a slow boil, or even a huff, but a SNIT.

The subject of the article hits close to home- years ago I wrote a few pieces for a zine called "Art and Politics Magazine"- which had a run of, oh, five [I think?] issues.

One of the articles I wrote had to do with Jesse Helms and his attack on the arts. One of the facts I mentioned was that the US ranked LAST among Western nations for arts funding BEFORE Helms won his Victory Against Civilisation and relegated our society to the tarpit of the history of cultural evolution.

It says a great deal about us that the "Army Experience Center" in Philadelphia is protected so passionately by Philly's Finest that reporters are getting arrested for covering protests there, while Glen Beck's Zombie Nation can march around the President of the US with loaded firearms and nobody says "boo".

It says a great deal about us that when I went to the Philadelphia Art Museum several years ago, I happened to overhear the guide discussing the Monets there- or rather, NOT discussing them. She was able to talk about his personal life in detail, but knew absolutely nothing about what he was doing on the canvasses behind her. And consequently the people there to learn about Monet know absolutely nothing as a result of her tutelage as well.

It says a great deal about us that Van Gogh is romanticized for going mad and dying in poverty and now his canvasses bring the fishmongers- I mean, art dealers- millions of dollars. Meanwhile struggling artists in the here and now have to work day jobs that break their bodies and wrack their souls just to survive- let alone buy canvas and paints. The people who romanticize the dead guys don't get that they're doing the exact same thing to the living ones. The people who buy the million-dollar relics of the dead are members of the Cult of Osiris.

I was trained by two American masters, both of whom slapped me on the back and said, "go paint already, you're an artist!" I know what the masters were doing, and why they did it, and the significance of it. I understand where the cultural threads came from and where they're going.

I have walked friends through the Metropolitan Museum and blown their minds with the stuff I learned.

There's a reason that Europeans hold their artists in high regard [and it's why I would love to pack up and move back to France for good- because there my profession is considered one]. The reason is that they are educated. They know what artists are/were doing, and they know how valuable it is. People in the US are completely ignorant, and it's pathetic in a supposed "great" power.

We have power, but we are by no means "great" any more. Not since we learned to devalue human creativity, inspiration, and new thinking.

People like Beck make that achingly apparent.

I would love to blow Glen Beck's mind as well, but he probably couldn't begin to understand what he was looking at even with the Idiot's Guide, which I have no intention of writing for his benefit.

Anyway, I really have no time for loudmouthed assholes whose life's ambition is to foster hatred and fear in a country already suffering from the consequences of listening to those same loudmouthed assholes, going into two illegal wars, and crashing the economy.

Suffice it to say that the above sentence summarizes the mark Beck will make on history- with much the same durability as a stone skipping across the surface of a pond. Or maybe the scum sitting ON the pond. And the artists he's trying to stomp on? Guess what, Glen? Artists' work endures long after their critics and character assassins are dead. It's our special power, and the one thing you and your hateful nasty zombie hordes can't kill.

One of Rembrandt's last self-portraits shows him laughing maniacally. Why? Because he realized that he was going to die, and his critics and creditors could no longer hound and harass him.

And he knew that he had become great. He would be remembered for all time, and the people who had made his life a living hell? were absolute nobodies in the scheme of things.

Ars longa, vita brevis, shithead.

All that said, here's what my snit is all about [pay attention, Billy Name, your old friends are in here too]:

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/rev...tic9-11-09.asp

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:49 PM   #4
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more later maybe.
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:14 PM   #5
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Anti-American [October 2008]

In the march to total domination of any culture, fascists and extremists have always- ALWAYS- fallen back on the 'us and them' mentality that justifies their hatefulness and extremism. After all, if they serve the Great Righteous One, and there is someone out there who is their Great Opponent, whatever means are necessary to protect themselves are reasonable. So Jews and philosophers, infidel Christians and astronomers, Native Americans and women who refuse to cover their heads are expendable collateral damage in the push for whatever triumph of domination the group of the moment is after, because the greater Unknown Enemy must be defeated and the Great Righteous One must triumph.

Well, two nights ago Michelle Bachman, the Republican Minnesotan of extreme evangelical bent, used the words that Sarah Palin, the Republican Alaskan who has been declared 'annointed' to head the country by a Kenyan witch-hunter preacher, hadn't yet dared to utter. She said that people in this country who thought differently than she does about the world are 'anti-American'.

And synopsized the entire struggle we are up against in a nutshell.


On one side of this struggle are the 'deciders', the people who have an immovable vision of how their world should be, the people whose world has no room for change, growth, different opinions, or actual freedom because it is the world of Rules. Their world is ordained by their authority figures, be they evangelical preachers, heads of parties, oil company executives, or The Bible [as they have it], and any variance from their interpretation of that rulebook is of course against it- and therefore 'anti'. This is their approach to 'safety'- since the world is ordained and ruled and controlled by their Big Boss [of course it's the Almighty God, who could argue with Him?], they are covered. And since they are arrogant enough to assume that only their vision is from the Divine, and only their approach to the world is of importance, they appropriate the moniker 'American' [all that's good and holy about it] for themselves and add the gloss of patriotism to the wrappings on their tiny little mental box. And it is therefore only logical that those who oppose their packaged view are 'anti' 'American'.

On the other side of the struggle are people who have spent some time trying to explode their own boxes, or at least cut windows into them, have spent time learning to see through the eyes of others, have learned the difference between their own opinions and What Is. Truth is a very large very difficult subject, and it would be presumptuous in the extreme to try to define it, but I do know what it is not- it is not limited by the wishes of humans, it is not something any one person has the rights to, and it becomes a monster whenever it is distorted and manipulated by will or by willful illusion in order to serve the mere whim of mortals. The Truth will set you free- not tie you to dogma.

Those of us who are 'anti' the packaged version of Reality which has brought us two endless wars, a destroyed economy, a potentially destroyed nation, a schism between reason and faith, unworkable dogmas in active policy, and a population so ill-educated that they do not even know what facts are- let alone the Truth- those of us who are 'anti' The Big Illusion would do very well to start poking the people who are asleep or hypnotized in an effort to get them up and moving out of this burning theater now.

The clarity of intent behind Bachman's moronic, age-old assertion- that she is an 'us', and everybody who disagrees with her is a 'them'- that intent has been seen over and over again throughout history, and whenever it surfaces, it is the lead-in to other much more horrifying events, because it is the alarm bell that the hubris of the dogmatists has hit critical mass.

As if the total suppression of human rights and liberties by truthless [never mind Godless] manipulators for the purposes of their own megalomaniacal advancement weren't horrifying enough in the abstract and scattered praxis where we've seen it, now they seek to put in harness the zombie drones they've created with their endless misinformation, and use them against those of us who think outside their box.

The 'deciders' have come out of the closet, which means that they think they're powerful enough to act. I really don't want them to. Do you?
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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The Pyramid and the Net [November 2008]

During its heyday, the Roman Empire built and ran systems for living that rivaled those we have today. Roman roads are to this day solid and walkable, aqueducts that once delivered water to homes are monuments to ancient engineers today, trade with the entire world was commonplace, educated citizens read and wrote, Latin was a second language and Roman currency was accepted all over the Mediterranean and as far north as England. Their vast and disciplined military kept order and provided opportunity for citizens to advance socially, and people from recently conquered states could obtain citizenship through service. On many fronts, Rome did a pretty good job as an empire.

When this mighty empire later went down the Commode [after Commodus, one of the worst emperors in world history], all of these systems for living went down with it. Far flung cities formerly dependant upon secure trading routes were cut off from their supply lines. Items that had been commonplace became scarce. Food supplies were at risk, protection from robbers and barbarians became nonexistent. Learning became patchy at best- building techniques and technologies were lost to the entropic effects of history.

During the centuries that followed, Europe went into what has been called its “Dark Ages”, a decline of centuries that took centuries more of recovery to overcome. The distortions and shadows of that era are with us to this day, and darken our own thinking and actions in innumerable ways.

We are standing on the brink of another potential Dark Age here and now. Make no mistake, our systems are about to fail, our food supply is at risk, our societal security and political stability are eroding worldwide. We are facing extremely serious fallout and must find the way to transcend it. Every essential of living- food, clothing, transportation, heat- has become inextricably entwined with cheap fuel, so that our very survival is keyed to the price of oil, and the price of oil is dictated by the whim of the merciless petrochemical corporations. Cheap fuel is no longer in the mix. We’re going to be feeling the consequences as we transition to something new.

The wonderful election which brought us hope and stopped the reign of our latter-day Commodus is not sufficient unto itself to tide the avalanche which the last thirty years of economic mindlessness has created. President-elect Obama, while a very intelligent and good man by all appearances, can only be the Grand Marshal to the parade that WE must create. The actual marching in that parade- and the direction it takes- is entirely up to us. And we have to start marching right this minute, so grab your sousaphones, kids.

The pundits, the bloggers, and the armchair warriors who are all standing in the orchestra pit waving their scores at the man have it all wrong. We need to do it for ourselves, President-elect Obama can move in Washington, but what needs to be done is outside the Beltway and is so huge and dire that FEMA couldn’t even begin to melt the ice for it- and no committee or thinktank has been working on the how-to yet.

Let’s go back again... What saved the remnants of civilization during the time of the Roman meltdown is what I believe will save our civilization now- especially if we organize sufficiently- rapidly enough- to do it in a preemptive manner, and avoid the worst of the crash. Then as now there was no major player within the system who knew what was going on, and there was no external force of any size other than the nascent Church to step in after the big system crashed in terms of the practical matters of survival- but there were seeds strewn across the landscape which slowly- over centuries- restored social systems and their systems of function as well as midwifing technological advances, and in the process created new networks for survival, from farming technologies to healthcare and teaching.

These were the monasteries.

I’m not recommending that everybody put on brown robes and take a vow of silence, here [although in some cases that too could be of help]. I’m talking about the idea that what worked to help society recover from the meltdown back then will probably serve to do the same thing now, and if we do it deliberately and carefully, doing this might even stave off the worst of the effects we face.

I’m advocating for decentralization of all of our systems, and removal of the top-down architecture of administration. This is something I’ve been talking about for more than ten years. It’s well past due for not only discussion, but implementation.

Our systems over the last century have, like those of the Romans, been predicated on the idea of centralization, of top-down, of megalith. In other words, we have a pyramid scheme in terms of how we get things done. This isn’t just in terms of physical organization, it’s also very much how we’ve been taught to think.

Back in the 90s, when the Internet was trying to be birthed, it was stalled for a while by the fact that the central servers were inadequate to handle the anticipated traffic. I wrote a letter to Senator Gore, who was involved with some of the people doing the thinking at the time, about Indra’s Net.

Indra’s Net is a metaphor that Douglass Hofstadtler talks about in his book, “Godel, Escher, Bach, An Eternal Golden Braid”. Indra’s Net has infinite threads that go horizontally through space and vertically through time. At every junction of these threads is a crystal bead- an individual human- and every bead contains the reflections of not only every other bead, but the reflections within every other bead, so that the infinity of the net is reflected, as with a hologram, within every single individual.

Shortly after I typed that letter out on my trusty IBM electric typewriter, things shifted. I like to think that letter might have had an influence. So despite the jokes, Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet- and neither did I- Indra did [with a little help from the brilliant Mr. Hofstadtler].

Right now, more than a decade later, we need to come to the realization that while the pyramid is an admirable geometrical form, and quite impressive as a megalithic construct, it’s a static object with limitations that render it unsuitable for the dynamism of a living flowing system- particularly one of great size.

We need to adapt instead to the idea of complex interconnected systems- systems that are predicated, like quarks, on both object and flow. Jonathan Donahue of Mercury Rev included my characterization of the Divine as being like a quark on the album "All Is Dream" with a little girl saying, “I’m a particle! I’m a wave! I’m a particle! I’m a wave!”. We need to adapt that mindset of being both at once, too. We’re individual people- particles- but we're also able to act and create- waves.

[cont'd]
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:16 PM   #7
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The Pyramid and the Net [part two]

The systems we need to create right now are ones that can handle the quark principle of being both something that is and something that acts. They also have to take into consideration the concept of Infinity in that “crystal bead” kind of way- interconnected and aware of one another, able to provide essentials for one’s self and one's neighbors, scaled to human needs and human endeavors, but also able to interact with the enormity of the world at large in a coherent manner. Like the internet, like the quarks that make up the fabric of Reality by continually bouncing off of one another, we must become flexible and self-contained in our local systems while remaining connected and interactive in our megasystems.

This is most emphatically NOT a call to “drop out” of the world’s systems. The old-school survivalist mentality- where one puts on camouflage gear and fills a bunker with canned goods and automatic weapons somewhere in the woods- isn’t suitable. There’s no corner of the globe- not even a cave in Afghanistan- where we can hide from the consequences of our interactions. It’s just like what is demonstrated by The Doppler effect, or Six Degrees of Separation. We have to get to the simple understanding that we are all tenuously clinging to this tiny speck of dust we call Earth which floats in a vast galactic sunbeam- the only dust mote in this corner of the Universe with any life at all on it. These realizations mean that we as a race [the Human race] need to grow up- now- and face our interconnectedness and the importance of sharing it responsibly.

We need to recognize that the hunter-gatherer mindset of corporate trading and predation is merely the latter-day invasion of the post-Roman barbarian hordes. They swoop in and take what they want, leaving behind devastation- and they do it on a global scale. The only difference is that the horned helmets have been replaced by suits, and the war axes with briefcases. Every man for himself isn’t going to work any more. The view is too narrow and shortsighted to make any sense for the longterm well-being of the population at large. We must preemptively remove ourselves from the corporate grid before the corporate players begin to operate at a loss, shut down their function, and remove large pieces of our support systems from play. We must interconnect as communities of responsible human beings, and create a webcentric system of self-sufficient supply, trade, and social connectivity. This is not about socialism, but actual free trade- capitalism the old-fashioned way, without the corporate cronyism pillaging the economic landscape.

We have the ability and the beginnings of the brass tacks to build self-contained and sustainable communities capable of trading with other self-contained sustainable communities. We can rebuild our micro-manufacturing base, remove our dollars from the Dollar Stores, and begin investing our time and money in CSAs and local craftspersons. In terms of energy efficiency and sustainability, we need only look as far as the nearest “hippies”, alternative schools, and universities. The pioneers of low-impact living have been doing the work since the 70s. As far as retrofitting and revamping the systems we have this is the perfect time, with infrastructure that is crumbling and an economy that needs boosting.

When I was still an active Rotarian, the former President of Central Hudson Electric Company came to speak. He talked about how CH only maintains the lines for the Hudson Valley, as of that time, and a large corporation out of Texas owns all the generating plants here in NYS. He talked about how the load on the lines and the systems’ infrastructure wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand. During the Q&A afterwards, I asked him what he foresaw as being the best system for power generation for the future. He said what I’m saying about all of our systems- communities need to create their own micro-generation systems and sell their power back to the grid. The young Jason West was sitting next to me, and when he became Mayor of New Paltz, he had solar panels installed on the Village Hall, and reed beds at the sanitation plant. New Paltz is much better off for those efforts.

The systems we need to create, like the ones in New Paltz, will be high-tech/low-tech. We can build comfortable and attractive, energy efficient underground houses, recycle our water, and plant vegetables on the roof. We can participate in CSAs and get better food, more cheaply. We can build urban high-rise farms- glass towers filled not with desks and computers but vegetables and fruit trees. We can minimize the corporate and Big Oil controls on our daily lives by removing the long-distance delivery goods from our daily lives. In short, we can reinvent the way we do things, and maximize our joy in the process.

We are the parade that the politicians like the good Mr. Obama get in front of. Let’s make it a great one.

fin.
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:20 PM   #8
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Dying Lions [April 09]

Today I saw an article in OEN talking about how the economy "has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome". As someone who has fibromyalgia, which is kind of like CFS, but with perks like muscle spasms, I felt a strong need to respond to this. The more I thought about it, the more I had to say about it. So here we are, I'm ruminating in an article about it now.

The economy doesn't have CFS. The economy is dying. There's a difference between having to adapt to an illness in order to function in the life one is accustomed to, and having to 86 the whole mess and start over.

We are in the position where the old mess is no longer redeemable. The mess comes down to us from the Greeks and Romans in the form of a philosophy of conquest- the idea that we are predators of the planet, conquistadors of life. The mess is an artificial construct that has gone completely FUBAR over the centuries.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."�� ~Benjamin Disraeli

Everything the average person in this country was taught in business school is a damned lie, usually predicated on Milton Friedmann's delightful boughten [by Rockefeller] philosophy of "the bottom line", and usually it is intimately entangled with the phenomenon of statistics to boot.

I've got news for Uncle Milty and all the suits in Wall Street.� Contrary to their self-delusion, it turns out that "The Bottom Line" is not the bottom line. The Life Force is the bottom line. Without the Life Force, this is just another naked rock hurtling through space. Without the Life Force, the very Masters of the Universe are nothing but bones in a box.

Because all of our budding businesspeople are weaned on that special nugget among all of the swinepearls of damned lies, the Friedmaniacal Ethos, they all aspire to becoming corporate bigwigs with corner offices. They've drunk the koolaid, which they use as the very foundation of operational dogma. The corporations they work for have in turn taken over our thinking, substituting jingoistic market-share driven bullshyte for actual wisdom in an effort to better create profits. "Shareholders" have replaced "citizens" as The People Who Matter. Wealthy celebrities are the false idols of the age.

Corporations are not about human beings- neither the ones who work for them nor the ones who buy from them- nor any living thing. They are basically human-built predators for profits- golems of gain. They swoop in and take the profit out of the environment they are predating upon, destroying every living thing that gets in the way in the process.

And so the West Virginia mountaintop is bulldozed for coal, or the pregnant Jamaican seamstress in the "free trade zone" works to exhaustion for not enough to eat and isn't allowed to go to the bathroom, or the Haitian farmers aren't allowed to grow food in order that Cargill can have market share of the starving population's grocery bill, or the massive corporate hog farm kills an entire river in Virginia, or the rainforest is mowed down for the sake of McDonald's burgers, or the PCBs are dumped into the Hudson River, carried out into the Gulf Stream, and circulated around the world, creating cancers wherever they go, and nobody takes responsibility.

The thing is that predators cannot long survive in the environment that they've completely tapped. In natural systems, when a group of hunter/gatherers has wiped out the herd or the grazing grounds, they move on. The land replenishes itself.�But when the "hunter" is global and corporate and the spoilage of the landscape is vast and ongoing, then there is no chance for healing or replenishing of the slow-grown wealth that the hunter initially came for- both the landscape and the hunter will inevitably die together. If they don't sustain the system they are feeding on, eventually the system can't sustain them.

We are seeing the global corporate hunter's death right now. This is not a temporary situation or even a "chronic illness", it is a simple inevitability. The system that we've grown accustomed to is on its way out because there is no way that it could continue.� It was and is recklessly unsustainable, both environmentally and fiscally. The lion is dying because he's eaten all of the gazelles, the speculation on the price of gazelles has tanked because there weren't enough gazelles to go around to begin with, and the lions still don't get the idea that they're either going to have to learn to eat grass or die themselves.

A fundamental change in perspective will bring us through to our future.�

We cannot assume that the Way Things Were is the Way Things Will Be- no epoch in human history has been able to do that. The sooner we stop pouting and throwing tantrums and carrying on, or wishfully pining for the fjords of former days, the sooner we can fix our very serious real right-now problems and get on with things.

We are in the midst of enormous- and necessary- fundamental changes, ones that have been a very long time in coming. The only effective way to deal with them is to be aware, keep our balance, and stop trying to make things the way they were, or to define the moment we're in by the moments that have passed. Our lives have already changed. We must adjust our behaviors- and our thinking- accordingly.

The idea of trading in land as a money-making scam was one of the strangest philosophies of the corporatist mindset that was introduced over recent [coupla-hundred] years. The environmental, social, and architectural monstrosities we've seen in this country are direct results of the disconnection between the humans and the land.

We think of plopping a shoebox house onto a rectangle of land, or "developing" huge malls as ways of "improving" the value of land. Our very treatment of the planet relates to the crazy consumer modality we've been programmed to.�

Gas station architecture, commuting to an office [why?], endless miles of ugly malls peddling tons and tons of garbage that fills millions of acres of dumps that pollute the landscape and the water table... supermarkets and fast food joints surrounded by seas of asphalt and stockpiled with corporate-farmed nonfoods that cause us to be ill- all are offshoots of this crazy-thinking philosophy that land [the skin of the very planet] is a trading commodity, a disposable toy.

In reality our food, shelter, health, wealth- the very Life Force [aka "true bottom line"]- is innately tied to the land.� Pretending it's another commodity for short-term speculation or the building of more disposable buildings has proven to be our undoing on many levels.

When we lose our home to a mortgage company, we've traded our right to be on the planet for trinkets and beads- or iPods and plasma tvs. When the corporate predators come in and destroy the slow-grown wealth of individuals faster than it can regenerate, in the form of Walmart or the WTO, they are ultimately the acting as the uroburos swallowing its own tail.� The very "environment" they are feeding upon is destroyed, and they will starve in the end.

I sometimes wonder if Kissinger's disdainful comment that we are the "eaters" [aka "consumers"] wasn't so much an analysis as a plan- more consuming means more profits, after all. People didn't tend to have the gimmes as much as they do now... and the things they "needed" were fewer as well. Buying widgets was never so popular as when the television started making them necessities of life. Meanwhile, we poor aphids don't seem to get that the corporatist predation of our life-force starts with us donating our time towards the getting of things. The Buddhists tell us that we don't own things, they own us. I think they're right- every thing I own requires some of my time in the form of caring for it.

In the very long run, the people who work for corporations will no longer work for them in the end, either due to the corporation closing or due to the end of their work life cycle, with nothing to show for their time on the planet but more trinkets and beads. �Their children will remember them by the trinkets and beads they leave behind, because their lifetimes will have been spent apart, at work, school, and other diversions.

The land will continue on, the strip malls and shoebox houses will slowly fade away like the ruins of the Maya- but quicker, and with less style. The septic tanks will outlast the buildings. Our descendants will either learn to grow a vegetable or starve, learn to value the truly finer things- like home and family, learning and love- or be driven from those homes. Hopefully, the Life Force will triumph over the lying, deluded predators that have brought us to this point, and heal itself over time.

If we make ourselves part of that healing process, letting the lions die and helping the land to heal, then we have a chance to become truly wealthy as gardeners of the planet. All wealth is cultivated- it is grown, built up, and slowly brought to fruition. The results, hopefully carefully tended, can be the seeds of more wealth- enough for everybody. Enough to make a civilization out of this crumbling, dying echo of the Roman empire.

But not the way it's been done in recent years, and not with the idea that we're all lions.
That has to change.
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:34 PM   #9
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Re. all the ideas in "The Pyramid and the Net": found this today and thought it of interest.

To me, it shows that the entire premise of "trickle down" has been a fantasy all along.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0830150109.htm
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:21 PM   #10
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Resentments

My oldest deepest character flaw. The thing I am most challenged by as I work on evolving. I've worked on this issue many times over the years, and I'm not sure it will ever be completely healed.

There are myriad ways in which I’ve been wronged in my life, don’t get me wrong. They’re not small things- some of them were literally criminal. The things I’m still angry about are valid reasons to be angry. I have had a great many resentments, starting from earliest childhood. None of the ones that remain are petty.

But the thing is, my righteous (?) anger is internal, and harms only me. The people who did these things- caused this pain and suffering- don’t/can’t/won’t ever care. So this enduring resentment and the pain I feel for these injuries only perpetuates my own suffering. It’s a form of ghost- my internal haunting re-enactment of the events that scarred me. I stab myself in the heart again whenever I go back over the unresolved loop-tapes, and the pain is fresh and new and paralyzing.

SO- I am letting go [again]. Slowly. Every time a painful memory comes up, I thank it for its service to me [such as it was- I resent my resentments!] and then tell it to go. I send with it the baggage of hurt, the low-simmering anger that attended its presence in my memories, and I close my mental door on it, waving good bye, throwing confetti, with a band playing. I mourn the lost good in relationships that were destructive to me, and I turn to face a new direction- the one where there’s a sunlit garden party with great eats, music, and people who love me.

I've been forgiving people for many years, don't get me wrong. I've been making it a mantra every time one of these things comes up. But I haven't been as actively examining my resentments' effects on ME, and doing what I can to eradicate them.

On many levels I’m a better person for having endured the things I’ve gone through. I have high levels of empathy for others who are suffering, I'm extremely good at understanding motivations and behavior patterns, I can “read” a person on sight when I want to, and I'm able to be a kind cynic and low-drama competent in the face of thieving manipulators. There are benefits to having suffered and learned.

However the pain I’ve kept around to wound myself with is unacceptable at this point in my life [finally… finally] and so it’s time to bid it farewell and make room in the old attic for some light and life-force, some better self-esteem and better tools for turning away the projections of others. These cobwebby resentments take up too much life-force altogether, feel icky when I walk into them, and block the light.

I'm a very good person- honorable and kind to a fault. My honesty sometimes gets me into trouble with people who don't like what I have to say, but I’ve managed to keep it more or less intact nonetheless. There are a few chips and dents, but it’s whole. All of the abusers and manipulators in my world worked hard to convince me that their lousy opinion of me was truth, but it wasn't. I withstood the attacks. This means I’m also a damned strong person, with a heart like a beautiful ruined castle. The castle is worth restoring and preserving. That’s what I will keep.

The rest of it can go.

The old “micro- macro” levels of perception are at work for me these days on this subject. I think internally and perceive globally.

I’m seeing people crash planes into buildings because of their resentments, or otherwise hurting themselves or others. I’m seeing political games played with peoples’ lives- fostered by antique resentments. I’m seeing ugliness and abuse in the public realm that is essentially resentment brought forth and projected outwards by idiots with access to the public. And closer to home, good friends of mine have come to me in recent weeks speaking about their own resentments, and their pain has been a mirror to my own.

So while I’m working on my own resentments [again], figuring out how to make my life less snared by them [again], trying to shed the weight of them [again], I'm also trying to figure out how to share that process with others so that their lives can be freer as well.

Is it just me, or would the world truly be a better place if more of us could do this?
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
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“I admire your creativity.”

A kind sentiment on Facebook triggered the avalanche of thoughts which I’m trying to sort out here. After typing and erasing, cutting and pasting, I realized that this keeps coming out at book-length. I’ve been so passionate about posting on message boards and promulgating my “plant beans” rant, and reiterating my pet peeves about the world because it cuts at the core of who I am and what I believe about human beings.



So once again I’m at a loss trying to write it, and trying to condense it all into a single post.



I've been trying to figure out for a number of years what it actually means to “be creative”- both to me personally and to this society.



Sometimes I feel embarrassed by the compliment, as if I’m somehow wrong for wanting to create- impractical, uppity, or outré, perhaps. I also feel like sliding out from under the weight of it and hiding behind my less-rarified construction -worker self, the one who’s mixed up tons of tile adhesive, hung miles of sheet rock, and knows how to re-glaze a window and re-wire a house. I look at my beat-up hands and blush. I hate openings because I have no idea what to say to the people who compliment my work. I don't understand the big deal.



After consideration, I realize that one reason the title of “creative” embarrasses me is because in Western civilization, art is not considered a “real” profession- unless the product is an appraised commodity*. Being a staunch devotee to the path isn’t enough, talent isn’t enough, and all of the other measures of success that an artist meets [like selling, or advancing the oeuvre] are inadequate, because the guys in charge of commodification of the product can’t make a buck on what an artist is doing right now, and because this society measures everything in dollars- whether or not it makes sense.



When I did a lot of painting on the street, one comment I often heard was “Nice life!” The people making it of course had no idea that the only reason I could afford to pursue my profession- the thing I’ve trained and worked at for decades- is to work at hard, backbreaking labor in construction at the same time in order to meet my obligations, and then squeak in time whenever I could manage to. An artist in this country has to expect to work two jobs [at least]: their oeuvre, and their day-job.



If an artist in this country wants to further their artwork to try to become truly great somehow, it’s going to take a few miracles to make the time and space for themselves. That, or a publicist. Either way, it's not an organic, natural, expect-able process. This is because galleries have a vested interest in squelching competition, and galleries control the market and opportunities for artists. Musicians have a similar quandary thanks to the record companies.



I've characterized it as akin to cutting down an old-growth rainforest. The galleries/record companies have no idea what they're destroying when they disembowel a young artist, they have no idea what that person might be capable of if allowed to grow and attain to new heights. But they'd rather destroy the ecosystem of creativity and raise cattle for McDonald's than allow the jungle to flourish- because there's no money for them in the jungle.



There’s another whole aspect of “creativity” that's affected by the commodifying of creativity- and that is general human creativity. We have had our very humanity “off-shored” by corporations. So many aspects of our lives have been commodified and sold back to us that we no longer really notice what’s been taken.



At this point I feel as though we scions of Western civilization cannot honestly be called a “culture”.



When Matt and I moved back out here to Kansas in search of some time and space for him to build his invention and for me to make art again, his Granny gave me a set of “tea towels”. They’re a gauzy sort of fabric, very absorbent [I think it’s the same stuff used to make cloth diapers]. Granny did some cute little embroidery decorations on each one of them, a “weekday” motif. I use them all the time, for everything from covering my bread dough while it rises to cleaning the table. Every time I use them, I see her loving handiwork, and it makes me smile.



Similarly, years ago my grandmother made an apron for me. I’m not an apron-wearing kind of girl, but you can bet I’ll never let the thing go [and I do use it occasionally]. The fact that Matt and I have been doing all kinds of work on The Little Heap on the Prairie to make it habitable is part of what makes our decrepit trailer-house a home. Even though the work of converting it into a cottage won’t be done for a few years, I find it beautiful because of what HAS been done. And I have pottery pieces and blown glass and metal sculptures with similar meanings and weight in my life, objects made by friends or purchased by family from an artisan they know, things that are special as well as practical.



Creativity is something we need to apply to our lives in general, and is something we all have [in different directions]. It is the most valuable aspect of being human. It IS that elusive "Quality of Life" thing [that has yet to be commodified]. To be valued for my creativity is of course an honor, but it’s one I don’t feel I merit any more than anybody else- and it's something that SHOULD be valued highly, all the time, in everyone. It should be taught in the schools and encouraged in the workplace and nurtured and coddled widely, so that it can thrive- because creativity, not conformity, is what shows us the solutions to our problems.



And God/dess knows we have problems.



Trying to shut down and devalue our collective creative impulse is the fundamental flaw of our society, and the one that has led to the collapse of every other large civilization down through the centuries.**



We can avoid their failures, if we're creative.



*Such a commodity is preferably one created by a dead artist and hawked on thousands of t-shirts, coffee mugs, and/or calendars for millions of dollars. I’ve often said that Van Gogh, the penniless starving artist who committed suicide because nobody cared about his life’s work, is spinning in his grave while fat greedy art publishers hawk his wares and current penniless artists are ignored and starving.



**Hence the “book-length” rants I’ve been trying to avoid doing.
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:59 AM   #12
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