If my third-grade report card is accurate, I'm below average, needs improvement, and does not apply himself. Demerit for lacking entrepreneurial motivation. Does not follow directions well, and has missing homework.
To this day, I do not want to have more than what others have. I don't want expensive anything because expensive things are valuable because others do not have them. Stuff that is expensive and intrinsically valuable should be shared, not owned. I am opposed to any private property. I visit national parks such as the Grand Canyon and wonder why the boundary isn't expanded to include all of Arizona---yes, the entire state. The entire nation should be one giant national park. It's all worth saving; it's all valuable to everyone; it's all effecting everyone such that all of it should be managed by all. If the word equality means what the dictionary says, private property would not be permitted. It's curious that the cultures of both the native Americans (Indians), and the African-Americans brought here as slaves from west Africa did not know private property. The native Americans were exterminated (genocide) and the Blacks were turned into slaves. That tells us something about the culture with the private property.
I'm not a martyr. I don't want to have more than others, and I don't want others to have more than I have. I am actively working to divest the rich of their investment portfolio. I'm an inverted entrepreneur. I am working to open the banks so the money can be divvied out to all....the line forms to the right.
Something is fundamentally wrong in an economic system that measures my success by how many people are subordinate, how many people I control.
I should take up photography, again. The silent expression appeals to me. The self-contained world beckons again. That said, I crave a squishy mind in a college classroom as much as I need to walk upon granite.
Sometimes, below the radar. Sometimes at the megaphone. (Does a megaphone have a microphone?)
Ahh, you missed my mini-book profile. I cut it down to size because it was too much information. Most of it could be summarized as---we have a long way to go to rid ourselves of the abuses of the patriarchy and the modern corporate state. Life is ninety percent going with the flow, obeying road signs and orders at work, but none of it must be that way. It's that way because a few powerful people are spending vast sums of money to convince us that they're special and we're not, to convince us to focus our attention on the frivolous activities that they push such as sports and shopping. To be alive is to redeem ourselves through the ten percent that belongs to us, and through convincing the next generation to not accept the cultural yokes of wage slavery.
I bathe assiduously, once a month, whether I need it or not.
We shall never cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot
At times I have too much to say, and other times, too little. I prefer a dialogue.
Fear is conquered, not by hiding it, but by revealing it. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, fear is disempowered through revelation, not through suppression. Make manifest what is dangerous when hidden.
When the student is ready, the master will appear.
Taoism appeals to me because it offers rituals that soothe the lower, unconscious portions of my mammalian brain function, without the repulsive, domineering patriarchy of monotheism that is intended to control my higher, conscious brain functions. Reducing the complexity, and mystery, of life to monotheism, offers certainty at the price of deliberate delusion. It's much more interesting to acknowledge the truth of it, that no one has a clue what all this is about. Not knowing, we are poised to experience the real as we are open to possibilities. Moreover, we are free to define and inject, or reject, meaning. What we do is an expression of what is important, and we are free to do this, or to do that. Anxiety is not a necessary concomitant of freedom. Some belief systems incorporate coercive anxiety and shame. Taoism and democracy do not: they are subversive. Freedom is dangerous. As many paths march toward tyranny of the mind, as march toward tyranny of body.
Each one of us is a philosopher, rigorously conscious or subliminally automatic. Each of us is an intellectual, as Gramsci stated, although most of us are privately so.
I want to make the world a better place, as it has been made better by others, and as many others are doing so now. The central problems of justice and human dignity are structural, not cosmetic.
In our culture, economic success is proportional to exploitation. The larger the bank account, the larger the pool of exploited labor. People carry about a set of self-images and have a sense of ethics, thus the necessity for a doctrine (stories we tell ourselves) defending the indefensible exploitation. Every hierarchical power system comes with an instruction manual, indoctrination, elevating the "haves" upon the pedestal of "success" and "superiority" while teaching contempt for the have-nots.
Why does this matter? Because the economic system puts us in a psychological bind. Gaining wealth feels good because it offers a false sense of self-esteem. People who "succeed" are, indeed, performing well on all indicators and measures. One can measure efficiency and productivity. Corporations measure and rank employees just as my third-grade teacher measured and ranked us students.
A problem arises only when reality interferes with the system of rewards and punishments. That reality introduces cognitive dissonance demanding resolution. Some people drink to kill the reality. Others dive into a vast variety of denials and delusions that are provided in the "instruction manual" of exploitation. The primary purpose of public education is to indoctrinate the young into the economic system.
Every so often, the exploited are successful. For them, success is not joining the entrepreneurial club, but rather, success is defined by breaking through the doctrinal system (internally first, then culturally second) to eliminate or at least reduce, the exploitation. Much of human history for the past ten thousand years is characterized by cycles of elite control, suppression, and indoctrination, followed by phases of enlightenment, insight, culminating in rebellion.
Every horrible system of economic exploitation, in the past---US slavery, emperors and empire, monarchy, Stalinism--was justified by complex doctrines, justifying the unjustifiable. We look back in horror.
The most difficult task of the living is to understand and to experience the modern world for what it is---another system of exploitation accompanied by complex doctrine justifying the unjustifiable. The modern corporate-state economic and political system is one more in the continuing series of human social systems founded upon exploitation. Some systems of exploitation are less onerous than others, but we humans have not completed the struggle to achieve justice and equality.
Some turn to alcohol, some turn to religion (and "spirituality" whatever that is), some turn to the instruction manual for the latest justification for why Wall Street bankers have millions while millions of other people have nothing, some turn to art, some turn to drugs, some turn to TV, some turn to sports, some turn to shopping, some turn to sex, some turn to... many paths lead to diversion and denial. The elite support and encourage Yoga, while vilifiying the truth-telliers such as WikiLeaks. Our system is profoundly problematic because it offers massive cash rewards for throwing away one's personal integrity, while requiring massive layers of self-delusion (lies), and violence. Every system of exploitation manifests itself in violence. Mostly directed at others, but sometimes directed at one's self. The conundrum of concentrated power and wealth offers no escape. No Exit.
Concentrated power is perverse. It's a perversion comprised of pride generated from domination and exploitation. It's overtly socially destructive, and self-destructive. Now, it's leading to the destruction of the habitability of the planet and perhaps to destruction, the end, of the species. Coming to terms with the destructive character of corporate capitalism is our current challenge.
To return to the personal, money and power feel good when it's held within a cultural context that offers social capital--social rewards---for "success." Money and power feel bad when it's attained within a cultural context wherein the shared value system disdains exploitation. People act in a manner in accordance with the social value system. Change is forged when economic "success" is recognized for the exploitation that it is, thus becoming morally reprehensible. This brings us back to the critical function of the "instruction manual" and public schools, and the manner in which each individual resolves the internal moral quandary.
To end exploitation is to reject the dominant, and domineering, value system. Slavery was ended though violent rejection of exploitation. Sometimes rejection of exploitation can be achieved nonviolently, as is the ongoing example in Egypt. How and when we, in the US, will publicly resolve the exploitation inherent within our own economic system, founded on corporate-state-capitalism, remains to be seen.
"Resist Much; Obey Little" ~Edward Abbey.
I could be a "CAnadian Dreamer." I'd enjoy it, but I'm not.
I could be a "CAlifornia Dreamer, ala the Momas and the Papas.
All the leaves are brown
And the sky is gray
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
On such a winter's day
(and you know the rest)
I could be a "CAD reamer" but I assure you I have not reamed anyone for at least a week now. Promise.
A friend died last January. She was 32. Life is too short to obey all the time. She knew how to wisely weaken the monstrosity with words. If being the CEO of The Gap is your idea of ultimate pleasure and achievement, we're not a match. If you belong to the ACLU, we're on the right track.
I live in California, but I could end up anywhere on the planet. I'm a bit jaded with the dysfunctional socio-political system here. If for no other reason than for a change of pace; being an expat is becoming attractive. Thus if you live in Mali, or Minnesota, or Macau, I could very well drop in for tea.
Landscape is everything. Context is missing in American culture. There is no "there" there, as Alice B. Tokas, said, and had I not made the effort, I would have no "there" inside here. Regrettably, something is missing. The Sixties went looking for it, then lost it as some of us grew up to work on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley.
I vote often, but typically for "none of the above."
We can chat about this.
1) immersion in the doctrinal system, the propaganda being incorporated into one's identity and belief system
2) cynical opportunism, silently, with complicity accepting the hypocrisy and exploitation of one over another.
Honing my Rock, Paper, Scissors skills...
In search of the perfect posole.
Teaching sometimes. Paleontologist, Evolutionary Biology, Geology, Human Biology and Culture.
I have been to the dessert, and back, and been to the mountains, and back. I have lived to tell about it.
I live amongst nine million others in the San Francisco Bay area, and I've lived with fifty others in a tiny community 37 miles from the nearest anything else.
Steering clear of the corporate world in order to maintain my integrity.
“Well-behaved women rarely make history”
~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
We can talk about this, and perhaps do something.
We can talk about this. It's more interesting to discover such things. I don' know as well as others who can observe from outside my skin.
Brutally honest, some have said, whereas I don't have time or the inclination elsewhere.
Need a section titled--- I'm really poor at: tolerating hierarchical systems and abuse of power.
The Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges
Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders
The Razor's Edge (the book)
High Plains Drifter
Out of the Past (or any Film Noir)
and the obscure film, Enlightenment Guaranteed
Worst Movies of the Decade: Hurt Locker (it's pornographic violence), and Slumdog Millionaire
It's scary to think about how disconnected we are from the natural world while living in the Big City. No night sky, for one thing. Taking a walk at dusk far from city lights on a cool autumn night during the Perseid meteor shower is far better than watching the stars on Oscars night.
Three Seasons restaurant. This little gem is hidden away on the Contra Costa College campus. It's operated by the Culinary Arts program. I won't tell you how to find it in any detail. I've said too much already.
Affection. Is that six?
Music. Alternative, The Smiths, The Samples, Cowboy Junkies, Over the Rhine, Magic Slim, Natalie Merchant, Greg Brown...is that six yet?---oh, and any book by Carlos Castaneda or E. O. Wilson, or R. D. Laing.
BOOKS and BANDWITH: he's gotta have it.
They should have a section titled: Six Things I Can't Live With:
1) Cigarettes. Sorry, but fifty years ago they knew it was self-destructive. Try something more in vogue such as bungie jumping, if you're looking to be self-destructive.
2) Robo Phone Voice: Your call is very important to us...press 1 for Croatian, Press 2 for Tahitian, and Press 3 for Ukrainian.
4) Bad Drivers: anyone who gets in my way.
5) Typhoons. I was in the tropics when a big one hit. Don't have the photos to show the taxi plowing through three feet of water, wending it's way back to the hotel. Was stuck in the hotel for 24 hours as the water rose, surrounding the building.
6) Women in baseball caps. Do you really want to look like Mickey Mantle?
The most difficult question to ask oneself is, What do I want? Not only is the "I" part difficult, but the wanting is never clearly mine or theirs.
Success in our culture has two measures: 1) Amount of money in your pocket, and 2) How many people you control (manage is the euphemism). I want no more, or less, money than others have, and I don't want to control anyone. My desires are both subversive and dysfunctional. Rewards go to those who obey. Money and power are rewards for obedience. Rewards generate self-serving ideology to legitimize the existing system. Culture is a deadly-serious game. Anyone who declines to follow the rules, or even to question the rules, risks demerits. Every child knows this but cannot articulate it. Adults take one of two paths. They either buy into the system first, maybe/maybe not reaping rewards, then secondarily go hunting for accommodating rhetoric to make themselves feel good about participating in a rotten system (some pretend to be rebellious but aren't), or else don't buy into it, living to some degree with self-respect, but also paying the price of being marginalized.
How fortunate I am to have met people here who have driven me to demand more of myself, and who have coerced me into unrestrained laughter. Something there is profound about humor. Most of it is dispensable, but some moments are sublime. I sometimes think that laughter---the right kind---denotes the deepest connection with the Other, far more significant and sublime than sexuality.
Did I do anything today to make the world a better place?
I am thinking about the vast amount of time I wasted in my youth attending to every nuance of popular music and movies. Ask me anything about Eric Clapton or Alfred Hitchcock. American popular culture is vacuous, intentionally vacuous. We're allowed and encouraged to engage in any activity that does not challenge the privileges of the powerful. Turning off the TV is a subversive act.
Eric Clapton played the blues but knew nothing about, and didn't have any interest in, the lives of Blacks in America. Alfred Hitchcock famously made such films as North By Northwest wherein international intrigue was used as a superficial backdrop for the personal plight of "the wrong man" --an innocent caught up in world affairs-- while having nothing to say about world affairs. Play the music. Watch the handsome movie star. All the nuances of musical rendition, and all the nuances of theatrical individual angst, all set in a vacuum. These are opportunists raking in the cash, doing the work of serving the interests of the powerful by producing exquisite, vacuous, time-waster art.
Thinking about resisting success within the context of the dominant American economic system. I'm expected to gain wealth and power because that's how success is defined. The principle of American success is "grab it all for myself; screw the other guy." We're taught to focus on ourselves and what we can grab for ourselves, not what we can do together. Sharing exists on the margins as an elite moral escape valve. Destroy Social Security while giving twenty bucks to the local food bank. When the rich give, they are in personal control of to whom to give to and how much. When government taxes the rich, the people decide how much to take away and for what purposes it will be spent. Success is rising up an hierarchical ladder of power, money, and prestige, which cannot be done without leaving others behind to suffer as servants of power. The professional class works hard to justify their position of domination and control, while walking past the homeless sleeping on the sidewalks in front of their corporate skyscrapers. Social Darwinism. I refuse to participate.
The institution we call the corporation is destroying the habitability of the planet. Not only for other species but inescapably, as we destroy habitats for other species we destroy our own habitat. We face a mega-problem. Extinction, self-extinction is a real possibility. The problem is the scale of destructive corporate greed, and the scale of the scaling-up human population. We are already doomed. The question remains whether or not corporations will be abolished in time to prevent self-annihilation.
Why Americans are so profoundly silent and obedient to corporate and state power. Laos is still highly contaminated with unexploded bombs dropped during the illegal and immoral war in Indochina, the Vietnam War.
The US government is still killing and injuring people in Southeast Asia. In effect, the Vietnam War is not over. Why don't Americans demand that our government remove the bombs?
Our money, out of our pockets, is being used to kill people around the world every year, and not being used to heal people here in the US absent a national healthcare system.
Something is seriously amiss when people can claim to be "happy and successful" while our government is engaged in death and destruction every single day. The depth of denial, distraction, and delusion is attributable to the vast propaganda system called mass media--owned by concentrated wealth.
The US is the richest country on the planet, the richest that ever existed (in terms of large population centers), but we're told we cannot afford to perform our moral duty to remove our bombs from Southeast Asia, cannot afford national healthcare, cannot afford Social Security, cannot afford local libraries... We're being attacked from the top while the educated class is busy out searching for the perfect latte or staring at a TV screen watching sports.
Science is a powerful tool that can describe the parts and functions of a flower but it cannot know beauty. Of beauty, science is blind. Of truth, beauty is blind. Beauty remains in the realm of now-discarded philosophy. To discard either science or philosophy is to lose truth and meaning, and without both truth and meaning, the human life is subverted toward power. Power without reason and without beauty becomes tyranny.
When I go looking for things, I find only dynamic systems. I studied geology because I went looking for solid things. My family had no solidity. The bad thing about my family lead me to look for the good solid things, but in looking for the solid, I found none. Even the rocks told great epic tales of transformation. If every rock tells a silent, personal history of transformation, how much more poignant the history of you.
...how many people, especially professionals and academics, who carry the attitude that "it wouldn't do to talk about politics or religion. The respectable class of citizens attend to proper etiquette." That's not a personal attitude. It's drummed into the educated class that it's not respectable to "rant" about public policy, or to be too "opinionated." Much negativity about engagement in social power struggles protects the powerful from open scrutiny. The educated class is permitted to exist so far as they perform the function of protecting the powerful. The term rant is frequently used these days for voiced dissent. The term is negative, pejorative, and dismissive. The expression is considered powerless and pointless by the listener. This is learned behavior. One learns to be dismissive. Pejorative terms for engagement in public discourse, and expressions of desire abound. I find this particularly poignant when women engage in dismissive intercourse. They learned this behavior from thousands of years of men dismissing women. One pitfall of attacking the patriarchy is to adopt the means of domination used by men. Phallic women: defined as women who desire to seize power through the adoption of patriarchal tactics, while criticizing the patriarchy.
Some women, engaged in community and power, also engage in self-denegration. The Domineering Other has been internalized, recognized, engaged externally, but remains un-exorcized internally. Dualities of Self are manifest. I have heard women defending "animal rights" but still live with an internal voice dismissing the import of their own actions. They respect and defend animals "out there" but are yet to respect and defend the animal that they are.
Too Many Walls
What is happiness and do I define it or is it defined for me by others?
What is justice, and do I define it, or do I allow others to define it for me because I want to "get along" with others? Is getting along more important than revealing the truth? Do I abuse myself by going with the flow because making others happy makes me happy, even when making others happy makes me unhappy?
Parenting and teaching offer the most effective personal leverage to change the world. The world does change one person at a time, and change for the better. Parents are more powerful that the strongest armies and more powerful than the most insidious propaganda.
Parents, families, and communities, collectively change the balance of global power.
"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." ~Albert Einstein
When it comes to music I would never call myself a country music fan, but my secret love is Iris Dement.
Shameless name-dropping: I saw the following musicians/groups in concert: Beatles at Dodger Stadium in 1966, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix at Hollywood Bowl, Cream, Rolling Stones '69-'72-'75, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, early Santana, some long-forgotten groups at the Whisky A Go-Go, Lightnin' Hopkins, Willie Dixon, Sonnie Terry and Brownie McGee, Ramblin' Jack Eliot, Muddy Waters, Little Richard, etc.
If you pilot a helicopter or you're an elevator repair person.
If you appreciate architecture (building or landscape), have a sense of place and a sense of history, and a penchant for 50's kitsch as propaganda of the empire, and, of course, you are below the radar, and well-below average.
Most likely, you're outside the US where you can look inside with a degree of objectivity, aghast at what the US does to other people, and it's own people, as well. We're the nation that does have a torture chamber called Guantanamo, while conspicuously missing is national healthcare that all other industrialized nations do have. People on the outside understand.
I'm looking for a conversation.
Big words obfuscate simple ideas.
"College isn't the place to go for ideas." ~Helen Keller
I am looking for a travel partner in the figurative and actual sense. A sensible, intelligent travel partner with whom I might conceivably end up in a long-term relationship.
First, I should say what will elicit a non-response. If you start off with anything related to astrology, New Age, so-called personal growth, or conspiracy theories. I will consider you beyond rational conversation. Staring off with, "Hi, I'm a Pisces swimming through life," regrettably, we're not a match.
Make me laugh, thinking of you.
Make me peer into your shattered eyes.
Under broken-bottle blue skies.
Cherry jam mottled livid paper disguise.
That my finger, touch lightly you.
..."We've all gone to look for Amerika, all gone to look for Ahhhhhhhhmeeeeeeerika."...
Suzanne takes your hand now
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our, our lady of the harbor
She shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers