05 March 2014

STRUCTURAL ROBBERY AT THE TOP; MORALITY EDUCATION AT THE BOTTOM

This sums it up.. by Abraham Lincoln

Interesting, but faux history--Lincoln never uttered these "Ten Cannots." See
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/lincoln/prosperity.asp

If Lincoln had not been interested in weakening the strong slave holders, then we never would have had a war to maintain the
se here United States to strengthen the weak.

The real author, Rev. W.J.H. Boetcker, was director of the Citizen's Industrial Alliance, part of the Citizen's Alliance movement, a pro-business-industrialist push (with many local chapters) to maintain their power over workers, around the turn of the 20th century. They all were anti-union and were strongly involved in union-busting, resorting to strong coercion, including boycotts of businesses that previously had negotiated collective-bargaining contracts with workers.

I wonder whether the Reverend would support the mega-rich hedge-fund managers who have destroyed millions of lives and jobs?

The Rev. Boetcker also gave out The "Seven National Crimes":


I don’t think.
I don’t know.
I don’t care.
I am too busy.
I leave well enough alone.
I have no time to read and find out.
I am not interested.
The many individuals of the elite social classes that the Reverend supported are all for these and the false, dualistic individualism of the "Ten Cannots."

These sentiments about a supposed individualism and self-reliance draw attention away from the much larger threats to society, and away from the program of those who are rapidly concentrating power and robbing us blind. Warren Buffett nearly begged us to "not coddle the rich" because he understands what is happening.
 
The outsourcers, vulture capitalists, hedge-fund managers, and financial manipulators, et al., are all too happy for the rest of us to worry about thrift in our poverty, and character in our supposed independent lives--an impossible independence from the rapidly concentrating economic/political elites. Someone sure would have a difficult time being self-reliant and thrifty when his/her job has been outsourced overseas, or part-timed, or pension robbed, or paid wages that do not keep up with inflation, as has now happened to millions.

It does make a difference as to who said it because their motives become clear. It was written, more than a century ago, during the time of the robber barons and the Progressive era, when there was the historical social movement against corporate malfeasance and criminality.

We are now experiencing some parallels to those times.
The recurring emphasis on individual morality (never bad, in itself, of course) seems to be true today in order to distract from the structural changes that have purposefully been engineered in the economy. It is easy for us to look around for lapses of individual morality, blame people for their plight, and thus wash our hands of any social remediation, while ignoring the larger, systemic, intended structural changes all around that are rapidly (re)creating an extreme class-based society.

It seems that in American history, when there is structural robbery at the top, there is a concomitant push for "morality education" for the bottom.
www.snopes.com

03 March 2014

WINGING OVER THE LIFESCAPE

The Earth's oldest, individual clonal tree is called Old Tjikko, in Sweden, at 9,500 years old. There are clonal colonies (as root systems) much older, but this lone trunk, as Old Tjikko, rises up out of its older root system, a living system that has produced myriad, unknown "individual" trunks in the long, continuing past.

Brings up, for me, the meaning of "individual"--as in "individual" life form. Is Old Tjikko really an "individual?" The trunk is a century old; the roots 9.5 centuries. And the hill it lives on?

Is not the soil over the landscape I am viewing out my window, in a very vital sense, a life form? If so, it "contains"--and has contained over the many millennia it has been developing--trillions of dependent life forms growing within/on it. Did not the corn, beans, and tomatoes that I am still winter-consuming come from this life form? And, the birds? And, also, does not the viewing and sensing of this landscape, as humans are wont to do, cognitively/spiritually incorporate me into the overall life form? Thus, are not the soil and plants and wildlife--the soilscape/landscape/farmscape--now part of me and I, if you but think more than just metaphorically, part of it, an autochthonous rising up of Being from the soils of place?

If true, then we are all, as "individuals," a kind of Old Tjikko with continuing, anciently alive roots in the surrounding primeval soils. True, because the anciently stable root systems and primeval soils remain while the myriad "individual" life forms develop and dependently live as they come and go.

And, even so, as they, some life forms, wing themselves to an unknown Elsewhere, like butterflies in a migrating life stage fluttering across the land, yet always dependent on the roots and soils beneath.

And, the hills?

09 November 2013

UNKNOWN AND KNOWN DOABLES


A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education states that the number of homeless schoolchildren has hit a record high of 1.2 million. Meanwhile, on 1 November, the benefits of food-stamp recipients were cut by an average of 7%, almost half of whom are children.

A decade ago, Donald Rumsfeld spoke of known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. In the case of hunger and homelessness in America, perhaps we can add unknown knowns: those phenomena within cognitive reach that get pushed back from conscious awareness or rationalized away. For example, a recent guest on Fox network criticized the free school-lunch program on the basis that kids on free-lunch programs suffer from "obesity, and not the fact that they're not getting enough calories."  Is this the unknowing of poverty, and the cuts in the SNAP program the undoing of the doable?

In the meantime, politicians and mega-bankers know very well how to create the ecology for vast wealth accumulation for the 1%. No unknown knowns in this case. It is manifestly doingly doable when it benefits those in power. This is a known known. 

In these cases, I am not sure which is worse: the actual knowns or pretended unknowns? Either way, it is precisely known how to do both wealth and poverty: It takes place in public policies. These policies--our policies--are what we need to bring into the cognitive and civic knowingly known and doingly doable.

08 November 2013

TREES BREEZING

I believe in cause-and-effect;
so when the trees decide to dance
and sway, I have observed that the
Wind gets whipped into breezes.

I am not sure why Wind wants
to cooperate with the trees;
I guess it has some kind of natural

pact with them to get it breezing.

The effect on me is to cause
me to watch the dancing trees
and feel the Wind breezing
in sensual effect-and-cause.

15 September 2013

OF ROCKNESS AND TREENESS


Planted another tree today
dancing/hopping 'round the tree
to tamp down the soil


Tree will return the dance
when it catches the breeze
with my silent watching


Tree will be a tree partly
for me, but mostly for its
treeness lasting long beyond


Set down another rock today...

31 August 2013

THE SELF AS CAPITALIST SUPERSTRUCTURE

The ideological superstructure, in Marx's materialist formulation (his first huge assumption), always arises from the economic base. By "ideology" he meant all the non-materialist social forms of exchange including religion, political thought, personal relations, and social relations including media, sport, arts, literature, education--really, everything in the realm of ideation including our very psychic make-up--the hyper/post/modern Self. So, by his materialist formulation (deterministic in the extreme), ideation is set by or at least corresponds to the material base. The material base is the means of production. The means of production is the type of economy a society has, but looked at in terms of ownership. So he studied the history of economies (sitting in the British Museum library)--tribal, communal (in the form of the Greek city-states), feudal, and capitalist--and attempted to "scientifically" understand (with his assumptions) the workings of capitalism (by studying history and pouring over real data).

Today, the always evolving capitalist system (with its practice of creative destruction) has obviously moved from an industrial-based means of production to one that is ephemeralized (Marx predicted this) into symbolic forms. Industrial capital needed producers, which required destruction of the previous cottage-based industry (and families) and fragmentation of lifeworlds into atomized individuals, with ideological emphasis on individuals who had "freedom" and "equality" (to consume mostly). It is the era, e.g., of universal suffrage. By contrast, the previous feudal society emphasized loyalty and honor (to the feudal owners of land).

Post-World War II in the post-industrial economies there has been an extremely rapid metamorphosis of people from producers to consumers (which helped capitalism just after the war to escape a new post-war depression--mentally, too!), with production after 1973 beginning to move elsewhere--Marx said "Capital has no country." We, the Boomers, are the result of a half-millennium of reification of the individual, and now the further reification of and near total emphasis on the Self--the single most important concern of our era.

The Self, then, becomes an entity (the most "real" thing anyone can seem to "know" about) that is worked on, shaped, transfigured, and retooled. You can wake up tomorrow and choose (with considerable help from the media!) who you "want" to be. Importantly, once the Self becomes a thing, it can be brought into the economic marketplace. It was never a conspiracy, of course (it is naturalized into what seems perfectly valid), but this is exactly how the looter elite maximizes fortune-making: production fled offshore for lower labor costs, and the Self now as commodified, isolated, and empty. The Empty Self, then must be filled up by purchasing the (symbolically) proper product or psychically merging with the perfect celebrity (while the newest of the looter elite plays casino with our wealth).

So, the social organization of production in this post-industrial, global-consumer capitalist era reaches with its tentacles deep into the person to create its needed and naturalized human entity. It is not difficult to look around and see the discontented and corrosive world it has created.

28 August 2013

FIERCE DREAMTIME OF THE MOUNTAINTOP PROMISE


"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy."
                      
--
M.L. King Jr., 28 August 1963


Now is fiercely the time
to make real the always
urgent mountaintop dr
eam
of helping America
keep its palace-of-justice
promises that were built
on the unfulfilled content
of the City-on-the-Hill
character that cries
My country, because of thee
I sing let freedom ring
in an always timely
and timelessly raging
and ringing dreamtime that
America some day will fulfill
its promissory promises

27 July 2013

FAITHFULLY SITTING IN THE PEW OF ALL-CONSUMPTION


Anarcho-environmental novelist/essayist Edward Abbey (in One Life at a Time, Please [1988]): "We can see that the religion of endless growth--like any religion based on blind faith--is a kind of mania, a form of lunacy, indeed a disease."

He continues, "The one disease to which the growth mania bears an exact analogical resemblance is cancer. Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."


So, neoclassical economics a metastasizing neoplasm (cancer)? Seems so.


But, easy for us to say some academic domain or other is "cancerous," and a "religion," because we can relegate it to the Ivory Tower and look the other way (toward mass-distraction entertainment, no doubt). But, if so, then we, living under this economic-political regime--let's be honest--are the cancer cells, consuming the planetary body, spreading the destruction, and, what's more, doing it with what could be labeled religious fervor.


From the pews in the Church of All-Consumption, this all seems righteous as instructed by our faith in this historical process. The True Faith in this process--the really "true" faith--is that we do it all for God and religion, that "God" has ordained this religio-economic regime.


This, this takes lots of "faith." Glad I don't have so much of the kind (though, I'm sitting in the pew with the rest of you). And, the "collection plate" as it is passed is really a consumption platter from which we partake: put in a few dollars, and take out the manna of planetary destruction.

21 July 2013

Lovely Sunday morn
finds me in haiku space
--thoughts flutter like leaves

29 April 2013

EMPIRE PATROLS THE MENTAL FRONTIER

History has shown that empires crumble when they overextend. Think of the later Roman Empire when it had to suffer the costs, military and administrative, of patrolling and defending a difficult border that expanded outwards. The British Empire and those of interwar Japan and post-WW II Soviet Union are other examples.

Overextension of empire in the past was about holding physical territory beyond the borders of the nation-state. But, today, the "American" empire is economic: It must defend globalization of "corporatocracy": The global capitalist system which, in the past, has included the subversion of governments too many to mention that threatened it (for starters, the overthrow of Allende in Chile and Arbenz in Guatemala; and the plane crashes of Torrejos in Panama and Roldos in Ecuador).

But, the new global Empire--an "imperial postmodernity" (here, I am referencing Hardt and Negri in Empire)--has no borders (since it is global) and is decentered and deterritorializing, thus it encompasses a spatial totality that is found everywhere (and thus, perhaps, difficult to recognize because it is "nowhere").

My contribution to this is that, since (as Hardt and Negri state) the new Empire "creates the very world it inhabits" (how's this for subtle control?) and seeks "to rule directly over human nature"--it must do this by manipulation of the system of signs and symbols (semiology) through such endeavors as corporate advertising. The ads convince us that global corporations are all about extending the goodness of democracy and technology and services to everyone in the world. Notice it hides the social relations of production as if things get made without sweatshops and exploitation of workers in less developed countries.

In short, Empire is also a state of "global cognition" within the individual. We get convinced that "we" need it and its military. It's the Empire state of war-mindedness that says to us to buy more bombs and drones and military technology for "our" protection. Then, we can relax back into watching the corporate ads interspersed in the bread-and-circus of corporate entertainment.

The postmodern frontier that Empire patrols is within us.

25 January 2013

THE UNFINISHED WORK OF WE-THE-PEOPLE BEGINS TO BE FINISHED


It seems to me that President Obama, possibly for the first time in American history, has united two fundamentals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Historical forces now have reached a democratic apotheosis.


"We the people"--the first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution--are subjective words that have vexed the American nation since the time, 226 years ago, they were written. The vexation is in the question of who is the "we?"


Eighty-seven years after the Declaration was written, Abraham Lincoln gazed over a blood-soaked battlefield and past the Constitution to the Declaration and for the first time firmly established in the American conscience the affirmation that the nation was "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Until that time the proposition was only a promissory note.


Lucy Stone, one of America’s first advocates for women’s rights, asked, a decade before Lincoln’ speech: “‘We the People’? Which ‘We the People’? The women were not included.” Neither were white males who did not own property, American Indians, or African Americans--slave or free. "We" at the time of the founding of the country obviously and tragically did not include everyone. It was always a promise awaiting its fulfillment. Stone and Lincoln both looked forward “to the great task remaining before us.” 


"We...the people"--This triumvirate of words, declared this week from the highest office in the land on two of the most important events on the nation's calendar (this year, coinciding), is instantiated in the very person of its orator. The oration came from a person of color, on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, standing near a rainbow-coalition of a Supreme Court (male, female, black, white, Hispanic, Jew, Protestant, Catholic). We-the-people, it was proposed, includes everyone.


 The overall theme of the inaugural oration took, for the first time, the central proposition of the Declaration and the first three subjective words of the Preamble, such that the two essential phrases--one affirming equality, the other inclusion--meld into a single national avowal for which the nation now can rededicate itself “to the unfinished work” on the battlefield of our time--that is, to the proposition that We the people (now all the people) are created equal.
Mid-winter haiku:


Begins here at home
cosmic religious feelings
--tree ice brightens me

MEANING CENTRAL

Like a rotating hoop
powered by Universe
and by us its co-authors
Meaning is creating
with God at the center
enjoying the stories

27 May 2012

LENSING EFFECT OF DOWNTOWN MEMORIES

As with any illumination pattern, say the scientists,
some shine brighter than others.
The same with memory.


The lensing effect of light
reflected off a curved rim of any size
collects at a point on the surface--
of coffee in a cup or water in a pool
or even intergalactic rays
of spacetimelight
reflecting off the edge of a galaxy
and focuses and distorts in cusp-curve effect
onto predictable places in spacetime.
So it is with memory.


The relative dimness of some places
is precisely balanced out
by the relative luminosity of other places
with memory balancing the same way
in a Universal Memory Principle
in which some placetimes are recalled brightly
while others remain dimmed or uncollected.


When I think of my hometown
the memories traveling
as timethoughts
focus in lensing effect
on the once living downtown of the 1950s-’60s
concentrating memory rays there
when a vibrant downtown was filled
with the lifelight of people
traveling to town to do business
to ambulate, congregate,
recreate, inebriate
and drink coffee with timelight
in focus on their living surfaces
and bloviate with friends and strangers
on the corners of time
where few remember to stand today.


I might get a haircut and buy the latest comics:
Superman, Batman, Archie
or watch several movies at the State Theater:
Flash Gordon, Red Ryder, Hopalong Cassidy
and eat chess pie at Winnie’s Grill
and shop for toys at the five-and-dimes
and later, as a teen, play pool at Central Pool Hall
hiding from the supposed-to-have-been-working
at the small-town newspaper in my town
which had a real downtown
when its lifelight flourished
for a time.


And in the past-future time of now
my collected, luminous mind-images
of past-light not yet entirely passed
focus in lensing effect
on lifelight memories
flashing in from the edges of the galaxy
onto a downtown
yet remembered.

12 May 2012

PASSING TIME OF THE DISEMBEDDED LONE WOLF

Intrapsychic dynamics relate to the social organization of production, of course, although it receives, as best I can determine, not nearly enough attention. But the radical (hyper-) modernism which disembodies and disembeds life today brings us to this question: How did we ever come to perceive body and mind as separate, nature as dead resource, and place as inconsequential?

That the modern identity is peculiarly and severely individuated should be no surprise when global consumer capitalism as the social organization of production creates Homo economicus as raison d'etre of existence. The highly individuated individual has as primary task (other than to be a consumate consumer) to create a do-it-yourself universe, or so each believes. The illusion of a do-it-yourself universe survives and depends on the exigencies of consumerism.

It is also illusion that this kind of social organization of production can endure. A new individual, new ideology, new society, and new social organization of production--and a new, salubrious intimate relation to Earth, body, and place--will have to be (re)created anew over the decades of the 21st century. The self-organizing powers of the Universe are manifesting, if we but look--and look at ourselves.

Which brings up this Hopi wisdom prophecy about the passed time of the Lone Wolf:

"To my fellow swimmers, there is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore, they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know that the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our heads above water. And I say, see who is there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves, for the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves. Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we have been waiting for."

And I say the ones we have been waiting for are our future selves that the self-organizng powers of the Universe are creating now as we push off into the middle of the stream of the Always-Being-Created.



25 April 2012

POST-LOGOCENTRISM: BUDDHIST-CHRISTIAN DIALOG

How to begin Buddhist-Christian dialog? Get the Buddhists to begin a lecture series on Mindfulness. Then offer fellowship workshops (with coffee and desserts, of course) in which Christians write short tracts about the Mindfulness displayed by Jesus; and of course, compose some catchy hymns in which everyone sits in meditation-pose singing with arms waving overhead.

Seriously, a theological middle ground (sounds like Buddha's "middle way"!) can be sought with Christian theologian Paul Tillich's God as the "ground of being," which is the very description sometimes given of Buddha; and the writings of Christian monk-scholar Thomas Merton ( lived at Gethsemane monastery in Kentucky), who was influenced by Zen.

Rather chilly Buddhism needs more of the personalization of the deity through the life of Jesus offered by Christian thought; and Christian thought needs to move beyond the anthropomorphic notion that God is like a rather removed, unknown, egotistical father residing somewhere else playing chess with the world, and whose moves can be influenced by prayer. There are lots of examples of Christian mysticism through more than a millennium that can be used as textual examples of that which the sacred writings point.

In contrast, every time I go to a Christian service (last attendance was Easter Sunday) I find it terribly distracting with words, words, words. So, Christians could learn that the logocentricism of Christian praxis (scripture, sermons, hymns, Christian witness, etc.) does not get anywhere near the great Reality we all live within. Church services are more entertainment and stimulus (for the mind and emotions) than "worship" service. That takes stopping the words. It takes Mindfulness. Perhaps the Mindfulness of Jesus.

09 April 2012

IRAQ WAR INTENTIONAL MISINFORMATION

Report of an empirical study (Oct. 2003) by two research centers at University of Maryland on public views of three misperceptions during the first part of the Iraq War (seven surveys conducted Jan.-Mar. 2003) that showed that, e.g., those who primarily watched Fox News were much more likely to be misinformed about the three misperceptions (that Iraq and al-Qaeda had close links, that WMDs had been found, and that world opinion supported the war).

For example, a graph (p. 13) shows that the study found that 20% of the respondents who primarily watched Fox News had none of the misperceptions, whereas 77% of those who got most of their news from NPR/PBS had none of the misperceptions. Eighty percent of those who got most of their news from Fox had one or more of the misperceptions, whereas 23% of those who got most of their news from NPR/PBS had one or more of the misperceptions.

The scholars who carried out the research offered no causes for these findings, i.e., why are Fox viewers more misinformed? But I will; there is no other conclusion that I can think of other than it is intentional purveyance of misinformation. The motives of the intentionality, I'm not so sure about. Perhaps profits mixed with ideology?

http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Iraq/IraqMedia_Oct03/IraqMedia_Oct03_rpt.pdfSee More

25 March 2012

FROGGIE IN HELL: THIRD SEASON--RERUNS TONIGHT AT 11:00

In a recent NYTimes review of J. G. Ballard's final novel, Kingdom Come: "Things could be worse, and the world as we know it might never change at all. Or, as Pearson remarks late in the novel, 'Think of the future as a cable TV program going on forever.'"

In contrast, I am reminded of one of C. S. Lewis' essays in which Hell is endless, ghettoized urban sprawl--a hellish geographic urban macrospace. But the televisual, hellish future now will be conveniently broadcast to our very homes (if we but pay the cable bill)--home as the mediatized site of geographic microspatial dystopia.

I have seen them, those cable TV programs, and like Ballard's I sense a frog-in-hot-water pre-dystopic self-satisfaction for which we should be mildly pleased, if it were not to prefigure a procrastinating, self-satisfied frog in an even hotter dystopic-water future inexorably approaching.

As Ballard has one of his characters say, "What's the point of free speech if you have nothing to say?" Yes, with endless, mindless TV endlessly mindlessly watched, what's the point? We might as well sit like froggie, and watch (and wait).

Media theorist/critic and educator Neil Postman says in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) that we should heed Aldous Huxley (in Brave New World) more than George Orwell (in Nineteen Eighty-four). Says Postman (pp. 155-156):

"In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for a Ministry of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is defined by a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then
a nation finds itself at risk; culture death is a clear possibility."

Froggie in Hell: Third Season reruns, tonight at 11:00.





04 February 2012

GOD'S GET-REAL COMMISSION FOR OPENED EYES

Preacher (James) Robison:

With all due respect, I believe you have some explaining to do at Judgment. You being "Commissioned" and all, to "proclaim Truth and Liberty" "from the rooftops," etc. And as you "see through the eyes of God" it must be so very easy to know the right course on public policy. It's not POLITICS, mind you, it's just knowing, as you do, God's will, right? And, since God speaks through you--you who were "called"--we can just read your words for God's message.



In your other message you thankfully give us specifics: God is against government auto makers, government climate regulations, government energy policy, government handouts...government...government...government! Whew! God HATES government!

Thanks to God's message channeled through you I now realize how incensed I am that there are sidewalks being built at this very moment in a part of my town in which many people are probably on government handouts! How fair is that? I demand my tax money be withdrawn from such a bad policy. I'll probably never use those sidewalks!



I'm glad you mentioned "sustainability," because that's a hint you will get around to preaching about the consumerism that is the dominant dynamic of our era, leading to destruction of God's Earth, and engendering the delusional self-contained individualism that is at the core of each of us. And when you mentioned "sound principles," that leads me to think you will preach in a later message (after you finish with government) about the overriding influence--yes, control--of gigantic corporations on our very lives and souls.


Get it? Consumerism (as much more than just lifestyle), self-contained individualism (as our delusional personal construct), corporatism (as the most powerful spiritual force in the world), and destruction of God's Earth (as suicidal project)--they all go together.

God is speaking to you at this very moment about these issues. Pray about it. There might even be some public policy involved. But, first, rant, as you did, against government favoritism to unions!



As I said, you will have some explaining to do. This question will be asked, Who convinced you of your Great Commission and what does it really say? You might start your explanation with how you needed (since you were "commissioned") to institute God's anti-government program before you could turn attention to the really big issues.
At that time, don't bother to open your eyes--because you don't have them open now.


--Peace

02 February 2012

SIMULACRUM SITCOM

Geographer David Harvey, in The Condition of Postmodernity (1989), said that capitalism is now, under conditions of its late-globalist phase, predominantly concerned with the production of signs and images. Investment in image-building is now the most vital aspect of inter-firm competition, and becomes as important as investment in new plants and machinery.

Have you spent even a few minutes deconstructing television commercials and what they are "selling"? Harvey is correct: the product for sale, and its marketing method, are both signs and images.

What's the meaning for the individual in this simulacrum society (of Jean Baudrillard), in which the hyperreal becomes the most "real"? The formerly "real" self increasingly gets lost in a funhouse of mirrors, with the way out permanently obscured by distorted mirrors and dead-end passages. But, the simulacrum-self knows no different; and, in any case, would not find its way back because the original pilot show was discontinued and sent to the dusty archives where it becomes lost in the back lot. Besides, it was filmed using a now obsolete technology.

24 January 2012

INTERFACING TERMINAL REALITY

The / is the screen interfacing the new electronified subjectivity (the person) and the simulation, the spectacle, of the digital mediascape that increasingly produces and controls the framing of the real (and performs largely invisibly--think of computer codes and Drone warfare). The / is not a separation, because it instantiates (makes "real") the Terminal Identity of the posthuman cyborg (i.e., all of us), now interiorized/exteriorized so there is increasingly little difference in the human lifeworld on one "side," and the paraspace of terminal "space" on the other. It is the new I/Thou of self as virtual unity, as the / of human/computer interfacing usurps much of the production of fantasy of the former human-to-(non-terminal)-world. The / is the window to (interface) fantasy cum Terminal Reality.

21 January 2012

Haiku

Darkness awaits light
while Earth orbit in motion
prepares springtime flower

06 January 2012

COME AND GO THE SAD LAUGHTER

What kind of world is it that a woman births
a son
and then must sit in a high chair in front
of the casket
to greet all his
friends
who number in the hundreds
alternating laughing
crying that laughs
and laughter that cries
with sad glads
and glad/sad remembrances
of hellos goodbyes
swirling around everywhere
the tears, the tears, the tears.
What kind of world is it?
The kind that laughs and cries
in the finality of the comings and goings.

DENDRITIC CONNECTIVITY


Bare trees, wispy limbs
like dendrites connecting sky
to moon moving by

04 January 2012

POLITICS PARANOID STYLE

The paranoid-style of politics resurfaces during economic downturns (late 19th century, early 20th), or perceived threats from within (McCarthy era, anti-civil rights groups), or without (1960s, with Goldwater, John Birch Society). (See Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style of American Politics, first written 1965, re-released 2008).

I have Facebook friends, who certainly believe Pres. Obama "radical." Further, someone close to me fervently believed Obama was planning a Nazi-style putsch to overthrow the U.S. government from within back in spring 2010!

Hofstadter defines "paranoid style" as heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy--all part of much of the pseudo-conservative political right of today. This segment is more hard-nosed reactionary than conservative. An example of this is that there were reactionaries in the 1950s who believed Eisenhower a socialist!

Where are real conservatives when we need them?

03 January 2012

BEGINS TO LOOK LIKE HOME

Re any conjectured anthropomorphic sense that the Universe could possess: A pronoiac attitude--that the Universe is at least benign, and not actively malefic--seems to me a good one to have, if no less for the "fact" that surely there is power in positive thinking. I know; it assumes that the Universe is an active force that has teleologic, purposeful design (and not just a random occurrence with random events).

In these matters, I was profoundly influenced by R. Buckminister Fuller, ca. 1970, even attending campus meetings at the University of Kentucky, where I was fortunate enough to have attended a lecture by Bucky himself. I was thoroughly atheistic at the time, until reading Fuller's writings in which he speaks of the "cosmic intellectual integrity at work in the design of Universe." Fuller was a design scientist (otherwise an architect and mathematician by training, and an inventor by vocation) who thought about "design science" both mundane and cosmic.


Starting from the position that Universe has an undeniable overall design based on fundamental design principles that are endlessly repeated and never abrogated, it is appropriate, I believe, to postulate that humans are integrally part of the "design integrity."

When speaking of "God," Fuller said this many times: "God is a verb, not a noun, whether proper or improper." So, that's where I stand: the term "god" is not useful except to replace in a shorthand way the reality of the active, ongoing design integrity of Universe.

If one wants to reify "design integrity" into "Design Integrity," as I do, then cosmic processes begin to have an active, benign design. True, Universe does not "care," but Universe continually designs itself using its always-existing principles of design integrity, even at the level of an individual human who exists and develops within these design principles.

Fuller says humans are "magnificently successful products of design in a Universe the complexity and intricacy of whose design integrity utterly transcends human comprehension, let alone popularly acceptable descriptions of 'divine design'." Yet, that design (or Design) includes, I believe, the development of Homo sapiens sapiens and human consciousness as successful, "designed" events in a non-neutral (even "friendly") Universe where we are integrally designed to belong.

It begins to look and feel like Home.         

REPENTANCE

The Aramaic words both John the Baptist and Jesus (both Jews, of course) used for "repentance" meant "turn to" (or possibly "return to"), as was consistent to that used in the Jewish Bible (Old Testament), about which both John and Jesus were familiar. In the parable of the lost sheep, it is a matter of returning to the fold. The parable does not indicate the sheep should feel bad about it.

The repentance doctrine is likely from one of those pre-Christian practices of some of the "mystery cults" glommed onto the faith in medieval times. It is a difficult logic to equate repentance with love--it isn't necessary to the Christian message of love or at the core of the faith. And it is not a matter of (sometimes false) humbleness or contrition, it is more a matter of spiritual (and psychological) health--"love with all your mind and...strength."

Many preachers set up a message of dualism--usually the case for Christian sermonizing. Make it sound easy, but profound: take this path (the preacher's), not that path (the "wrong" one). Christians, many of them, must stay continually confused about which path they are on, with preachers constantly telling them they are on the wrong one. Alas, so little real spirituality offered in the messages (because so little to give). With so much emphasis on the negative of "repentance," too much spiritual capital is wasted.

SOCIAL EXPERIMENTATION

Legislation concerning climate-change mitigation, some say, is a "social experiment" "imposed" by politicians. These people then advance the idea that technology will solve our energy and environmental problems.

But the introduction of (any) technology is always a social experiment, too, sometimes radically altering society on a massive scale--think of the telephone, television, or the smart phones my students now see as vital extension of their minds and bodies. It has been the case, also, that technologies (and techniques in the arts) might be available but not used (think of renewable energy sources) because of the social/political milieu, now largely controlled by a techno-corporate state system.

Should we wait until the gargantuan energy industry (and its techno-corporatist state political partners) decides that the time is right to introduce a new socially experimental energy technology, based on its own profit (and political) needs? That likely will come much too late for the global environment and the energy/transportation needs of most people, even as it more than satisfies the profit-making requirements of private enterprise.

Life today is changing so extremely rapidly that all legislation and all technological introductions must be seen as "social experimentation" that will deeply impact society in all areas of existence. Our task is to decide which technologies and legislation are the vitally appropriate ones for survival and sustainability.

It is my opinion that at this point the social experimentation (again, technological and public policy) that is advanced is crucial for survival on a direly short time-scale. Waiting for corporatist decision-making seems a fatal option. Mistrust of government is necessary; but government is the only institution that will, in some degree, listen to the will of the people. If not, then we are entirely at the whim of the profit motive of an Empire of global corporations which could very well take the physical Planet and all people down with it.

Let's hope that social experimentation for survival is even an option left for humanity in the short time-frame that many scientists allot to us. 

ALREADY IN THE TEMPLE

From my perspective and experience, the typical Christian methodology for "drawing closer to God," and diminishing the ego is poorly developed. There is hardly anyone operating in the usual Christian circles, as far as I have observed, who knows anything about it. Most preachers have no clue; their clerical duties and seminary training do not provide them with much, or any, background. Marriage counseling, yes; how to actualize merging with God, little. Intense prayer is about all that is proffered as method. It is an essentially ego-based methodology (even "prayer" which still largely props up the ego) that can go only so far in the usual "Christian walk." 



Much of it is pretense, or complacency, in my estimation, fueled by a Medieval dualistic psychology and theology that sees God as residing in some mysterious Elsewhere in the Heavenly Empyrean beyond the celestial spheres, in the sense of God as a separate, thus removed, Being. 



Seems to me, the typical Christian is searching for a method to do what she says she wants to do spiritually but with no knowledge provided to her about how to do it. In any case, there is truly no true "searching," as if there is a "something" to be "found": God IS already, always Here. There is nowhere else to search. 



So, do not confuse or jump to any invalid conclusion about my supposed "searching" as if Truth has not been found, and I am "lost." The Path (not a "search") is the realization of oneself as a "conscious co-worker of the Divine Plan." Realize, actualize, this, and then one already, always lives in the Temple.

01 January 2012

JANUS GAZE TO IRAQ WAR BEGINNINGS

On any New Year's Day it is good to look backward as does the Roman god Janus, god of beginnings and transitions, and guardian of doors and gates.


My retro-gaze today is on the beginnings of the $2 trillion Iraq War. Remember the hype about the "mobile biological weapons laboratories," part of the massive campaign to sell the war to the always-distracted American public? They turned out to be refrigerated railroad cars carrying slabs of beef; and trucks used to generate hydrogen for weather balloons.

But, you say, it was the best intelligence at the time. Consider this: the single, initial source of the information was an Iraqi who was designated a "fabricator" of disinformation, and unreliable, by Britiish intelligence, German intelligence, and analysts in the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA-- BEFORE the war started. The Bush administration was briefed to this effect. Yet, Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, and Rice repeated the disinformation multiple times--Bush in a State of the Union address.

See this excellent website: http://www.leadingtowar.com/claims_facts_nomobile.php

I pray for few things. One thing I do fervently pray for is a world at peace. Sometimes this means an awakened American public; one willing to gaze backward to beginnings.

07 October 2011

CHINA AND INDIA

Three observations: Environmental pollution and devastation are so egregious in China they are already a drag on its economy. Human health is significantly impaired and will grow worse, requiring huge spending in health care and environmental remediation. India might grow its economy differently, without the worst of the pollution industries.


The transition to democracy in China is a giant question--about how it will play out. Already Chinese citizens launch protests at polluters who pay off local Party functionaries to bypass environmental regulations. The Chinese governmental system is corrupted at the local level and is the biggest complaint by citizens. So far, the Chinese economy has done well under the Chinese governmental system ("What does it matter the color of the cat, as long as it catches mice?" goes the big-poster slogan by Deng Xiao-Ping), but the future interplay of government (a one-party system) and the capitalistic economy is an unknown. Much instability could result, with capital fleeing the country. India, the world's largest democracy, could end up much more stable, although it has its sectrian troubles.


China is experiencing a worrisome aging of its population, and, I believe, will grow older in average age the fastest in the world, due to the demographic successes of its two-child policy (which it has loosened over the last decade). China's dependence ratio, then, will soon be a huge drag. Too many old people! India sits at a different, earlier, point along the demographic transition, so will have more workers longer than China (although India is in the midst of a population explosion it might not be able to handle well--too many young people!).


How to add up the pluses and minuses of China and India? Seems India looks better because of environment, democracy, and demographics.

16 September 2011

ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY IN SCHOOLS

 I say teaching environmental literacy is legitimate, even vital. It gathers in geography, history, geology, biology; it could also include literature, sociology, even psychology and philosophy. It could easily lean toward existence as a geography course with greater emphasis on the environment. Certainly it would need to focus on local studies, thus it would help students understand where they live. As it focuses on the locality of the community, it would afford students a greater sense of place and how it, and they, fit spatially into the global bio-econo-historico-scheme. Ultimately, with growth in sense of place comes growth in sense of, and knowledge of, self.

01 September 2011

SIMULACRUM OF HISTORY

In 2091, the Anti-HyperRealist Party, also known as the Ahrps, were locked in internecine struggle with the Reformed Baudrillardians for control of the Global Throng (the GTs) and its power to design the next Generation of cyborgs. A few weeks before Double Saints Ronnie Day (although historiography was outsourced to a consortium of BollyHolly interests, every school-cyborg knew of the two saints who were officially merged into a single McReagan), the Reformed Baudrillardians joined forces with the BollyHollians to control the GTs and its design of the next Generation. The design was uploadized to all person-devices, and named "Gagaslacrum," after a long-forgotten, but once influential entertainer-turned-media mogul. Immediately Ahrps were rounded up and sent to various mallparks for rehabilitation. Many were merged with a later version of Gagaslacrum. The original Pre-Cyborgian model was promoted on fast-track to sainthood (by edict of BollyHolly) due to her influence on the design of later Generations.

20 August 2011

HOME-CENTERED

Electronic connectivity to people and places enables a new social form of the Geographic/Cosmological Imagination in which we again reside at the center of it All. Finally, humanity is superseding, hopefully in time, the worldview of the de-centering Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution which promoted the literally "eccentric" view that we reside OUTSIDE everything: nature, our bodies, the Earth (i.e., living ON the surface of the globe of the planet, instead of "dwelling" IN the spherical World).  


From the perspective of our lived experience (the lifeworld, including electronic connectivity), we dwell from an experiential center--the center of the World. The global view looks to exploit the spatial substrate of the planet, even to escape from it, and creates an "Earth alienation." The spherical view looks outward from the center, similar to Medieval cosmology. 


Science, psychology, and cosmology are coming together to "re-place" the alienation of the last four centuries. Now, we can again live here and now in this spacetime. Call it Home.

17 June 2011

INTEGRATED HISTORY

Some people segregate historical narratives--e.g., the story of America--into histories of separate peoples. However, they cannot be separated without creating a sanitized, falsified history. A true historiography of America is the history of one country, not separate peoples. (And, yes, part of that narrative IS the legal segregation of "races" who were still in a relation with each other.) Explicitly, you cannot write the (white) history of America, as if there is a such thing, without writing alongside (actually within it) it the history of people of color in America. How would you write the narrative of the founding of (European) America without including the story of Native Americans? History is a fabric in which you cannot look at only the warp without the weave (there would be no "fabric," no substance).


 If there is any such thing as a "white history," it can only be understood as a relation with people of color in America. At the level of individual people, many white families in America (mine included) can only properly be understood by including (largely unacknowledged and unwritten) narratives of relations with blacks. No group "deserves" a "place"--that's segregated historiography; but the real story must be written and taught.


Historical themes and strands must be chosen. If a widely lauded and salient theme of America--what we are about and who we are--has been the historical development of freedom, liberty, democracy, empowering the common man, justice, and so on--how could you disinclude the narrative of black struggle for all these things? Is it not logical to make the case that this is one of the most important narratives in American (indeed world) history? This narrative can ONLY be written, not by segregating the story, but by including "black history" as integral to the American narrative.





15 May 2011

VIRTUALIZED STUFF

It is not only teens who prize virtual possessions! I read an article by professors at Carnegie Mellon University (Odom et al., CHI 2011 Advance Technical Conference, Vancouver, BC, May 7-12, 2011), who say the immaterial artifacts of the online world may be as precious to teens as material possessions. In fact, that a virtual possession does not have a physical form may actually enhance its value. Besides online photos, think of the electronic equivalents of books and music, such as e-books, and IPod downloads. Further, computers are now generating artifacts that have never been material: social-networking profiles, online-game avatars, etc. 


Personal stuff now has ubiquity: you can look at your photos (and FB account) in bed or at the mall.Then there's the cell phone. To teens, the smart-phone is now a treasure--no, it is their very self!--that gives them access to an "omnitopia" (Andrew Wood, City ubiquitous: Place, communication, and the rise of omnitopia [2009]), an everywhere/anywhere to which they are connected.

ROCKS IN THE MINDSCAPE

I have rocks all around where I live--inside! I have a rock from the volcanic sill behind my house from when I lived in the Santa Monica Mountains, California (1989-1993). I have a quartzite (crystal) rock I have been toting around since I lived in and around Lexington, Kentucky (1965-1979). I have rocks in the form of Native American arrowheads and axes from southern Kentucky, which are very approximately possibly 2,000 years old, that I have kept with me since the 1960s. 


Some people have quipped that they are here to remind me, in case of sudden-onslaught Alzheimer's, of who I am! Get it? (My surname is Stone.) 


One thing that pleases me about my imminent move to Nashville, Tennessee, is that there are actual outcroppings (the Nashville Dome) similar to the limestone outcroppings of the Inner Bluegrass--the Jessamine or Lexington Dome, which is geologically part of the Cincinnati Arch, so the stratigraphy is virtually the same. That will begin to feel closer to my sense of home (I am from Kentucky and lived in and around Lexington for 14 years). 


Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast the bedrock is a few hundred feet below surface covered by coastal sediments. 


I need rocks in the landscape of my life, specially the 200-million-year-old limestones. 

AMERICAN OIL SUPPLY: WHO'S MINDING THE STORE?

Re the analogy of the U.S. opening its own "store" (representing increased oil drilling in the U.S.): I ask, who is it who opens the new store? The proprietors of the new store opened it to sell on the market to anyone who walks in the door, not only to people in the neighborhood. Unless there is a law that requires dedicated sales to the neighborhood, then the store has opened on the global market. It is NOT a neighborhood store operating in a restricted sales area. In case of shortage of items to sell, the new store will sell to those who can pay the higher prices. The new store does not have loyalty to the neighborhood; after all, it is a business, not a charitable organization. The United States does not produce oil; oil corporations produce oil. So, in the analogy, the U.S. does not open the "store." 


Unless the U.S. passes laws requiring oil sales only to the neighborhood (to the U.S), then a global store it is. True, OPEC is instrumental in setting global prices (and insuring a steady supply), and the oil corporations (even the ones who are ostensibly "American") seem to be happy about that. The issue of control is an interesting one. By the way, nowhere do I say that OPEC does not have a stranglehold over the people of the U.S.; indeed it does (with "our" consent because "we" do not pursue serious policies of alternative energy sources), but, importantly, the stranglehold comes with the collusion of ostensibly "American" oil corporations. How are they any different than an Arab sheikdom? I believe it would be no different if all the world's oil were in hands of oil corporations, instead of a mix of private corporations and nationalized companies such as the ones in Brazil, Venezuela and other South American countries, Mexico, Russia, Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries, countries in Central Asia, India, Malaysia, and the Middle East. 


My point is that the pretense of the "U.S." increasing production is a myth because the "U.S." does not produce oil. If the people of the U.S. want some control over supply (but pricing would still be very difficult to restrict to a single country), then the U.S. government should nationalize the "American" oil corporations, giving back control to the country, and run them perhaps something like TVA. 


Otherwise, it is not an Arab sheik to whom we bow, we kowtow also to BP, Chevron, Exxon-Mobile, and the like. I am not bashing the oil corporations. They are what they are, operating on a global market. This latter fact is impossible to counteract, unless there is change in ownership.

08 May 2011

DANCING IN THE SPRINGTIME STREET

Perhaps some of the hopeful vibes of the Arab Spring have wafted around the world affecting the quality of springtime everywhere this year. (I'm simply in an imaginary mode, of course.) Here on the Missisippi Gulf Coast spring seemed more brilliant than usual (past tense, because our spring is palpably short, quickly segueing into semi-summer). But we have about five weeks of near-perfect weather here in spring: dry, breezy, not hot, and very clear and sunny. And, the oddest occurrences: Magnolias, and perhaps some other species, decide to be deciduous in April; the large, dried, brown magnolia leaves clack along on the pavement sounding like a troop of wooden-shoed cloggers and speckle people's green lawns with large brown splotches. It's a great time, springtime, to give thanks.