a tangent to tangental history
after a few days leaving the farm, wet, and tired of camping - dreaming of a shower, a fireplace and a good book; i headed through Seattle for an afternoon [nice city, market, architecture, vibe cool] and landed back at Lindsay's house again a day early after a long night searching for camping spots and ending up between the trees along a random river. I expect to be here now for the next 5 days until I depart [by wheel or plane] for my return flight to Amsterdam. It's been great to rest here, take a warm shower, lie by the fire place, snuggle with the cat, shave, cook, i feel like a new man!
tomorrow is the burning man decompression party in Portland! That's going to be phat! I'm so happy to be back here, its amazing to think that I'll have spent nearly 3 weeks here! It's become a sort of second home to me [among many second homes I do decree].
It is also interesting because I feel quite happy to be returning to Amsterdam now - odd because just 10 days ago, I still didn't feel like going back at all [see procrastination blog entry]. The pressure of a return has forced my mind to solidify my state of affairs more clearly. But I'm perplexed in a way that things should be this difficult to decide.
In my journal, list after list is made; diagram after diagram - mapping my wishes, my priorities, my dreams - little bubbles with skills, ambitions are drawn, future scenarios in my head are played out; options are tested, turned, alternated; potential future selves reflect on decisions i never made and ask questions relating to other options never selected... All this, in a series of passing thoughts between the pages of other books, encounters, or a whizzing radio frequency chattering while i drive my car about the latest sale [only 9.95, buy now!], jesus christ's love, or your eternal damnation, war justification propaganda or just some scot's man competing with david letterman's life long rein of television for capitalistic endeavors... these are the days spent behind the wheel - my car on cruise control, the belly of my machine filled with iraqi oil, the windshield wipers polishing a view of the falling yellow autumn leaves, gray skies engulfing my 6 windows as reservoirs pass behind the corners of my eyes, my shoes set beneath the radiator to dry...
so yes, i've been reading a lot lately. Lindsay is such a librarian, we also have many great talks about many a wide topic - very philosophical; which is - if you haven't noticed, something I enjoy most thoroughly.
in the current clamoring of books, I'm reading - among other titles [simultaneously going back and forth]:
"the never ending story"
"a peoples history of the united states" pt 1 and 2 and,
"set speaks: the unknown reality" [book 3]
the never ending story is wonderful, the movie only goes about 2/5ths into the book, and changes a few important details, omits certain parts - it's a good read, a recommended titled, and I've been reading with a dedication these last days. There are lots of important messages here, one of the dozens of topics that echo my life is:
imagination [yeah, here it is again]: according to the author: if we do not value it, our lives end up becoming stifled, gray and meaningless - There is strong parallel in this book to my belief that: "imagination IS creation" - without imagination, life remains 'as-is' and change is impossible. You need imagination to create growth, change. The book goes directly into social problems in society and makes the parallel that when mankind rejects imagination, fairy-tales, stories and other forms of alternate realities: it in turn destroys itself, because it has lost all ability to recreate itself: to imagine change beyond the present: for by accepting only the 'known' you accept only the past; there can thus be no future. The people become locked into a reality which can not change because they have lost the ability to dream, and this in turn becomes a walking death... [ha-hum! deep for a kids book, eh?]
"A peoples history of the united states" is a terribly interesting, yet painful read. It accounts the history of the united states not through the eyes of the government, politicians, common-press; but through the changes and histories of the people involved. The public; the 98% or so of the people who actually experienced the history, which we are often not told; but also of the people's affected BY the colonizing Americans. There are a lot of interesting strong points here; one of the first important ones is the re-accounting of the initial spanish [european] affairs with the indians [native americans]. I knew there was blood shed and atrocities; but the scale and sheer repugnant irony of it was thus unconnected. From between the genocides [over decades and centuries] you really feel that there is a few key underlying issues:
1. Man's belief that something can be "possessed" leads him to destroy that which he desires in an ever perpetuating cascade into darker and darker domains which seem unbreakable as the debt only increases and each preceding shame leads to deeper, shifting, destruction. [indian genocide [hate] -> slavery [racism] -> war's etc. etc.]
2. The more technologically advanced the weaponry of a civilization, the more extensive the level of control one can exert on their OWN people.
3. The poor and lower class citizens are time-and-time again both the one's who suffer the most from each and every event in history; and those who are the most easily manipulated because of their suffering.
4. The rich are generally unshifting, despite 'revolutions' or 'independence' [there is little to no movement between the classes over all of american history [and I can guess its the same globally]] - their political power struggles between themselves create historical events, manipulations, policy and propaganda that affects the laws, cultural norms, psychology and reality that ultimately feeds off of the livelihood of the poor for the direct benefit of the rich-man's coffer. The blood of the poor spills [literally] so that the rich can get richer.
This human obsession with "more", power, acquisition leads to the destruction of those beliefs that are sustainable, timeless, harmonious. It corrupts both itself, as well as those around it, and ultimately destroys both the beauty it sees; as well its own [beauty here defined as a metric of its internal-value]. And yet, it also perpetuates, expands - and like any creature on this earth - it shifts and adapts. It is perhaps as undying as any creature on the earth ["it" being the as-yet unformed knowledge of consciousness-aware living]. The night to humanities light. The tsunami that periodically removes the old so that new may grow. It, the less-desired-virtues-of-man, is not what we cherish most; but perhaps it is also not what we are when given a chance to be who we truly are.
Regarding racism, isn't it ironic that a group of people go off to another country, kill the men, women and children - enslave them, bring them back and make them serve them, torture, abuse, hang, burn and rape them, and then they hate them and think that they are superior? This is quite illogical! The only possible psychological explanation is that the guilt from the white-man's acts are so extreme, that the only [seeming] recourse for the psyche is to build an explanation around its actions retroactively. Otherwise, their system of beliefs would crumble - for all men want to think of themselves as good; and are unfortunately often un-self-forgiving. Responsibility for one's actions; admitting wrong when wrong: these are basic traits which seem lacking. Instead it's: "I killed you because you deserved it"; "i treat you badly because you needed it"... when will people learn the basic virtues of life?
The irony is that the virtues that these people [in this case: the white-america] need are actually contained within their religion; and in their laws - but in a mystifying feat of self-deception; an entire people live on with the guilt of self-perpetuated misgivings. A sad affair, still reflected, perpetuated and very well alive [though modified] in the 21st century.
It is a tough cycle to break; certainly from within. I sometimes wonder when facing the great wave, what can anyone do? how can anyone make a start; without loosing themselves under the wave [without making a mark and thus: an effort waisted]? Is this simply the cycle of vishnu [destruction-creation] - the cyclical processes of consciousness? Are we drawn to these times to come to terms with the unstoppable? Or is it our place to stand up and make a stand; even if they know it is in vain, to be swept in the wave; at any cost? certainly many before me have tried; many in vain - but not all - some had made a mark; many have made a difference, but it is always so small... at least, the impact seems so. The history, told from any side will always show that those who held virtues of greed, power at the expense of an other, and other less-valued beliefs, remain for the most either unaffected; or easily replaced. History, that is, as told by the western society: the perpetrators; but not all mankind has lived in this duality before; this duality need to be the norm...
The conclusion I had come to, back in 2001 - after about a year of continual internal debate regarding if I should become an activist [i was quite charged that year with all the ongoings in the USA], was that the best way I could make a difference was to focus on my self, those around me, and the spreading of a positive view; a positive world, as much as possible. My 'activism' lies within my immediate means. I still firmly stand behind this belief.
If I were to conjure a solution; I think what is needed is for people, and I mean now everyone: so all classes and creeds, to really have a vision for humanity. But what would make an even bigger difference, is the combination of not fearing death with a new set of morals which would encompass such things as:
[i brain storm now, so this list is not complete, nor final]
* a belief that we, you, i, humans are NOT superior to any thing, person or animal. We are a part of the world, not above it. We ALL deserve to live, we all deserve happiness, and there is always enough to share. We once thought the earth was flat, then we thought earth was at the center of the universe.. one day we will [re]realize that humans are not at the TOP of the food chain, we are simply a part of a food-web. We are not 'above' nature, we 'are' nature - we are our environment. This non-superiority is both internal: between each other human being, and external: between mankind and all other animals/creatures/things.
* a rejection of the idea of ownership. "things" should be shared, used, as needed. if things are shared as they are needed; everyone has what they need, no one has things they don't need, there is no suffering, and no greed: two primary causes for war, hatred, fears etc. This is not as far fetched as it seems since if you look at any sustainable civilization in the past: ie one that neither taxed nor destroyed its environment, these cultures all practiced forms of non-ownership - it is quite easy to have this cultural norm; one easy way that it takes hold is simply through cultural-social pressure. I regress: if you can IMAGINE it; it can [will] come true. It has already for thousands of years globally in recorded human history...
The Native Americans had some very interesting differences in terms of governance, and I'm curious to learn more about the details of this anthropology. There were seemingly a vast array of differences in how they viewed social organization. No land possession rights [i have read some beautiful quotes that state: "the land is our chapel, the sky is our roof"], there was no marriage that bound people together in terms of possession, women were equals and in some ways more better off than the men, they had no material possession rights [you shared what you had, surplus always divided, those who needed something used it within reason / respect], and they were anti-government, anti-taxes... to them, man was self ruling. Why would anyone pay money to another? No laws, no written rules, no prisons, no set rulers - people knew what was right from wrong; and if someone did something wrong; they would know it because of the reaction of their peers until everyone felt that they had regained their trust by deed or word. If a common goal needed to be achieved, they united together to enact that goal instead. And yet they lived in affluence at more than 25 million people, for years and years - a very large number for being non-industrialized, non-central government organized - before the arrival of the Europeans.
It seems to me that the only reason white man is 'superior' here in the history books, in our reality of the present [superior now in-terms of being: white society prevailed: dominated; Indian society declined] - is because white man relied on the lack of virtuous-virtues: deceit, corruption, hatred, murder, greed all at the expense of their own people [the whites using indentured servants / black slaves and the poor] to obtain more and more in a futile quest for acquisition of something which is fundamentally meaningless... It's the same scenario as with racism: "Our civilization kills yours; that makes us better; we are superior because... we can kill you and did". The reliance on negative social characteristics doesn't prove superiority; it only creates suffering - and this suffering will ultimately decay those [people, societies, cultures, nations] who wield it - a decay which broods from within, until reconciled. For it is not only the slave who suffers, but also the master; both are tied in a duality of suffering.
In the Alchemical view of transformation: every transformation we undertake in the world; changes both subject and observer. When I give love; I am love. When I kill, i kill myself. When I hate, i become hate. When I build a building, I build myself... and so forth...
Would it not make more sense for a people to quest for equality, freedom and stability; than for a people to strive to become powerful, monolithic and expansive while becoming ever more corrupt, deceitful and judgmental in the process? Frankly this idea that 'capitalism: the quest for personal-greed equates the best for all mankind' is the most ridiculous set of moral standard codes I think my being has ever laid eyes upon. Its truth so transparent I can only fathom it's this very transparency which has caught so many souls in its web...
There are many other areas to go into... science is an interesting subject; especially because it is so closely linked to three important modes of thinking:
- separation of subject from observer
- progress = solution
Which leads me in a tangent to another important key understanding to how reality works [geez this is turning into a real magmalian-posting!]
* in this reality [ie, earth-worldy place] to create anything, you must create its opposite*. Therefore every "truth" you can say, implies that an opposite truth also exists. The chair which is good for you to sit on; is bad for the tree you just killed [or the mushrooms that would have bred on the decaying log], the birds that used it and so forth. To have light, there must be darkness. To be alive, there must be death. But this also extends to concepts: to believe there must be a god is to imply that there can also be none. To imply that you can understand the world by observation, separation and reductionism [aka commonly accepted scientific principles of thought] is to imply that you can ALSO understand the world through subjective-experience, application and holistic thinking [system, integral, artisan processes].
*: (in all honesty any discussion about opposite [but one] "dualities of creation" is incomplete unless I also discuss trianary-binding principles; but this is an entirely different tangent which I hope to eventually cover here in a future post, or in my book/card/art project[s]]
If you only look at the world through science, you will never really have, in my opinion, a complete picture of the fundamentals of our universe/reality; though you may make great discoveries, and clearly will invent great things. The same applies to one who thinks only holistically and by doing so creates great meals, working systems and balanced social networks. Neither is superior, they are equivalent but oppositely expressed. We find this duality in other places, like the human brain: with left and right brain separation of function. Would you conclude that a man who thought only with this left brain, at the expense of the right, was truly a man of learned wisdom? The problem [if i can call it that, because i don't really believe in problems, i see it more like: 'potentials'] is that people currently think still that through science we will [eventually] understand "everything"... without even tackling the problem of knowing 'everything', there are are serious limits to scientific thinking... I can list dozens in many a field of thought... some of these include:
- the fact that something must be destroyed [example: dissected] to acquire knowledge. If you acquire knowledge by destroying something, you "kill" that which you are seeking to embody in the process... if we must kill to understand, will that not leave us alone in the universe? HOw can you understand the universe if you are destroying it in the process? To control something does not, in any way, imply that you understand it; rather its the opposite. If you tame a lion and observe it in a cage; you no longer know the lion. You have broken it; killed its spirit and eliminated something very real [yet not physical]: its culture, its honor, pride, its context...
- oberserver: participant split is a key issue in science. How do you 'know' what joy is? Do you define it, or experience it? What tests can you perform to understand joy? And if you never experience it, can you understand it? Clearly experience is just as much a form of valid knowledge as information is... and yet we devalue experience continually, claiming it is 'unverifiable'; qualitative judgments... but what is life then?
- science can't deal with anything that equates to infinity. And yet infinity is an important element of not only the world, but science itself. This is not an 'unknown' limit, scientists are well aware of these limits; but it glosses over this limit rather easily.
In fact, if any formula equates to infinity [or is divided by zero] they say: "well, this something which we can't understand, so something must be still wrong with the equation" - mathematics - and thus science, in this context, is limited to observable phenomena. Measurable-materia. Science, unlike holistic thinking, is unable to understand that 1+1 = 3. That the sum is often greater than the whole. That consciousness can exist when born of a collection of individual living cells. And yet in the world we constantly see this principle: the one of 1+1 = 3.
Despite entropy [the law of diminishing returns] the universe continually creates more and overflows with abundance - structure from structure. Chaordic evolution. Life on this small world fills every crack of every pore and teethes with fertility.
- science can't tackle any of the worlds most fundamental philosophical questions, and yet people [subconsciously?] treat science as if it was a philosophy or a path that leads to wisdom. Intelligence is NOT wisdom! Just because I have a gun, and you have a club doesn't mean I am WISER than you, maybe smarter; but intelligence without wisdom is but a child without guidance. But we are often guilty of this association... we equate 'progress' : having a bigger, faster, better weapons, planes, with evolutionary-wisdom.
'why are we here?', 'what is the meaning of life?', 'what is intuition?', 'what is life?', 'what is freewill?','what is time?', 'what is mater?' none of these questions have answers in science, although it is true that they have probed the effects and properties of such things, and yet many of these are topics fundamental questions that scientific-probeans ponder to answer already for many a time thus far told...
Progress is associated to science, there is this bizarre and yet so ingrained belief in the majority of all people that 'progress' really will solve things [later]. And yet if you look in anthropology, at the history of mankind, its precisely when we start making 'progress' that our cultures expand, and then collapse - the romans, the chinese [twice] the incas, the babylonians, the sumarians, the egyptians, they never sustain from a pursuit of 'better'; precisely the opposite results. 'Progress' implies something important: it implies that something new is put into the equation, in other words, it implies a change in equilibrium, disbalance. When the west invents an iphone; this doesn't help to create equality, rather it provides yet another device that people have to work [harder] for, increases the 'norm' in the western world, and the employment in the poor for less and less [currently in 3rd world countries]: it expands disbalance to the system and does not feed or cloth anyone in the process. A disbalanced equilibrium requires time to stabilize [assuming it is sustainable to being with]. It also takes far more time to reach an equilibrium than it does to destabilize a system.
There is a big difference between inventing something because of necessity and inventing something to create relative superiority.
"ethical-progress" would be one which worked to promote three ethics [which I borrow from permaculture theory]:
- care for the earth [ie what supports me, and all my co-exsisting neighbors]
- care for people [care for each other]
- redistribution of surplus
Progress should be measured not by what gadget we have, or how much bigger our bombs are, or fast our planes can now fly [as after all, the faster you move, the faster you run out of gas...] - true progress should be measured by how slow we can move and still arrive on time, by how well we have created equality - both within as well as without our culture. If our land is healthy, it means we are healthy [a concept from eco-psychology]. If our fellow animals and trees are living happily, it is a sure bet that we are too. The concepts of judgment, superiority [to anything], and ownership only lead to disbalance, suffering and eventual demise.
Which brings me full circle, back to the book [finally] because, as you may already have guessed, the american indians [native americans] had these ethics; as did the African's that America in-slaved [although to be fair both the American Indians as well as the African's had their share of cultural problems/historical misgivings: African's were known: for example, to also have practiced slavery between themselves - these ethical inacles are afterall universal, and not race, creed or culture specific - it is an eternal trial of man to be a man, to be what is right from what is wrong]...
Did you know that Holland was the largest trader/collector of slaves for the first phase of the slave trade the to America's? It still baffles me that the Dutch still celebrate 'Saint Nicolas' with his ship of slaves every year at Christmas time... and trot about claiming its 'not racist'?? When will the dutch realize their part in slavery?
BTW: Off topic now, but I recently found out that the children's toys produced by walt disney use child labor in 3rd world countries. I thought that was a particularly crazy twist of madness. Nothing could be more sick [=morally conflicting], in my mind, than being the CEO of that company... but that's another story.
On other fronts:
The e.g.s. [see past post] is at work, and i must say it not only works very well; but it also provides a bench mark for tracking my daily thoughts. I find that in general I only need to use the EGS about 1 to 3 times a day; and usually for just (half) a second. So far there has only been one day where I really needed it and it was harder to implement [but that was in the area of love/relationships - which, by any account, is probably a greater test of ones self than any...]
I'm starting a pro-biotic cure; since my stomach is still sensitive to acidic foods. My allergy to coconut is gone; I've been eating coconut now for months with no effect! I'm quite proud!
The pro-biotics cure might be necessary though because my stomach needs extra attention that the mind alone is not providing; a crutch so to speak. I've quite coffee again, I can't drink it without acidic backlash. I'm also interested in doing a form of a cure or fast [not a no-food fast, but rather a strict limited diet for a short 30 day period or so] - but i need to research this more before I start it. I'll be looking into a combined fermented foods diet cure with pro-biotic encouragement.
dream eagle out --->