Friday, December 19, 2008


Ever since I ran across this comment by John Trudell it has stuck with me.

Question: Is the writing a complete spiritual source for you?

Trudell's Answer: "I hadn't thought of it in those terms. But I just know it makes me feel better. What surprises me is people will say to me what they get out of these songs, they get this or they get that or it helped them in some kind of a way. It's always kind of a surprise to me because everything came out of desperation and confusion, ya know, it came out of all the turmoil. So if there's a positive effect for people, I'm really glad because it validates what I'm doing in many ways. But again it's not something I can sit down and say "Well, I set out to do this." In a way I set out to purge it out of me. Jackson called it "upheaval" one time. And in a way that's really true. It's like an upheaval and I'm just purging this stuff. When I first started writing, that's what it was. Realistically, when I first started it was a therapy. Not that it was a conscious therapy. I knew I had to write, you know, I had to do something. It was either write or kill or do something, and I thought, well writing is better."

This morning I'm full of upheaval. And there are times when I'm so full of upheaval that I have to purge it out of myself onto the pages of my notebook or the internet.

When I find myself in this place of upheaval I am glad about one thing: I don't blame this upheaval on myself anymore (Thank you Ishmael)It's not me, it's the god damn culture that I'm a part of. It's not changing fast enough for me. What I mean by that is friends, family, neighbors, and local writers very rarely talk about the problems we face as a culture. And that takes me back to R.D Laing's three rules of a dysfunctional family.

"I don't think there really is anything even remotely resembling academic freedom or freedom of discourse within the culture. I keep thinking about RD Laing's 3 rules of a dysfunctional family, which are also the 3 rules of a dysfunctional culture. Rule A is Don't. Rule A.1 is Rule A does not exist. Rule A.2 is Never discuss the existence or nonexistence of Rules A, A.1, or A.2. The way this plays out within an abusive family structure is that the members can talk about anything they want except for the violence they must pretend isn't happening. The way this plays out on the larger social scale is that we can talk about whatever we want--we can have whatever 'academic' or 'journalistic' 'freedom' we want--so long as we don't talk about the fact that this culture is based on systematic violence, and has been from the beginning. Anyone who's been paying any attention at all for the last 200 years knows that the United States is based on systematic violence. We live on land stolen from Indians. The economy runs on oil stolen from people the world over. The entire economy is based on conquest and theft. It's no wonder most of the people in the world hate the U.S. But of course we can't talk about that. Anyone who does talk about that and is noticed must be silenced as quickly as possible."

I told Annie this morning that we can unschool Daniel, work on becoming mortgage free, learn our local plants, eat local foods, and write letters to the editor. But, you know what? Our efforts may be fun, fullfilling and nourishing, but none if it does a damn bit of good if the people around us don't really give a shit. The culture will continue on it's path of ecological destruction. And this takes me back to this excerpt out of the same interview with John Trudell.

"For an individual to take responsibility, because the individual leads to the collective, for an individual to take responsibility, I think we should always tell ourselves the truth. We should never lie to ourselves. Some of the most dangerous lies are the lies of rationalization and justification. We should always tell ourselves the truth. We should always be real with ourselves, even if our truths are glorious or shameful. Even if it's things we do that we don't like doing, we should always be truthful to ourselves about what we're doing. Because if we cannot be real to ourselves, then we will not be real in the world. And that's just the way it is."

When do we plan on starting to tell the truth about what were doing here as a culture?

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