Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Excitement of Thought

Posting another quote that James Hillman used in "The Force of Character."

"A thought is a tremendous mode of excitement."--Alfred North Whitehead

I just got my notice that James Hillman's book titled: Loose Ends is in at our local library. Looking forward to picking it up.

Did I ever tell you how thankful I am for libraries?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Revisiting George Draffan Interview

Lately I've felt the need to go back and read some of the early Derrick Jensen interviews, and this morning I finally did it. The first one I had in mind was with George Draffan. This excerpt jumped out at me: "As civilization arose, power began to become centralized, as it is in the second face. The powerful created a discourse — later divided into disciplines such as religion, philosophy, science, and economics — that rationalized and institutionalized injustice. After ten thousand years, we all to some extent believe that these differentials in power are inevitable."--George Draffan

Monday, February 27, 2012


"Character is fate."--Heraclitus

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Going Against the Dragon

"Mythology is more helpful than enlightenment or to put it chronologically, years of mythology need to come, accustoming the soul to darkness, before the soul is ready for enlightenment."

I pulled this quote from this interview. I find myself returning to it once every couple of months.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


‎"Only gradually did I understand that saying a thing once is tantamount to saying it not at all. It is indeed sufficient for people to hear the laws of thermodynamics once, and to understand that they're written down somewhere, should they ever be needed again, but there are other truths, of a different human order, that must be enunciated again and again and again -- in the same words and in different words: again and again and again."---Daniel Quinn

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brain Imagery

More from The Sibling Society:

"The average child in the United States sees six thousand hours of television by their fifth year.... Television floods the infant-child brain with images at the very time his or her brain is supposed to learn to make images from within.... Failing to develop imagery mean having no imagination." [Pg.186]

Thursday, February 23, 2012


"Are people feeling guilty nowadays? Well, if I were asked to lay my finger on one of the most striking differences between the social climate of Europe and the West as it is today and as it was, say fifty years ago, I think I should have to specify the presence in it almost everywhere of a vague, uneasy feeling of guilt. There is and atmosphere of guilt....Responsibility is food for the will, guilt is food for the feelings only....confused feelings of guilt tend to beget paralysis rather than energy.

"Those who are old enough to remember the years between the wars will recall the skillfull use Hitler made of just that paralysis in the 30's, when even young people, who were in their cradles at the time it was signed, were somehow made to feel guilty about the unjust provisions of the Treaty of Versailles."

He then goes on to say:

"Feelings of guilt tend to turn rather easily into feelings of hatred and contempt. We may feel a bit guilty ourselves, but we are very sure that a whole lot of other people are much more guilty, and probably ought to be destroyed."--Owen Barfield

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday, while on the mail route, I was thinking about this statement by Robert Bly: "Among boys, one could say that if the son is released from the oedipal struggle with his father, he will find somewhere in his life areally big male energy that wants to kill him." (Of course, this is what Jack in the Beanstalk is all about.) A few minutes later The Greek Myth of The Iron Cage entered my thoughts.

"As the generations pass they grow worse. A time will come when they have grown so wicked that they will worship power, might will be right to them and reverence for the good will cease to be. At last, when no man is angry any more at wrong doing or feels shame in the presence of the miserable, Zues will destroy them too. And yet even then something might be done, if only the common people would rise and put down rulers that oppress them."--The Greek Myth of the Iron Cage

I'm wondering what the relationship is between the two is, if there is any. I'm thinking that if the oedipal struggle and male to male intiation is lacking in a culture it faces the threat of being destroyed by Zues.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mr. Gasset

Yesterday, I was paging through James Hillman's book The Force of Character, and in it he quoted Jose Ortega y Gasset and mentioned that he was a great philosopher. I thought to myself I really need to get to learn more about Gasset's work. So this morning I get up, flip open my notebook to some notes and quotes from the past and what is the first thing I come across:

Written on 10/31/11: "Most people cannot 'say' what the person before them is like, but being unable to 'say' does not imply that one is unable to see."--Jose Ortega y Gasset

I'll be learning more about Mr. Gasset.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Einstein Insight

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."-- Albert Einstein

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Caring for Stories

"The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memory. This is how people care for themselves."--Barry Lopez

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It Wanted To Be Posted

I pulled one of my notebooks off the shelf this morning, opened it up to a page, and the first words I layed my eyes on were written on Sunday March 12th, 2009: "Almost nothing exerts a more powerful hold on people's minds than unexamined and unchallenged received wisdom--and human exceptionalism is certainly part of that legacy."[Daniel Quinn, pg.102, If They Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways]

Friday, February 17, 2012

Children and Mythological Thinking

"What children very deeply want to know of history is how things got to be this way--but no one in your culture would think of teaching them that. Instead they're overwhelmed with ten million names, dates, and facts they 'should' know, but that vanish from their heads the moment they're no longer needed to pass a test. It's like handing a thousand-page medical text to a four-year old who wants to know where babies come from."--[Daniel Quinn, pg.148, My Ishmael]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

If I Had The Chance

If I had the chance to sit down with the poet Robert Bly tomorrow I'd ask him this: Mr Bly, back in 1996 you wrote this in The Sibling Society, "We are drawing nearer to what Freud call the 'the pure culture of the death instinct.[Pg.42].'" Given that you're in your mid-eighties now, and it has been over 15 years since you wrote that, do you feel that we're still headed toward "the pure culture of the death intstinct?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In Partial agreement

John Lennon once said this:

"I think our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for manical ends. I think they're all insane. But I am liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what is insane about it."

I partially agree, John. But back around the time you said this there was a U.S Senator from Wisconsin that wasn't totally off his rocker. This is what he had to say to the 91st Congress of the United States on January 19th, 1970:

"There is a great need, and growing support, for the introduction of new values in our society--where bigger is not necessarily better--where slower can be faster--and where less can be more. This attitude must be at the heart of the nationwide effort--and agenda for the 1970's--whereby this country puts gross national quality above gross national product."--Gaylord Nelson

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fear of Going Down

I had something else in mind to post this morning, but this poem by Antonio Machado fits the mood so well that the other is going to have to wait.

Mankind owns four things
That are no good at sea--
Rudder, anchor, oars,
And the fear of going down.--Antonio Machado

Monday, February 13, 2012

And It Spoke

I woke up this morning ready to search for an Antonio Machado poem talking about the human shadow, and stumbled across this one instead:

Every man has two
battles which he fights:
he fights with god in his dreams,
and he fights the sea when awake.--Antonio Machado

My interest in Melville and Moby Dick is growing.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Death Instinct

Robert Bly wrote this 4 years after I graduated from high school:

"We are drawing nearer to what Freud called "the pure culture of the death instinct."[Pg.42, The Sibling Society]

Saturday, February 11, 2012


The other day I found this poem in James Hillman's The Force of Character.

From mirror after mirror
No vanity's displayed
I'm looking for the face I had
Before the world was made
.--William Butler Yeats

Friday, February 10, 2012

More on Ishmael

Took the time and watched this video this morning. Now I have a better understanding why I recently wrote a letter into our local newspaper thanking a local high school student for mentioning that Ishmael was her favorite book in 2011. It took me three weeks to finally make up my mind and do it. And the letter really only amounted to a short paragraph thanking her (I'll post the letter within the next couple of days). But after putting aside all of my fears it was clear that: First of all, I wanted her to know that somebody in the community was paying attention to this. Because, like Mr. Bennett said in this video, once your mind is changed you look everywhere for signs of this different vision, and sometimes it's nice to know that others are looking too. Secondly, I wanted to publicly acknowledge that it was good to see that Ishmael was alive and well twenty years after its publication. Lastly, I know that after I read Ishmael, and the rest of Quinn's work, I longed to meet up with other readers (Where I live it's 15 miles to the closest city, so it was tough at times) and sit face to face and talk about his work. And as a side note, and as fate would have it, I met up with a like minded woman (She's an old hippie, just ask her.) that lived just down the road from me, and she mentioned that she had a daughter returning from California that I might be interested in. And again, as fate would have it, we're happily married expecting our 3rd child this September. I'm glad the book fell into my hands when it did.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Show Yourself

Seeking more elder wisdom this morning, and found it in "The Force of Character."

"We look at each other to see into each other. Of course we misjudge and follow the wrong perceptions, but these errors do not negate the idea that it is a citizen's duty to make his face public. Only God may hide his face." [James Hillman, Pg. 151]

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Destruction of Fatherhood

Yesterday I mentioned that I was rereading parts of Robert Bly's "The Sibling Society." I ran across a statistic that I have occasionally grieved over since I first read it years ago:

The partriarchal system's destruction of fatherhood continues in the United States: here is its free hours that are 'enclosed.' In 1935, the average working man had forty hours a week free, including Saturday and Sunday. By 1990, it was down to seventeen hours. The twenty-three lost hours of free time a week since 1935, are the very hours in which the father could be a nurturing father, and find some center in himself, and the very hours in which the mother could feel she actually has a husband." [Pg. 36, The Sibling Society]

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Primacy of The System

Been up since three a.m. rereading the first two chapters of Robert Bly's "Sibling Society." This quote by Fredrick Winslow Taylor sums up some aspects of the first two chapters nicely: "In the past the man has been first; in the future the System must be first." The System, of course, has given us power beyond our ancestor's wildest dreams.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Regret and Racoons

On the mail route the other day, I saw a dead racoon lying on the centerline. I drove by it twice and didn't take the time to move it, and I'm regretting it now. That's the second dead coon I've seen in the past 3 days. The other was lying in the middle of a frozen lake with tire tracks across it's back. Someone apparently thought it would be fun to run it down and kill it. I didn't move that one either (I was to busy wiping its guts off from my dog because he rolled in it), and of course I regret that too. Ever since reading this passage by Dennis Martinez I've tried to move roadkill off the road when time permits.

"The words conservation and ecology, as we use them in the Western sense, don't exactly fit what Indian people did or do with the land. It was their livelihood, which depended on reciprocity. Thus, the trees were not seen as trees, they were also seen as relatives. The trees are relatives and other species are relatives and they watched you all the time. It was a forest that looked at you to see how you were handling the remains of plants and animals.

"An animals shadow soul is alive for a long time after an animal is killed, and it watches how you treat the remains
." [Dennis Martinez, pg. 93 Original Instructions]

Sunday, February 05, 2012

To The Point

A few days back I posted a quote out of If The Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways and mentioned that I was working on a letter to our local newspaper about Ishmael. I was going to try and work two Quinn quotes into the letter, but I just might stick with this:

I would like to thank [Student] for letting us know that her favorite book of 2011 was Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. 20 years after its publication it's good to see the book is alive and well.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

No Respect

The other day we went ice fishing. It was my dad, son, and I. And, for the first time, we took our chocolate lab out there. Before we left there was a concern that he would find something to roll in, perhaps a dead minnow or some fish guts. But I figured the chances were fairly slim that he would actually find something, so we took him anyway. Well, he found something to roll in right in the middle of the lake.

What was it? A dead racoon with tire tracks across it's back. During one of its evening hunts the racoon must have been out there eating dead minnows or fish that fisherman had thrown up on the ice. Unfortunately someone thought it might be fun to run it down and kill it. The first word that came to mind when I saw it was: cruel. And this quote that I came across in David Abram's Becoming Animal also came to mind:

"We know what the animals do, what are the needs of the beaver, the bear, the salmon, and other creatures, because long ago men married them and acquired this knowledge from their animal wives. Today the priests say we lie, but we know better. The white man has been only a short time in this country and know very little about the animals; we have lived here thousands of years and were taught long ago by animals themselves. The white man writes everything down in a book so that it will not be forgotten; but our ancestors married animals, learned all their ways, and passed on this knowledge from one generation to another.[A Carrier Indian From British Columbia, pg.259, Becoming Animal]

Friday, February 03, 2012

I've been working on a letter to the editor of our local newspaper. It's going to be thanking a local high school student for mentioning Ishmael in the paper. I'm going to try and work this quote into it.

"The subject of Ishmael is the unrecognized and unacknowledged mythology of our culture, which Ishmael formulates as a story that spells out the relationships among Man, the world, and the gods. In this context the gods are mythological, which is not to say that they're unreal but rather that their reality is irrelevant. The world was made for man to conquer and rule, and Man was made to conquer and rule it--according to our mythology. It goes without saying that this is a divinely appointed mission. The Europeans who drove the indians off their land and put that land to the plow sincerely believed they were doing God's work."[Daniel Quinn, Pg. 49, If They Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways]

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Struggle Within

Lately, while watching the fire in the morning, I've been pulling books off the shelf that have influenced me. I'll read some of it and usually grab a pencil and write out some passages longhand that move me. It's good writing practice. Here is one of the passages I copied:

"Why has the interior judge become so brutal and terroristic? We can say that advertising from a child's earliest years has so influenced the greedy, desirous part of the child's soul that the resisting force, the judge, has to enlarge itself in order to combat the inflamed wanting. The interior judge, moreover, can no longer rely on outward authority in it's battle against impulse. Having to resist without help from the parent or teachers, it has to do it all alone, and so it naturally moves toward primitive, humorless savagery, well expressed in grunge rock, action movies and piercing of body parts."[Robert Bly, Pg.xii, The Sibling Society]

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Longing to be Childish

One of my favorite parts from Robert Bly's "The Sibling Society":

There is little in the sibling society to prevent a slide into primitivism, and into those regressions that fascism is so fond of. Eric Hoffer remarked: 'Drastic change [has produced] this social primitivism ... [the] mass movement absorbs and assimilates the individual ... [who] is thereby reduced to an infantile state, for this is what a new birth really means: to become like a child. And children are primitive beings -- they are credulous, follow a leader, and readily become members of a pack....Finally, primitivism also follows when people seek a new identity by plunging into ceaseless action and hustling. It takes leisure to mature. People in a hurry can neither grow nor decay; they are preserved in a state of perpetual puerility.' "[pg.ix, The Sibling Society]

I looked up puerility after reading this quote again. It simply means to act childish and silly.