Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rumi on Blindness

"The eye goes blind when it only wants to see why."--Rumi

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cheating On One Religion

I read this a few days back. Since I don't get out of Washburn County much let alone the country, it's interesting to learn how the Japanese handle religion.

"People in America are very committed to their religions. A religion to them is like a wife/husband or girl/boyfriend. You can only have one of them! If you are a Christian and you do yoga, you are cheating on Jesus!

"The Japanese, on the other hand, are very religiously promiscuous. They’re like polyamorists when it comes to religion. Lots of people over there go to Buddhist temples on the Buddhist holidays, Shinto shrines on the Shinto holidays and maybe even occasionally to Christian churches on the Christian holidays like Christmas or Easter. Lots of non-Christian Japanese people have church weddings, often with foreign guys pretending to be preachers. It’s no big deal."--Brad Warner on his blog titled: Hardcore Zen

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Initiatory Books

Lately I've been thinking of Daniel Quinn's and Derrick Jensen's work somewhat as books of initiation. I've also thought of my struggle to express myself here and in my journal as an initiation also. Why? Because I think Western Civilization is dying. It's at its end. And when the majority of the people in this society don't understand this on a conscious level one needs someone to articulate this to them or they'll think that they are going nuts. And eventually after one has this articulated to them they have the urge to express themselves also. Anyway, I ran across these quotes in A Terrible Love of War by the 20th century philosopher Michael Foucault that rationally explains what I'm getting at.

"For Nietzsche, Bataille, and Blanchot, experience has the function of wrenching the subject from itself, of seeing to it that the subject is no longer itself, or that it is brought to its annihilation or its dissolution. This is a project of desubjectivism."

"...however boring, however erudite my books may be, I've always conceived of them as direct experiences aimed at pulling myself free of myself, at preventing me from being the same."

"Which means that at the end of a book we would establish new relationships with the subject at issue: the I who wrote the book and those who have read it would have a different relationship with madness, with its contemporary status, and its history in the modern world."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Simple Marriage Quote

"It's better to marry than to burn."--St. Paul

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Reasons For War: Does The Land Demand Blood Sacrifice?

James Hillman on why the Civil War might have been fought:

"Suppose the entire American Civil War that has permanently marked the land and scarred the character of the American people was a sacrifice by a secular Christian society to a god or gods that had not been honestly remembered until the war, gods of the land, gods honored who had been there for centuries before the combatants donned the blue and the gray.

"Suppose the gods in this 'new world' soil were saying: 'You may not land here; you cannot claim this land by labor alone, nor by law or treaty, nor even by expulsion of others and the rights of victors. To claim this land you shall pay for it with your own blood, and until you have paid you have not truly landed; you remain colonists, attached still in soul to another mother as refugees from her, rebels against her, secretly fawning upon her, and have not let this land bring forth its birth in freedom.'"--Pg.103, A Terrible Love of War

Suppose this is why Derrick Jensen has often said that we must ask the land what it wants. It has its own wants and desires that we must pay attention to before we act to help it. I don't know. I do know that Heraclitus once said: "The true nature of things loves to hide and to stay hidden."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quinn Quote Saturday

Imagining extinction this morning. One of the affects Quinn's work had on me was that it opened me to the possibility, and perhaps the inevitability, of the human species going extinct much like the dinosaurs.

B's Beattitudes

Blessed are those who do
not exalt themselves above
their neighbors in the
community of life, for their
children shall have a world
to live in.

Blessed are those who
listen to their neighbors in
the community of life, for
they shall escape extinction.

Blessed are those who
refrain from imposing on
others their "one right way
for people to live," for
cultural diversity shall be
restored among them.

Blessed are those who
hunger and thirst for the
survival of all human
cultures, for they shall
preserve a legacy of wisdom
accumulated from the
beginning of time.

Blessed are those who do
not fancy themselves to be
rulers or managers or
stewards of the world, for
the world thrived for three
billion years without their
rule or their management
or their stewardship.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My First Book Of Rumi

My first book of Rumi fell into my hands on February, 20th. It's title: A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings. This book was given to President Obama as a gift from the author during the beginning of his first term as President. Rumi is the President's favorite poet. The poem on the day I received the book knocked my socks off and made me laugh at the same time.

Imagining is Like

Imagining is like feeling around
in a dark lane, or washing
your eyes with blood.

You are the truth
from foot foot to brow, Now,
what else would you like to know?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Citizenship and War

This quote by Machiavelli and James Hillman's commentary on it is stunning and inspiring.

"A prince...should have no other aim or thought, nor take up any other things for his study, but war; [he] ought...never let his thoughts stray from the exercise of war; and in peace he ought to practise it more than in war."

James Hillman goes onto say: "The prince, as generous metaphor for responsible citizen and concerned member of the polis, will keep a focused mind, a mind undistracted by the multiple diversions of peace, and a psyche neither numbed nor in denial. And he will maintain this clarity not merely by meditating or praying to benefit his own 'mental health,' but for the common good and the defense of the community. Hence, the prince 'ought never let his thoughts stray from...war.'" Pg. 36, A Terrible Love of War

I'm also beginning to see why Derrick Jensen titled one of his CD's: Now This War Has Two Sides.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gods and Porno Flicks

Could it be that Aphrodite finds her way into one's home through the porno flick? Maybe Jung is right, if we look hard enough we'll find the gods in our diseases.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Philosophy: A Frozen Form of Mythology

I'm going to take a stab at answering the questions I asked yesterday. Here is what I've come up with: I've heard it said that the gods speak through mythology and poetry. It's universal. I've also heard it said that philosophy is a frozen form of mythology. In other words, every philosophical idea is associated with a myth. Perhaps this is why an author like Daniel Quinn (Well, he had Ishmael say it to Alan) can say one cannot argue with mythology. It is universal and fluid unlike philosophy which becomes frozen and stiff.

I know that it would be bliss if there was a cafe down the road for me to sit and discuss these ideas.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wingless Angels

"Philosophy will clip an angels wings."--John Keats

What's Keats saying here? Reading too much philosophy will never get you off the ground? Was he just being a high-flying spirit boy when he said this?

It's time to cut firewood. That'll ground the brain, and work some this coffee out of my system.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stuck in Muck

I've always been interested in psychology, especially after getting to know depression and anxiety well in my late teens and early twenties. They scared the shit out of me to be quite honest. I never thought I'd climb back out of whatever hole I was in during that period. And once I did, I've never wanted to go back, atleast not to that degree. This, of course, leads me to a quote that has been popping into my head the past week or so. I made an attempt to find it yesterday and couldn't, but this morning I was successful.

"It must be remembered that sensations of the ugly and evil impress us more violently than those of what is agreeable...sickness makes the rougher mark...Illness...makes itself by it very incongruity."--Plotinus

Whatever the hell had a hold of me then left a mark.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Teach A Hundred

"What you do is teach a hundred what I've taught you, and inspire each of them to teach a hundred. That's how it's always done" - Daniel Quinn, Pg. 248, Ishmael

Friday, February 15, 2013

Another Quote on Beauty

Lately I've been thinking a lot about Beauty. I don't think we consider it enough.

"The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man."-- Fyodor Dostoyevski

Thursday, February 14, 2013

D.H Lawrence on Beauty

Question: What is Beauty?

Answer: According to D.H. Lawrence "Beauty is a mystery. You can neither eat it nor make flannel out of it."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Strategy To Save The USPS

I've got a new strategy this morning. If any of you have friends or family working within the United States Postal Service please pass this PETITION onto them and urge them to pass it on to others within the USPS. My thinking is that if approximately one-fifth of USPS's work force signs this thing we'll reach our 100,000 signature goal by the 21st of February. And why wouldn't a USPS employee take the two minutes it takes to sign this thing? Their job, and the survival of the USPS, depends on it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We Petition The Obama Administration To: Save The Post Office

Two posts today. Yesterday I had the intention to post this PETITION:

We Petition The Obama Administration To:

Save the Post Office

The Postal Service is not a federal agency. It does not cost taxpayers a dollar. It loses money only because Congress mandates that it do so.

What it is is a miracle of high technology and human touch. It delivers to more than 151 million addresses every day but Sunday. It's what binds us together as a nation.

If Congress does not take action soon, the Post Office will have only enough money to pay its bills through October. After that, it will go bankrupt.

Before it’s too late, we urge Congress to free the Post Office from its congressionally mandated obligations and allow it to raise additional revenue so that it can become self-sustaining once again.

Read DO WE REALLY WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT THE POST OFFICE? from Esquire's February issue:


It's been 24 hours since I signed. I was signature number 4176. I just now checked it and there is 4237 signatures. That's only 61 signatures in 24 hours. We need 96,000 signatures before February 21st. Please sign it and share it. My goal isn't so much to save my own job but to let the President know we value the Post Office and are paying attention. In other words, I like to know active citizenship is happening.

A Reader Responds...And I Respond Back

Recently I had a response to my blog post titled: Where is Marx When You Need Him. I'm going to attempt to respond to it using a method that I learned in Daniel Quinn's If They Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways. In that book he asks his readers to look for the unquestioned hidden assumptions in their own and other's thinking. I admit I don't do very well at this, but this will be good practice.

Responder: "There is something wrong with your argument, that high paying jobs should be saved even though they aren't warranted. And how could Karl Marx make things better?"

Me: Karl Marx can't make things better because he is dead. But I think we look at the world with the ideas that we hold in our heads. And I think it was Marx who came up with the idea that people don't have to labor for a wage that the owners of production have set up for him without a fight. In other words, a laborer doesn't have to be a wage slave that blows like a feather in the free market winds.

Responder: "Karl Marx would probably save your job and others like it but to the detriment of all. This is why the Soviet Union collapsed, because unnecessary jobs were constantly saved. Thus the whole communist economic system became unproductive and lazy, eventually atrophying and collapsing."

Me: Ah yes, you're letting me know that my job and others like it are unnecessary, and that people working jobs like mine are lazy, and we will be why the United States economic system collapses. The old I'm a burden on the taxpayer argument. But my job isn't supported with taxpayer dollars. It's payed for by pedaling stamps.

Responder: "The ending of unproductive jobs may not be the fairest thing to do. But it is one of those things that has help keep America dynamic and vital."

Me: In other words I should work for half of what I make and be a good patriot. No, I'll choose to be a prickly, pissed off citizen.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Big Hole In the Ground

Yesterday, I listened to 5 hours of citizen testimony against what will probably be the largest open-pit iron-ore mine in the world today. It was some of the best radio I've heard in a long time. The hundreds of citizens that stood up and had the courage to speak with heartfelt conviction against this travesty deserve to be honored in some way. Also, after listening, it's clear to me that the citizens of Wisconsin must do everything within their power to make sure this mine does not see the light of day. If you've made it this far take a look at the Sierra Club's write up on the potential damage this mine would do to the Lake Superior watershed to see where I'm coming from. It's enough to make a guy want to....

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Saturday's Daniel Quinn Quote

Quoting Daniel Quinn out of the New Renaissance:

"If there are still people living here in 200 years, they'll know that humanity doesn't belong to an order of being that is separate from the rest of the living community. They'll know this as surely as we know that the earth revolves around the sun. I can make this prediction with confidence, because if people go on thinking we belong to a separate order of being, then there will be no people living here in 200 years."

Friday, February 08, 2013

Good Bye Post Office

I'm still thinking about the post office. My family is patterning itself around it through Saturday. My wife is working a three day stint. So I wrote this in my journal this morning:

Perhaps I should try to look at the post office going away through the eyes of an old indian hunter. Their families patterned their lives around the game they were hunting at the time. My family patterns itself around the post office when my wife or I are asked to work. In both cases we're doing something that eventually leads to putting food on the table. Besides the obvious cultural diifferences there could possibly be a similarity: We're both watching the demise of what helps keep our families fed, sheltered, and clothed. The Sioux hunter watched the buffalo go. I'm watching the post office go. In the Sioux's case no one stopped it. In my case no one is going to stop it. We're both colonized. They had it done to them and we've done it to ourselves. Civilization will eventually eat itself.

On a different note. A few people have emailed me and I haven't gotten back to them. I promise I will, it just might take a few days.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Postmaster Should Resign

I have a theory: If we, the American people, thought of ourselves as civic-minded citizens instead of falling victim to market forces Postmaster Donahoe wouldn't be so quick to announce getting rid of Saturday delivery. Why? Because we'd be on the phone calling our congressional representive demanding he or she ask for the Postmaster's resignation. This current Postmaster has proven himself much to eager to cut services to the American people all under the pretense of The United States Post Office falling victim to the internet. When in reality the USPS has been saddled with unrealistic financial obligations (See article by Ralph Nader) that no other organization trying to turn a profit would willingly accept without a fight.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Where Is Marx When You Need Him?

I just found out from my Dad that The Postal Service will be stopping Saturday delivery. My wife and I will probably be working less as a result, so we'll be making less money. It bothers me. But what bothers on a deeper level is that the labor force will once again be losing good paying union jobs that pay a livable wage. THAT'S what saddens me. It's just another blow to the person who gets up in the morning and labors for a wage.

Where is Karl Marx when we need him?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Smash The Machine

Back on August 22, 2004 Derrick Jensen signed my copy of Welcome to the Machine with this statement: Smash the Machine! When I first layed my eyes on those words I was excited. I was finally reading a book by someone that finally had the courage to say such a thing, and on top of that write a book about it. It's been almost 10 years and I still think about it. But there are times I pull back and question why smashing the machine and taking down civilization appeals to me. Of course, there are the fantasies of doing things I shouldn't be doing under the cover of darkness. And then there are the thoughts and questions that accompany those fantasies like: If only I was normal I wouldn't be thinking about this. If only I wasn't so barbaric. I'm being too male; women don't think about this. If only my childhood was better. If only I'd went to college and became a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher. And, finally, could I actually sit down and utter these fantasies and thoughts to a psychologist?

This morning the last concern was answered.

"Suppose we entertain the idea that psychology makes people mediocre; and suppose we entertain the idea that the world is in extremis, suffering an acute, perhaps fatal, disorder at the edge of extinction. Then I would claim that what the world needs most is radical and original extremes of feeling and thinking in order for its crisis to be met with equal intensity." pg. 151, We've Had A Hundred Years Of Psychotherapy And The World's Getting Worse

I'd express them to Dr. James Hillman. Perhaps the world needs us to be as radical and intense as Derrick Jensen writes.

Monday, February 04, 2013

DQ Still At It

It's good to see Daniel Quinn is still answering questions from his readers. He just answered one on the subject of anarchism. He's been doing this for well 20 years. I remember when I first ran across his work back in the late nineties. I'd spend hours over at the Ishmael Community trying to absorb what he was saying to his readers. Always anticipating the next new batch of question and answers to be published to nourish the soul.

It's also interesting to note that Derrick Jensen is currently working on a book about why he is not an anarchist.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Empty Yourself Out: Start Bitching

Yesterday I ran across some of the best political advice I've seen in my 38 years so far. It appeared on page 104 of We've Had A Hundred Years Of Psychotherapy And The Worlds Getting Worse. But before I type the quote I want to say one reason why I like James Hillman's writing: he stays within Western civilized thought and brings ideas that are thousands of years old to the table.

"I used to get stopped cold in political arguments. I would be going on about something, and the other guy would say, 'All right, if you're so smart, what would you do about it?' And I had no positive idea what to do, no program, nothing. It wasn't just that I was impractical; I was empty. My protests were suddenly emptied out because I had nothing positive to offer. They say that the '68 revolution in Berkeley and in Europe among the students were so easily crushed or petered out because the revolutionaries had no positive programs.

"Kenosis puts the emptiness in a new light. It values the emptiness. It says "empty protest" is a via negativa, a non-postivist way of entering the political arena. You take your outrage seriously, but you don't force yourself to have answers. Trust your nose. You know what stinks. Don't try to replace the helpless frustration you feel, the powerless victimization, by working out a rational answer. The answers will come, if they come, when they come, to you, to others, but don't fill in the emptiness of the protest with positive suggestions before their time. First, protest! I don't know what should be done about most of the major political dilemnas, but my gut (my soul, my heart, my skin, my eyes) sinks, creeps, crawls, weeps, cringes, shakes. It's wrong, simply wrong, what going on here."-- James Hillman, Pg.104

So, there it is. The planet is burning up, nonhuman species are going extinct faster than they should be, the human population is doubling every 50 years or so, the tension between women and men just keeps increasing, I can't eat too much fish out of our local lakes because of mercury, the whitetail deer in my area now have Chronic Wasting disease, the elite in this country have to much money, our food has been poisoned by pesticides, the cancer rates are increasing, forests keep getting cut under the guise of improvement, we keep losing top soil, my house might get bombed by a drone, the local landfill just keeps growing, the post office is falling apart, and I could go on and on and on.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Daniel Quinn Quote Saturday

"Only our politicians still insist that the world was made for Man, and Man was made to conquer and rule it. They must, as a professional obligation, still affirm and proclaim the manifesto of our revolution. If they want to hold on to their jobs, they must assure us with absolute conviction that a glorious future lies just ahead for us -- provided that we march forward under the banner of conquest and rule. They reassure us of this, and then they wonder, year after year, why fewer and fewer voters go to the polls."-- Daniel Quinn, The Story of B

Friday, February 01, 2013

Highway 53 in '93

Pulling some books off the shelf looking for writing inspiration. I turned to Robert Bly's Iron John this morning. Why? I really like his style. I also think it's because I have a 13 year old son that is well on his way to becoming 14 living in our house.

"We are living at an important and fruitful moment now, for it is clear to men that the images of adult manhood given by the popular culture are worn out; a man can no longer depend on them. By the time a man is thirty-five he knows that the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man which he recieved in high school do not work in life. Such a man is open to new visions of what a man is or could be."--Robert Bly, Iron John

I remember the day this realization hit me. I was driving up highway 53 on a gray, cold, frigid day in February. I was 18 at the time. I was returning to my grandparent's house in northwestern Wisconsin after visiting my parents and high school friends in southern Wisconsin. I was tired, hungover, and on my own. Then the darkness set in. Of course, at the time I didn't know what the hell it was. I still don't know if I have an answer, but I think I have a better idea.