Monday, September 30, 2013

Two Quotes Today

Two quotes today. The first one I came across yesterday while browsing The Natural Awareness Facebook page."Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is the greatest. Of all the meditations, contemplation of death is the greatest." (Shakyamuni Buddha)The second I wrote down a couple of weeks ago. Michael Meade mentioned it in one of his talks that I downloaded and listened to on the mail route. “Take your well-disciplined strengths and stretch them between two opposing poles. Because inside human beings is where God learns.” --Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Martyrs and Victims

No post yesterday. I got called into carry mail at the last minute.

It's Sunday morning. I've found myself going through a few of the conversations in Lament of the Dead. I was hoping I would run across their conversation about Jesus banishing the demons to hell. I'm not familiar with the Bible at all. Someday I would like to find out where it's talked about in the Good Book. Anyway, I ran across a different quote that has stuck with me since I finished LoD last week.

"We're all Christians. We're all suffering the two-thousand-year curse that has been laid on us by what you all like so much, the early Church. As Jung explains to the 'Red One,' his devil, in the Red Book, 'Do you believe that Christianity left no mark on the souls of men?' Don't forget what the early Church did, a lot of murder, a lot of victimization too. But you don't have murderers unless you have martyrs. So the enjoyment of martyrdom is all part of the same sadism."--James Hillman, pg. 218, Lament of the Dead

I think this is why Derrick Jensen refers to Christianity as a victim religion in Endgame. To some degree most of us are martyrs in this death seeking culture of ours. Why else would we allow 200 nonhuman species to go extinct everyday. You'd think we'd take a stand. We're talking about the murder of life on the planet here. It's sadistic. And I think there is a level of enjoyment in it. I also think Ishmael and most of his other work is Daniel Quinn's way of working through the wounding of Christianity.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Winter Is Just Around the Corner

Yesterday I wrote about my 3yr. old son's ability to repeatedly cover himself in the clay-like substance of our gravel pile as being the primary motivating factor for us to get it moved and spread in our pole buildings. Well, that's sort of true. The northern Wisconsin winter is on it's way, and the priorities shift from outdoor projects to just keeping warm. In other words it's a different kind of struggle. My uncle used to have his own way of expressing this as he was getting a fire started in the woodstove to warm the house, "It's time to fight fires."

We ended up moving and spreading 80 wheelbarrow loads yesterday. That's probably about half of it. The dump truck driver brought in another 10 yard load yesterday to fill out the other load and to give us enough to fill a few potholes in our driveway. It looks like we're going to be busy shoveling gravel for another day or two.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Family Fun Activity

The family fun activity for today is: moving 10 yards of freshly dumped gravel from pile to floor of pole building. All that it's going to require is strong backs, two wheelbarrows and a garden shovel for each adult and adolescent. The primary motivation for this is will be my 3 year old son's ability to cover himself in the clay like residue from the pile at multiple times throughout the day. We figure it would be more work to: police him to keep him off of the pile, give him multiple daily baths, and wash all of his play clothes on a daily basis until our guy shows up with his machine to spread it. I do not know where shoveling and wheeling gravel fits into the unschooling scheme of things yet but I'm sure it will show us by the end of the day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Born To Run?

I have been running close to a mile six days a week for well over a month now. I really like doing it, which is surprising. I'm a baseball player at heart. And baseball players usually don't spend a lot of time running long distances on a daily basis. Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle come to mind. Ruth spent a lot of time drinking, smoking, chasing tail and not getting to bed on time, and he's still one of the greatest hitters of all time. Mantle, after a long night of drinking, said the next day the key was just to swing for the middle ball as it's crossed the plate. The first Milwaukee Brewer game that I ever went to as a kid I peaked around the wall of the dugout to see then all star catcher Ted Simmons smoking a cigarette.

Granted I haven't played organized baseball for close to twenty years now but I still love it. Some of my fondest memories have come from my time spent on and around a baseball diamond. This is partly the reason why I think I've kept myself in pretty good shape since I graduated high school. If need be I still could play. So over the past 20 years or so I've made sure to stretch in the form of some loose yoga poses and do sets of push-ups and sit-ups atleast 5 days a week. Currently I'm doing a variation of them everyday. But I always made sure not to run long distances because I didn't want to suffer any of the injuries that I've heard runners suffer, especially knee injuries. My mom has had a couple of knee replacements starting in her mid-forties. She weighs just over 110 pounds, so it's not because she's overweight. She's never been a runner. She has worked in retail since she's graduated high school, though. That means a lot of time spent standing on cement floors. Come to think of it, both my parents have been making their living standing on cement floors for close to 40 years now. My dad spent 30 years in a metal fabricating factory near where I was born and raised, then retired so he could move up to northwest Wisconsin by his kids to spend more time standing on cement floors in the sporting goods department at Wal-Mart. He's had his share of foot problems. So I've tried to stay away from cement floors and long distance running.

To top it all off I started reading Christopher McDougall's "Born To Run." I'm 15 pages into it and he's already layed out the common injuries that runners suffer and how often. The number that has stuck with me is 8 out of 10 runners will suffer some type of injury during their time at it. Now I'm really ready stop running, but before doing so I had take off my shoes and try running a mile barefooted. I know of a friend that started running barefooted after he read it. If I remember right he said that his doctor told him he'd never be able to run again. The last I checked in with him, he was running close to three miles every other day and getting stronger. So maybe I will continue on with the book and try some barefooted running before the snow flies here in northwestern Wisconsin.

On a different note. I stopped by a neighbors yesterday to pick up her garbage. She's done some activist work in the past and follows Wisconsin politics much closer than I do. She made sure to let me know that they (I forgot the name of the company) are now pumping water out of the ground near the Penokee Hills and shipping it over to China. She also made sure to let me know that the Walker administration was fascist. She even wanted to take the time to show me a list of reasons that was put together by a fellow citizen as to why this is so. I told her not to worry about it. I said to her, "I pretty much figure any government body that values products over people's needs is well on its way to fascism. And this is why I don't think Derrick Jensen is too radical of a writer."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More Than a Truck

The most important thing I got from my neighbor yesterday was not my 1995 Chevy pic-up but were a couple of stories from his wife. She told us (Annie drove me there) that her son would have been 45 years on that day. He's buried in the cemetary across the road from their house. I heard he died close to 25 years ago playing chicken on a motorcycle with my grandpa's cousin. Neither of them refused to stray from their direct path with each other and neither of them made it. I've heard it said they were going well over 80 miles an hour when they made contact. She also told me that she's been taking in foster kids for close to 40 years now but she's had enough. "One of the latest", she said, "was an emergency case. The kid showed up with nothing but the clothes on his back, and they were all full of holes." She then went onto say, "He got in the car and moments later he was eating food scraps off from the floorboards of the car." And at the end of the conversation she even threw in some politics. She didn't think it was right that Governor Walker thinks he can just take away BadgerCare (Wisconsin's state run healthcare system for poor people.) and food stamps. "There are people out there that need that," she said. "Yes, I realize it's not just up to the govenor, but it seems like he is sure playing a big part."

And that's my brief reflection on some of yesterday's activities before I head outside to do some work on our pole barn.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Brief Reflection on The Insolent Chariot

How do I define pain? Having to go to the bank to pull out cash to buy a vehicle. Lewis Mumford wrote this back in 1966: "Only war can claim so many premature deaths; for the death rate from motor cars is greater than the combined death rate from falls, burnings, drownings, railroads, firearms, and poisonous gases, plus some two thousand other deaths from undefinable causes. And though only roughly half as many Americans were killed outright by autos in the last four-year period as were killed in our armed forces during a similar term in the Second World War, nearly three times as many were injured."

I imagine it's only gotten worse.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our New Addition

We have a new addition to the family. Ernie, the owner of the junkyard a few miles to the west of me, had it sitting out by the road with the for sale sign. Annie spotted it on the way from work. She thought Ernie just put it out there and it was going to go fast. So as soon as she got home we loaded up the kids and headed a mile to the east to pay the neighbor for the 4 dozen eggs he'd given me earlier in the day, then we headed back 3 miles to the west to look at it. There it sat with not much rust. The number one selling point for me at this time. Especially on a chevy pic-up that'll be 19 years old next year. My Chevy pic-up that my dad bought after I rolled his Bronco II when I was a junior in high school is just about ready for the place our new addition is coming from.

The next thing I was looking for was if it had 4 wheel drive. It did. It didn't work, though. By the time I noticed that, Ernie had made his way through his front yard to the truck. He said someone had swiped the front drive shaft off from it while it was sitting in the yard amongst the hundreds of other vehicles.

"It happens all the time," he said.

"That's fine," I said. "Are you pretty firm on the price?" I asked.

"I'm negotiable," he said.

"Alright, I'll go home and think about it. I'll give you a call tomorrow."

"That sounds good. But before you leave I'm going to pull it out of the way so no one misses the corner and smashes into it. That tends to happen quite a bit right here." He said.

I got home and gave it a half hour's thought. I called him up and offered him two-thirds of what he was asking. He came back with his price. I told him I'd take it.

"Do you want cash or check?" I asked.

"Cash," he answered. "You gonna pick it up tomorrow?"

"No, I've got to wait for the bank to open on Monday," I replied. I just don't keep that kind of cash on me.

"Alright, I'll look around here for the title." He remarked.

We exchanged good-byes and hung up.

Not bad. I got 4 dozen eggs and a different pick-up without leaving County Rd. E. And I'm still in line with what I mentioned to a friend this summer; we both agreed that we haven't paid as much for a vehicle as most people pay for a new riding lawnmower.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Getting Out The Door

It's 6:30 AM. It's been one of those mornings. Annie wasn't able to get out the door before Hayden (3 yr. old) and Sophia (1 yr. old) got out of bed. That means nursing Sophia (I'm not equipped!) and a diaper change (I'm capable but not so much willing). They're sad that mom has to go to work in 10 minutes. Hayden has started his usual mourning process. Tears and the occasional scream. You'd think somebody had died. I'm questioning this whole attachment parenting idea as I'm holding Sophia. I don't think she knows whether to cry or jump back into mom's arms. Annie should be just about to the Post Office by now, but she's still trying to get out the door. She tries to make the final break by saying the usual, "Okay, now I really have to go." We all go through our final good byes with hugs and kisses again. She's grabs the door handle is able to get the front door open without too much trouble. She steps out onto the porch and is just about able to get the door shut when Hayden grabs the handle and opens it. He says with a concerned tone in his voice, "Mom! Watch out for mice, rabbits, and deer. Because they jump out on the road!"

Friday, September 20, 2013

Limits on Ammo

The other day my two sons (14 and 3 yrs. old) and I were at the store looking at shotgun shells. We were trying to determine what size of shell to use for shooting ruffed grouse. We weren't standing there but only a few minutes and a casually dressed man who looked to be in his seventies smiled at my 3 year old son and said, "Someday you'll be shooting those." My son turned his head and buried into my leg so he could get a view of the man out of the corner of his eye. I smiled at the man acknowledging his presense. Silence followed. We all went back to looking at the shelves full of shells and bullets. A minute or two passed by and out of the silence the old guy motioned toward a sign that was on display in front of us and grumbled, " This current President and his administration are why we have limits on buying ammunition." Tension followed. I said something intelligent like, "yeah." Less then a minute later he turned to walk away. And as he did he made sure to proudly smile at us as he walked by.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Brief New Technology Reflection

The other day, while my family was gathered at my parent's to celebrate my mom's 57th birthday, my 8 yr. old nephew excitedly said, "Hey guess what, Uncle Curt, I got my IPad at school today. We've just started learning about them." About two months prior to this I was over visiting my grandparents on a Sunday afternoon. Just before leaving to go home my grandpa says to me, "Here I've got to show you something." He unzips a black case and pulls out an IPad that he is currently required to use in his capacity as a publicly elected county board member. "This thing," he says, "will be my undoing. It marks the end of my service as a county board member. I'm not running again."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Death and The Other World

"I think it's more a matter of realizing that there is a porous permeability between the living and the dead. Between life and death. And the way we have set it up is that death and life are opposed and you must hold off death and it's the ultimate other, and you die alone, this sort of existential whatever. And it seems to me that this offers a completely different way of realizing that the day world is permeated with the other world--in all kinds of small ways, that they're always inner voices, that the dead are cautionary figures. That you are living with the dead. And what you think of as the way of life may be the way of more death. And the way of death may be the way of more livingness. That these are not necessarily alternatives or that first you do one and then you do the other."--James Hillman, pg.25, Lament of the Dead

Derrick Jensen made it clear to me with his work that our "way of life may be the way of more death."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

All Learning is Remembering

I learned yesterday in a talk by Michael Meade that "all learning is remembering." What I'm hearing him say is that if you want to learn there has to be some remembering involved. In other words, the knowledge is already there it is just needs to be awakened. It's also interesting to note that in The Story of B Daniel Quinn titled one section The Great Forgetting and followed up later with a section titled The Great Remembering. I'm starting to come to the conclusion that if any schooling program isn't aimed at remembering then all it is doing is putting kids and adults to sleep and it isn't worth the taxpayers money. The Quote below out of The Story of B better illustrates some aspects of this remembering.

"B means to gather the voices of humans all over planet into one voice singing, 'The world must live, the world must live! We are only one species among billions. The gods don't love us more than they love spiders or bears or whales or water lilies. The age of The Great Forgetting has ended, and all its lies and delusions have been dispelled. Now we remember who we are. Our kin are not cherubim, seraphim, thrones, principalities, and powers. Our kin are mayflies, lemurs, snakes, eagles, and badgers. The blinding we suffered in the Great Forgetting has abated, so we no longer imagine that Man was ill-made. We no longer imagine that the gods botched their work when it came to us. We no longer think they know how to make every single thing in the whole vast universe except a human being. The blinding we suffered in the Great Forgetting has passed, so we can no longer live as though nothing matters but us. We can no longer believe that suffering is the lot the gods hand in mind for us. We can no longer believe that death is sweet release to our true destiny. We no longer yearn for the nothingness of nirvana. We no longer dream of wearing crowns of gold in the royal court of heaven.'"--Pg. 324, The Story of B

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Not to be Forgotten

"I often wondered what would happen to the Gods of Christianity if no one believed in them. They require belief. If the God says you have to believe in me, then belief is what supports the God. The Greeks did not ask people to believe in their Gods. The Gods asked for certain rituals, or not to be forgotten, the was the most important thing. Not to be forgotten."--James Hillman, Pg.128, Lament of the Dead

I learned something interesting today while reading "Lament of the Dead." Back in the 1950's John Freeman asked Carl Jung in an interview if he believed in God. Jung hesitated for a bit then replied by saying something to the effect of: I don't believe, I know. This would mean absolutely nothing to me if I never would've read "The Holy" and the rest of Daniel Quinn's work, but especially "The Holy." The beings that drove David Kennesey over the edge and eventually to his death, I think, are good examples of beings that don't necessarily expect belief of any kind, but only ask not to be forgotten. Because, like Jung has said, called upon or not they will be present. I would guess it's better just to be aware of them instead of being asleep at the wheel. Too bad it's taken me close to a decade to come to this understanding.

Friday, September 13, 2013

An Ancestral Question Answered?

I haven't had much time in front of the computer lately. Still busy trying to get two pole buildings built before November 1st, and generally getting ready for winter. Posting will be light for awhile.

James Hillman writes in Lament of the Dead:

"...the way I understand archetypal psychology, that you must always understand who is asking the question. The task is not to get the answer, the answer is who is dominating my mind, so that that's my basic question, who is determining my point of view. It's like a deconstructive 'I'.' You don't just want to get an answer. The real answer is 'Why is that my question?'"--James Hillman, Pg. 56, The Lament of the Dead

Another reason why I think I cried with a sense of relief after reading Ishmael back in the late nineties was that an ancestral question was answered for me. A question that my grandfathers were asking generations before me. Plus, I had just come off from living and working with my grandfather for close to seven years. To a certain degree I had an understanding of his point of view and inner struggles. And if you follow Jungian psychology those inner struggles are also mine to some degree. This is probably why I tried my damdest to get him to take a look at some of Quinn's ideas.

Monday, September 09, 2013

A Short Letter To The Editor

This morning, amongst 50,000 other things, I typed up a short letter to our local newspaper's editor.

Corporations and Corruption

At the end of [editor's name] article he commented that although Abraham Lincoln was not considered one of the "Founding Fathers" of this great nation of ours he did have the ability to see into its future. I couldn't agree more, especially after reading this quote by our 16th President:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."- Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln was right, of course. The money power in the form of the mega-corporation has rigged our democratic system and the laws it creates so much in their favor that the majority of citizens are uncertain about the future and have little or no faith in their government, as [editor's name] alluded to in his letter last week. But I wonder why instead of singling out the power of the federal government he didn't go after the power of the mega-corporation. If Lincoln could see this starting to happen back in the 1860's why can't [editor's name] see it 150 years later?

Friday, September 06, 2013

We've Colonized Ourselves

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (Probably my favorite environmental organization.)posted this on Facebook yesterday:

End "capital-ism" for corporations--- you can help shut down the widespread acceptance of "corporate personhood" even before we amend the U.S. constitution.

It's a tell tale sign of the biases institutionalized in our society that each time I try to send an e-mail or write in a "word" document using the name of a corporation, my spell-checker tries to correct me for not having capitalized the name of the corporation. If we assert that corporations are things and not persons, then honoring the names of corporations with capitalization and accepting their names as personal pronouns seems to me to be a contradiction of the idea that they are things, not persons.

I think that if "microsoft" deserves to be capitalized, then why not Dog, or Dolphin, or Box Turtle...all of which I hold in higher regard than the corporation? In fact, I want never again to capitalize the label ("name") of a corporation.

We at the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund often capitalize local "Ordinances," because they are laws of communities. So too County, and Township and Borough -- respecting community self-governance. I generally capitalize People and Nature.

So, we can make a statement not only with what we say, but how we type it. And if we do not, we still make a statement...and it is that we continue to be colonized by the dominant culture, which elevates corporations (property) above People and Nature.

Who will join us in de-capitalizing corporations?

I like the idea of ending "capital-ism" for corporations. I also think they make a good point in saying that Dog, Dolphin, or Box Turtle should capitalized well before Microsoft (This computer does not allow me to not capitalize Microsoft.) Robert Bly was right when he pointed out in "The Sibling Society" that we are the first culture to have colonized ourselves.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Back After a Few Days

It's been close to four days since I've posted anything on here. Been busy with building a pole barn, canning garden produce, and just being dad. I've noticed my day goes better when I put something on here. A few thoughts and a quote below.

I think I've figured out the 50 Shades of Gray phenomenon: people are craving ritualistic sex.

It's the third day of school in these parts. It has caused me to reflect a bit on my school days some 30 years ago. Reflection: School would have been a whole hell of a lot more interesting if we would have been introduced to myth, the gods, and the other world. In other words, spent a lot more time on mythology than we did. Michael Meade has said no learning takes place unless psychology is involved.

"One always thinks you get your ideas from the masters, the mentors, the teachers. I found that ideas are connected with eros, and that where the eros is alive, the two work together. That's a crucial part of all the work. We always had parties surrounding it all. Eros is the whole key."--James Hillman, pg. 580, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Jesus on My Mind

Here is an interesting psychological insight by James Hillman on Jesus Christ:

"Of all Jesus' strengths, above all his weakness stands out, his sympathy and understanding for weakness, 'Jesus wept.'"--Pg.521, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman

This quote out of the bible was posted by a Facebook friend a few weeks back. I like the language. I also like how it challenges the sanitized-peace-loving version of Jesus that I was fed throughout my childhood. Mind you I never sat through a day of bible study or went to church on a regular basis but the ideas and images are still there.

“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”--Luke 12: 49-53