Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Dialogue Between a Couple of Guys

"How do I get out of this story* I'm in?"

"You don't understand, my friend. There is no way out. There is no program. You're a wanderer now."

"A wanderer?"

"Don't you remember the lines you read to me by Machado a few years back?"

"No, refresh me."

"Here they are: 'Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road-- Only wakes upon the sea.'"--Antonio Machado

"You're not going to go on and talk about the unconscious, dreams, the sea, Moby Dick and all that bullshit again are you?"

"No, I've got a building to build..."

*A story is a scenario interrelating man, the world, and the gods."--Pg. 41, Ishmael

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Democracy Doesn't Last Long

"Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide."--John Adams, 2nd President of The United States.

We're in for a long ride...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why I'm Here

Two decades ago I moved up to northwestern Wisconsin. Right before I left a friend of mine said, "What the hell you moving up there for? There is nothing up there." There are moments when I wonder why I'm still here. As James Hillman has said, we never really know why. But I'm going to speculate as to why anyway. The answer might be found in this quote by Lewis Mumford: "Every generation revolts against its fathers and makes friends with its grandfathers." Both of my grandfathers grew up on farms in northern Wisconsin. I was nourished by stories from northern Wisconsin since I can remember.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mind Over Body

Two women talking at work yesterday. One of them mentions to the other that her knee has been hurting her lately. The other relates with her own knee pain story then concludes jokingly saying, "It's all about mind over body." I smiled and thought of this poem by Rumi that I heard the other day:

On Resurrection Day

On Resurrection Day your body testifies against you.
Your hand says, I stole money.
Your lips, I said meanness.
Your feet, I went where I shouldn't.
Your genitals, me too.

They will make your praying sound hypocritical.
Let the body's doings speak openly now,
without your saying a word

as a student's walking behind a teacher
says, This one knows more clearly
than I the way. --Rumi

Thursday, October 24, 2013

To Women As Far As I'm Concerned

Another poem that James Hillman read in the Men and The Life of Desire. This one by D.H Lawrence. It resonates on some level. That's why I'm posting it.

The feelings I don't have I don't have.
The feeling I don't have, I won't say I have.
The feelings you say you have, you don't have.
The feelings you would like us both to have, we neither of us have.
The feelings people ought to have, they never have.
If people say they've got feelings, you may be pretty sure they haven't got them.
So if you want either of us to feel anything at all
You'd better abandon all ideas of feelings altogether.--D.H Lawrence

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Feeling Fucked Up For The First Time

The other day I received Men and The Life of Desire, by James Hillman, Robert Bly and Michael Meade. It's a recording of a men's conference that took place in 1990. I think the men's work is more relevant today than it was back in '90. About halfway through 1st CD I was moved by James Hillman reading this poem by Ehteridge Knight.

Feeling Fucked Up

Lord she’s gone done left me done packed / up and split
and I with no way to make her
come back and everywhere the world is bare
bright bone white crystal sand glistens
dope death dead dying and jiving drove
her away made her take her laughter and her smiles
and her softness and her midnight sighs—

Fuck Coltrane and music and clouds drifting in the sky
fuck the sea and trees and the sky and birds
and alligators and all the animals that roam the earth
fuck marx and mao fuck fidel and nkrumah and
democracy and communism fuck smack and pot
and red ripe tomatoes fuck joseph fuck mary fuck
god jesus and all the disciples fuck fanon nixon
and malcolm fuck the revolution fuck freedom fuck
the whole muthafucking thing
all i want now is my woman back
so my soul can sing

Monday, October 21, 2013

First Bukowski Poem

I ran across my first Charles Bukowski poem in "Born to Run" yesterday. I first heard of him in a New Dimensions interview with Coleman Barks, the poet and translator that brought us Rumi. I will definitely be looking into Bukowski.

If you're going to try, go all the way
There is no other feeling like that
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with fire....
you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, it's
the only good fight there is.- Charles Bukowski

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Q & A With Thomas Linzey

I learned a few interesting things in this Q & A yesterday. Did you know that once you cross through the door to work for a private employer you no longer have constitutional rights. So watch what you say at work.

Another thing that stuck out was the statement that progressives and liberals will not be the constituency to carry the community rights work forward; they'll be the ones to stop it. That doesn't surprise me. I've always found it peculiar that Derrick Jensen has received well over 900 negative emails from folks on the left and less than handful from folks on the right.

"They [Move To Amend] think the progressive/liberal community is actually the constituency that's going to do this work, and we've been convinced otherwise. They're actually the folks that are going to stop the work for happening, but they're not necessarily the folks that are going to move it forward. And that always sounds harsh too, but we have a limited number of hours in our day from waking to quitting work at night and I'm not spending one more iota of time with liberal/progressive groups trying to convince them that their work that they're doing is not achieving results. And so you're looking at generating new people. There is not an existing natural constituency for this work."--Thomas Linzey at 12:40 in the Q & A

Saturday, October 19, 2013


"Problems sustain us--maybe that's why they don't go away. What would a life be without them? Completely tranquilized and loveless, too. There is a secret love hiding in each problem...."--James Hillman

Friday, October 18, 2013

It's The Story

“There's nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will ACT like lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.” - Daniel Quinn

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Through The World

The way through the world
Is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.-- Wallace Stevens

Monday, October 14, 2013

Twain On Fooling

"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."~ Mark Twain

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hope and Hopelessness

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Building Things That Fall Apart

It never fails, ever since we've started building with cordwood and other materials on our place this philosophy and image comes to mind. It also has kept me from strangling my kids.

"In the village, people used to build their houses out of traditional materials, using no iron or lumber or nails, but the houses were magnificent. Many were sewn together out of bark and fiber. Like the house of the body, the house that a person sleeps in must be very beautiful and sturdy, but not so sturdy that it won’t fall apart after a while. If your house doesn’t fall apart, then there will be no reason to renew it. And it is this renewability that makes something valuable. The maintenance gives it meaning.

"The secret of village togetherness and happiness has always been the generosity of the people, but the key to that generosity is inefficiency and decay. Because our village huts were not built to last very long, they had to be regularly renewed. To do this, villagers came together, at least once a year, to work on somebody’s hut. When your house was falling down, you invited all the folks over. The little kids ran around messing up what everybody was doing. The young women brought the water. The young men carried the stones. The older men told everybody what to do, and the older women told the older men that they weren’t doing it right. Once the house was back together again, everyone ate together, praised the house, laughed, and cried. In a few days, they moved on to the next house. In this way, each family’s place in the village was reestablished and remembered. This is how it always was.

"Then the missionaries and the businessmen and the politicians brought in tin and lumber and sturdy houses. Now the houses last, but the relationships don’t."--Martin Prechtel in The Sun Magazine

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wolverines and Badgers

Just when I get to feeling slightly hopeful about things in steps a friend of mine to set me straight. This time it was about the Michigan Wolverines playing the Minnesota Gophers in a recent Midwest college football showdown.

Friend: Do you realize that 100,000 people attended that football game; and there have been at least 100,000 fans that've attended each Wolverine home football game since 1975.

Me: No, I wasn't aware of that. I'm a Badger fan.

Friend: How many badgers are left in United Wisconsin?

Me: Again, I don't have a clue. Over the years I've seen a few around our place, so I know they're around.

Friend: When it comes to real wolverines in Michigan that's not the case. Did you know there was a wolverine spotted in 2004.

Me: No, I didn't.

Friend: It was the first one spotted since 1804.

Me: That's 200 years ago!

Friend: Yeah, and that one died in 2010.

Me: So, what's your point?

Friend: Do you think more people in the Wolverine State care about real wolverines or the wolverine football team?

Me: Point taken.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

One Big Yawn

"Every action flick depicts the destruction of civilization as some kind of crash-boom-bang, a nuclear war or hurtling comet or a self-aware-cyborg uprising, but the true cataclysm may already be creeping up right under our eyes: because of rampant obesity, one in three children born in the United States is at risk of diabetes--meaning, we could be the first generation of Americans to outlive our children. Maybe the ancient Hindus were better crystal-ball-gazers than Hollywood when they predicted the world would end not with a bang but with a old yawn. Shiva the Destroyer would snuff us out by doing...nothing. Lazing out. Withdrawing his hot-blooded force from our bodies. Letting us become slugs."--Christopher McDougall, pg.99, Born to Run

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Dad Shaved

Sophia (1 yr. old) is keeping a safe distance from me this morning. Periodically she stops, stares with widened eyes, and searches for the dad she once knew in my face. She doesn't wander too far from the safety of mom's arms, keeping them close by. Sometimes taking it as far as raising her arms to give mom the pick-me-up sign; perhaps to get a safer and slightly different angled look from mom's arms. The world has changed for her; daddy shaved.

Monday, October 07, 2013

George Washington God King

I was following my nose this morning and doing some reading on Wikipedia about William Blake and Orc energy. I found this excerpt interesting:

"Blake had many expectations for the American revolution, which is described in a prophetic way within the poem. However, he was disappointed when the fallen state of existence returned and that slavery was not immediately ended. He was also disappointed when there was not a sensual liberation. After Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804, Blake believed that the Americans would start treating George Washington as their god king in the manner that the French treated Bonaparte and the English George the III. He continued to believe in an apocalyptic state that would soon appear, but he no longer believed that Orc man, the leader of a revolution, would be the agent of the apocalypse. Instead, he believed that God could only exist in men, and he distrusted all hero worship."

I've heard more than a couple people refer to George Washington as a god king.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

I Eat Ants

The first thing my 3 year old son says to me this morning is, "I eat ants." Ten minutes later I run across this quote over at NaturalAwareness.

"It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?"--Henry David Thoreau

Sendivogus on The Soul

Maior autem animae pars extra corpus est (The greater part of the soul is outside the body).--Sendivogius

I think about this quote often, especially on Sunday mornings.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Robert Sund's Mother

What Robert Sund's mother told him:
"Without love of earth
There is no love of Heaven."

(Thank you to George Draffan over at NaturalAwareness for sharing this.)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Boys and Baseball

Last night we drove into town for dinner and an interview that I was asked to do. A former Little League player of mine had to interview some coaches for a school project. During the interview he asked what one of my fondest memories was of coaching. I couldn't think of anything. Well, that's sort of true. I did but didn't think it proper to say it. The first memory that came to mind was from the 2011 season. I was standing on the mound throwing batting practice to the team and out of all the chaotic noise and laughter I hear a 11 year old voice from centerfield razzing my second baseman of equal age, "Billy's got a boner. Billy's got a boner. Billy's got a boner." I tuned into listen. The two of them proceeded to razz each other for a bit then let it rest. During the exchange I fought back the impulse a few times to tell them that they'd better put a lid on it. After all, there were parents around, and what kind of coach would let this go on at his practice? I persevered, though. I silenced the voices, buried the impulse, and smiled.

I don't know why it's one of my fondest memories but it is. Atleast it was the first one out of many that came to mind last night. I remember returning home after practice on that chilly spring evening and looking up this quote by Dostoyevsky:

"There are 'certain' words and conversations unhappily to eradicate in schools....Boys, pure in mind and heart, are fond of talking....of images of which even soldiers would sometimes hesitate to speak....There is no moral depravity...but there is the appearance of it, and it is often looked upon among them as something refined, subtle, daring and worthy of imitation."

My centerfielder's razzing chant and the exchange that followed was nothing close to what " even soldiers would sometimes hesitate to speak," but I knew it was a start. I'm glad I silenced the internal voices that evening. They were on their way to becoming young men.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Another Day of Digging Post Holes

It's 7:40 AM. My back's stiff. My hands, fingers, and wrists don't want to move from a day digging holes and planting posts to hold up our pole shed yesterday. My body is asking, almost to the point of crying, for a day off from digging. But I must soldier on before the predicted 3-day rainstorm hits. The plan is to finish my cup of coffee, force a bowl of oatmeal down my throat, and be out there digging within a half-n-hour. Before doing any of that I have a request to fill. Hayden (My 3 yr. old son) has just asked me to read him Work, Work, Work, by Daniel Quinn. I smile and say, "I'd be glad to son." We sit down on the couch and I read it to him. I look up, smile, chuckle, and shake my head. Why? The character in the book is a gopher. And before his day's work of digging and burrowing, he says, "Another day. Ho hum. I suppose I may as well get at it." A few minutes later the book ends with the gopher saying, after he goes through a full day of digging and burrowing and missing all the going-ons around him, "Sometimes I think about taking a day off. But what would I do?"

He hit the nail right on the head with that one.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Half-gods and Devils

Sitting with a couple of books before I head out to plant some more posts in the ground for our pole shed. I've called it a barn in the past but it's actually only half the size of your average barn. We're hoping to have the framework up and the roofs on before the snow flies.

One of the books I'm sitting with this morning is The Conduct of Life, by Lewis Mumford. I like this quote out of it: "When the god in him is repressed, the half-gods and devils take possession of man." Another one of the books that I'm sitting with is, of course, Lament of the Dead. And in it the authors explain how the half-gods and devils appeared to Carl Jung in the form of figures in his active imagination. He named, had conversations with, and sketched them. From what I understand so far this is essentially what Jung's Red Book is about.