Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Insulted By 115

The other day I was insulted while doing the mail route. The sting of it still being felt like salt being rubbed in a wound. It arises every other hour or so. I return to it like a horse returning to a salt lick. The insult a number that won't go away. The guy spreading the insult is probably a pretty decent guy; he's got a job to do like the rest of us. But an insult is still an insult no matter the character of the insulter. 115 is the number. That's how many operational frac sand mines and processing plants are in Wisconsin. That's the insult that filtered through the car speakers that day.

Monday, December 30, 2013

It's 25 Below Zero

Rolled out of bed this morning at 5:30 AM to get the fire started in the house. The thermometer reads 25 below zero. We've been burning wood for well over 3 months now and will be for at least another 4. It's our only source of heat. The other day I read a quote by Sinclair Lewis about winter that a facebook friend shared, it went something like, "Winter is not a season but an occupation." Makes about as much sense as the oft repeated quote by Lewis, "It's hard to make a man understand something if his paycheck depends on it."

I hope I didn't butcher those quotes too badly.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Flaubert on Order

I wrote down this quote by Flaubert this morning. It was buried in this week's Sports Illustrated article about Detroit Lion's wide receiver Calvin Johnson's drive to become the best wide receiver the NFL has ever seen.

"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Derrick Jensen Interviews Chris Hedges

This interview with Chris Hedges was very sobering to listen to the other day on the mail route. Given his many years of experience being a war correspondent, and witnessing how countries domestic politics play out during periods of violent and bloody revolution, it seems that we're well on our way to a similar revolution. Of course, no one can predict it, but all of the signs and symptoms are there according the Hedges. I like the idea of how the state will determine how we resist (violently or nonviolently).

If you want your current way of looking at our political situation in this country to be shaken or rattled this interview is definitely worth the listen. If not, don't waste your time

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Subtle Truth

If you want money more than anything,
you will be bought and sold.

If you have a greed for food,
you will become a loaf of bread.

This is a subtle truth.
Whatever you love, you are. --Rumi

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moyers on the End of Democracy

This 3 minute video with Bill Moyers lays out nicely how our political system is totally corrupt. The other day, while listening to Wisconsin Public Radio on the mail route, I heard an author talking about how in this day in age if you're a white male (That statement made me pay attention for obvious reasons) you're either going to become a right wing-tea party type that is pissed off because you've lost your God given sense of entitlement or you will move to the left and follow in the footsteps of the early 20th century populists that challenged the wealthy of there day that had totally corrupted their political system. I identify with the latter. Day by day I move farther to the left and entertain radical thoughts. Mediocre-middle-of-the-rode political thoughts bore the hell out of me.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Reading "Lined Paper" This Morning

A few quotes that caught my attention while doing some reading about human rights out of Daniel Quinn's If The Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways.

"If there are still people here in two hundred years, they won't be thinking the way we think, because if people go on thinking the way the way we think, then they'll go on living the way we live--and if people go on living the way we live, there won't be any people here in two hundred years."-- pg. 128

"To us, having to assert a right in to order to have the things we want or want to do is taken to be a sort of human norm." Pg.92

"I've searched many dictionaries of aboriginal languages, and very few of them seem to have a word for right in this sense. In all the reading I've done about aboriginal peoples, I've never come across any instance of them arguing about rights or asserting a right to do the things they do." Pg. 91

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Soren on Sunday

"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Friday, December 06, 2013

Government Does Not Need To Show A Profit

I have been searching for the excerpt below for a couple of months now. Low and behold it appeared this morning while I was looking for another quote. It's important to me for a couple of reasons. One, is that I have been carrying mail for the USPS for close to five years now. And since then jobs have been eliminated and wages cut so that it can be run more efficiently. It must show a profit, they say. Secondly, my grandfather serves at the town and county levels of government, and he is one of the biggest opponents of the "lean government" trend. For example, in the county that I live in, certain public servants under the spell of Tea Party ideals want to cut the number of county board members from 21 to 15 to run the government more efficiently. This time to save the taxpayers money.

I like the idea of judging government institutions on the quality of the service they provide rather than the profit they show. In other words, the post office and other government institutions don't necessarily have to show a profit. I think James Hillman has done a good job of expressing below.

"It is well to keep in mind the image Treblinka when we ask government to be more "efficient." To expect the post office, the passenger railroads, the interstate highways, the prison system or the national parks to show a profit forgets that government is fundamentally a service industry as stated in the Constitution. It's efficiency can be judged only in terms of the services it provides--that they meet the needs of the people who grant its power. For a candidate for political office to campaign on a platform of efficiency in government suggests an infiltration of fascist ideals. Mussolini made the trains run on time--but at what cost?

"The extermination camps belong continually in our Western consciousness, not only to remind us of the human capacity for atrocity, the pathological potential in systematic technology, the virulence of racism, the existence of evil or the death of both the Jewish and Christian God. The camps belong continually in the consciousness because the devotion to efficiency continues unconsciously in the Western psyche, bearing witness to the shadow side of the current living god, the Economy, the god continues to urge Western civilization onward by means of ever more efficiency." [James Hillman, Pg. 44, Kinds of Power]

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Heraclitus on a Sunday Morning

Some Heraclitus upon my return from the deer stand on this Sunday morning:

What is not yet known
those blinded by bad faith
can never learn-- Heraclitus, pg. 81, Fragments