Thursday, January 30, 2014

End Modern Capitalism With Good Books

Finishing up Thomas Moore's Original Self this morning. This quote has got me thinking:

"The way out of the dehumanizing effects of modern capitalism and industrialism is not to change the system but to read good books."(Page 143)

Some brief reflections: I didn't start reading good books on a regular basis until my mid-twenties. It all started about 15 years ago after I read "Ishmael." Given my lifestyle--unschooling 3 kids, taking care of a horse, a dog and a cat, plus 4 vehicles sitting in the driveway and a cordwood house to maintain--I barely have enough time to finish a good book these days. And I'd guess that I work at a job half as much as a man my age living in a similar situation. We've worked hard to stay out of debt. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't feel blessed. It's been that way since I started reading good books.

I'm also thinking of an interview that Derrick Jensen did with Lierre Keith on the Progressive Radio Network a few months ago. At the end of the interview she made a distinction between a liberal and a radical. What I heard her say is that liberals spend most of their time trying to change individual minds. They concentrate more on personal transformation. Radicals, on the other hand, organize and try to change the material conditions that keep them oppressed. They are not afraid of wanting to seize and obtain power...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Religion and Sex

One of the Townships near me is working on banning any kind of adult entertainment within the township. I don't know where I'm at concerning the issue, but I've always like this quote by Alan Watts: "Religion without sex is a rattling skeleton, and sex without religion is a mass of mush." Or this one by Thomas Moore, "Sex and religion are closer to each other than either might prefer."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

An Insight into Manhood

This morning I ran across one of the best insights into being a son, grandson, and father that a guy could ask for, and that you will rarely hear mentioned in our innocent American culture. The Tallensi of Ghana say: "Your son is your rival." This also explains why my neighbor has a bumper sticker on the bug shield of his work truck that reads: "I hate [Insert his son's name here]." Talk about being transparent.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Growing up I used to be a Washington Redskins fan. I still remember watching Joe Theismann falling behind center wearing eye-black, a single-bar kicker's helmet, and the #7 on his jersey (My favorite number to this day). And Joe Gibbs giving the ball to John Riggins sometimes up to 40 times a game. The glory days of the franchise. Of course, now I've come to my senses and am a die hard Green Bay Packer's fan.

Why am I remembering and writing about this?

Yesterday I learned that "redskin" refers an image of a body of an Indian that has been skinned alive. I guess when you take the skin off from the human body most of the blood comes to the surface. This used to be a common practice as the settlers moved westward towards California. I always thought that redskin just referred to the reddish color of their skin.

I was wrong. And I can see why the natives want the name changed.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fever Setting In

As the snowflakes gently fall from the sky and the temperature drops outside these cordwood walls on this 20th day of January, my 4-year-old son stands facing me with baseball cap on head, baseball glove on left hand, ball in right hand, and a naked bottom. My 14 year old son's bat bag has made it's way from its spot in the old abandoned farm house a stone's throw away from the house we're living in now.

I'd say not cabin but baseball fever is setting in.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


"We have weakened the nobility of fatherhood in our time by mistaking imperialism in business and government for genuine paternal leadership. Mistakenly we complain about patriarchy instead of paternalism and weak-kneed authority. Patri-archy refers to the archetypal or original father, the ur-father, the father in heaven who permeates every created thing with his seminal possibilities."--Thomas Moore, Pg.51, Original Self

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Masculinity and Gender

This is some of the best writing on gender and masculinity that I've seen in a long time. It also speaks to my experience.

"Gender is an aspect of our individuality. I am a man as no one else is a man. My masculinity is like my American spirit, a defining facet. The variations of gender are infinite, and so it is absurd to reduce gender to two categories and insist that everyone fit into one or the other. Besides, all dualisms doom us to division and conflict. They are simplistic descriptions of experience and tend toward easy literalism. Paradoxically, to become less certain about one's own gender may be the turning point at which one begins to discover the richness of one's masculinity and femininity."--Thomas Moore, Pg.55, Original Self

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Roosevelt and The Future

The other day I listened to an interesting radio program about Franklin Roosevelt's presidency. The guest made the point that Roosevelt understood well that industrialism caused a huge gap between the rich and the poor, and he did all that he could do within his presidential powers to save capitalism and lift people out of poverty.

I often wonder what a future President's rhetoric will sound like when most of the population comes to the understanding that civilization is the cause of poverty; that when civilization walks in the door poverty comes with it. Or will there even be a Presidential office when this is realized?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Anxiety and Collapse

"Anxiety is nothing but fear inspired by an imagined future collapse. It is the failure of trust."-Thomas Moore

A few questions come to mind after running across this quote this morning. What kind of future collapse do you imagine? Where should we put our trust to alleviate the general feeling of anxiety in this day in age?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Priapus's Hard-on

My morning started with a question. Why does priapus have a permanent hard-on? Then while doing some research on that I got sidetracked by a quote:

"Tell me for what you yearn and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for, the idealized image that drives our wandering."--James Hillman

Back to priapus. A few reflections: From what I know about priapus so far health class would've been much more interesting if priapus would have been introduced. Sex would have lost some of its heaviness, I think. He also lightens things up when the subject of sex comes up with your 14 year old son. If you don't believe me look up some images of him.

Now it's time to go deliver mail in the polar vortex. While doing the route yesterday the temperature didn't get above -12 F. I've been noticing a lot of deer tracks along the wood edges. They have to be really struggling right now.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Listening To The Dead and Adulthood

"It is an adult perception to understand that the world belongs primarily to the dead, and we only rent it from them for a little while. They created it, they wrote its literature and it songs, and they are deeply invested in how children are treated, because the children are the ones who will keep it going. The idea that each of us has the right to change everything is a deep insult to them."--Robert Bly, pg. 238, The Sibling Society.

"The work is [Carl] Jung's 'Book of the Dead.' His descent into the underworld, in which there's an attempt to find the way of relating to the dead. He comes to the realization that unless we come to terms with the dead we simply cannot live, and that our life is dependent on finding answers to their unanswered questions." Sonu Shamdasani, pg. 1, Lament of the Dead

Saturday, January 04, 2014

More Cold On Its Way

The thermometer let me know it's 30 degrees warmer than it was yesterday morning about this time. It sounds like it's going to be a brief warm up. It's not suppose to be much above zero while the Packers face the 49ers tomorrow. The Governor of Minnesota has already called off school statewide because of projected cold temperatures. More on the cold theme:

"Tom Brown once asked Stalking Wolf why the cold didn't bother him. Stalking Wolf answered, 'Because it's real.'"--Ran Prieur

Friday, January 03, 2014

Keeping The Cold Out

It's 5AM. The thermometer on the wall reads -10 degrees F. It's warmed up 5 degrees since I went to bed 6 hours ago. The pine fire has just started to take off. Not much of a struggle to get it going, but it's work. Minutes later I sit down with my coffee and a book before heading off to pedal mail. A few minutes later the pen is uncapped and my hand is moving across the page writing the quote below.

"Stop struggling to keep the cold out. Let it flow through your body. Give it the space it will have in any case. Then you'll see that it isn't malevolent or hostile--or indeed anything that is thinking of you at all."-- Daniel Quinn, pg. 38, Tales of Adam

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Cold Again

It didn't get much above zero again today. I had -20 on my thermometer at 5AM. I'm wondering if this past December has been one of the coldest we've experienced in northwestern Wisconsin. And with the consistent cold temperatures I found myself going back through author Timothy Scott Bennett's Facebook updates to find where he talked about his experience with the cold and the stories he tells himself about it. With a little persistence I found it. It was a pleasure to read again before I get ready to go out for another run in below zero temperatures.

TSB's update from 12/17: "Isn't it amazing? I get up and it's 4° F below and still there are gulls in the sky, still there are crows looking for handouts, still there are deer stepping quietly across the driveway trying not to wake anyone. How do they do it, I won...der, and why can't I? Over the years, I've schooled myself to walk barefoot on the ground, and can now easily do so when it's 15-20°F. I go out without coat and hat for as long as I can, and let the wind rip right through me. It seems that story and fear and culture and belief are as much a factor as anything else, when it comes to our experience of cold. So I work at that level, knowing that I won't always be able to control my external circumstances, knowing that the stories inside of me will determine my experience just as much as any outside force, knowing that if I can meet things like cold, hunger, and discomfort without fear and judgment that that will give me an edge, knowing that Nietzsche was right about what makes me stronger. In the end, it's my resistance to what's so - whether it be cold, heat, biting ants, or feelings of anger or grief- that causes me all of my suffering. The story 'this should not be' creates so much of my upset. And it's a silly story, don't you think, as anything that "should not be" surely "is" already. The cold surely "is." And I think the gulls and crows and deers just take it as such, with no thought of personal punishment, no offense, no inner mumbling of 'this should not be.' Thank you, teachers."

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Resolution

My New Year's resolution: To entertain more radical thoughts.