Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Your Wicked Good Militia

I have been looking for this quote since I first heard Paul Cienfuegos use it in a talk that he recorded for Alternative radio awhile back.

"We The People must unite if we are to be a power strong enough to get our sovereign rights back. we must not squabble amongst ourselves over stuff like abortions, drugs, guns, welfare, unemployment benefits, men who whistle at women, cultural differences, race, and all that. a united people must include all of us: the homos, the heters, the yuppy, the hippie, the red necks, hairy, shaved, kinky, spiffy, the work boots, the sneakers, the black shiny pumps, the nose rings, the knit shirts, flannel shirts, pink shirts, the fat, the thin, the tall and the short and the beauteous, and the ugly. We need millions. We can’t fight the corporate scheme if we are all hissing and fluffing and puffing and snorting in little isolated groups which blame other little groups for the country’s ills."--Carolyn Chute

I found it HERE.

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Compass Points to Colorado

This morning I put 45 minutes into the Community Rights effort. It was basically 45 minutes full of grief and despair. When you see it pointed out to you again and again how corporations have rigged the system to the point where most people in the country feel powerless to the point of self-destruction, and most methods of activism surrounding you is the one-corporate-harm-at-a-time type, grief and despair are just part of the program. Or to say it another way, it's all part of the decolonization process. I'm not complaining here or need support of any kind, that's not the intent of me writing this. It's an attempt at a description of what I consider to be an important and essential part of my life.

My compass points to the courageous folks in Colorado working toward an amendment to their state Constitution giving local communities the right to govern themselves. I want to see a Wisconsin Community Rights network some day.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Barbara Ehrenreich's New Book

Barbara Ehrenreich's new book "Living With A Wild God" has moved up to the top of my reading list. I've listened to an interview and talk with her while delivering mail the past couple of days. I was interested so much in what she had to say that I forgot to deliver some of my customer's packages and had to back track. That's one of the ways I can tell if a thinker has really got my attention. Along with her stories I agreed with almost all of what she had to say. She deplores monotheism; doesn't think God has a care in the world about goodness and morality; thinks we're paying a heavy price for close to erasing all of the animistic rituals from the face of the earth; and how the animistic gods don't requite belief.

What most interested me, though, was her description of one of the mystical experiences she had in her teens (I've heard the psychologist James Hillman say that most of us get closest to God in adolescence and towards the end of our life). I would like to read more of her description of this. She said it was both ecstatic and horrifying at the same time. Plus, to all of you Daniel Quinn fans out there, it sounds very similar to the experience that he had at the monastery in his early twenties, which he described in "Providence."

Another quote that points to the idea that I got from Robert Bly's "Sibling Society" years ago: We are the only culture to have ever colonized ourselves; and the political left are the gatekeepers. Also, I think this is perhaps why environmentalist and author Derrick Jensen has received close to a thousand hateful emails from folks on the left and only a handful from those on the political right. I've also heard Thomas Linzey say that the "progressive" community will not likely be the ones to carry the Community Rights work forward, a whole new constituency will arise and will be responsible for moving it forward.

"Corporations essentially define our economy, out society, our jobs, our educational system, and our leisure time. Our state legislatures once defined corporations as subordinate entities, yet now We The People find every aspect of our lives subordinated to corporate "needs."--Jane Anne Morris, pg.41, Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy

It's because of these corporate "needs" that I deliver so much junk mail and you get so much of it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our First Baseball Practice

Last night I spent the evening with 18 young men on the baseball diamond. I'm helping coach my son's 13-14 yr. old Babe Ruth team. Last night was our first practice. A few reflections and observations:

Reflections: This thought kept reoccurring during our practice: "Wow, just think you used to move and throw like that with little or no effort. Now you come to practice with ice packs and ibuprofen set to pace yourself." Ah yes, grief and diminishment. Welcome to middle-age, forty is only a few months away.

Observation: There is an underlying rage in most of those boys. They're extreme in nature. In trying to understand this I turn to Michael Ventura's "Age of Endarkenment:"

"We tend to think of this extremism in the young as rela-
tively new, peculiar to our time. The history of the race
doesn't bear this out. Robert Bly and Michael Meade,
among others, teach that tribal people everywhere
greeted the onset of puberty, especially in males, with
elaborate and excruciating initiations — a practice that
plainly wouldn't have been necessary unless their young
were as extreme as ours. But, unlike us, tribal people
met the extremism of their young (and I'm using "ex-
tremism" as a catch-all word for the intense inner caco-
phony of adolescence) with an equal but focused and
instructive extremism from the adults.

"The tribal adults didn't run from this moment in their
children as we do; they celebrated it. They would as-
sault their adolescents with, quite literally, holy terror;
rituals that had been kept secret from the young till
that moment — a secrecy kept by threat of death, so
important was this "adolescent moment" to the ancients;
rituals that focused upon the young all the light and
darkness of their tribe's collective psyche, all its sense
of mystery, all its questions and all the stories told to
both harbor and answer those questions. Their 'meth-
odology,' if you like, deserves looking at, since these
societies lasted with fair stability for at least 50,000 years.

"The crucial word here is 'focus.' The adults had some-
thing to teach: stories, skills, magic, dances, visions,
rituals. In fact, if these things were not learned well
and completely, the tribe could not survive. But the
adults did not splatter this material all over the young
from the time of their birth, as we do. They focused
and were as selective as possible in what they told and
taught, and when. They waited until their children
reached the intensity of adolescence, and then they
used that very intensity's capacity for absorption, its
hunger, its need to act out, its craving for dark things,
dark knowledge, dark acts, all the qualities we fear
most in our kids - the ancients used these very
qualities as teaching tools.

"Through what the kids craved, they were given what
they needed. Kids of that age crave extremes of ex-
perience — they crave this suddenly and utterly, and
are possessed by their craving. They can't be talked out
of it or conditioned out of it. It's in our genetic coding,
if you like, to crave extremes at that age. (So they must
certainly feel rage if, as in our culture, adults tell them
that these cravings are wrong, disruptive, and/or don't
really exist — which New Agers do as surely as Vic-
torians.) At the same time, these kids need the cosmology
and skills apt for survival in their world. The kids can
create the extremes for themselves — they're quite good
at it; but not the cosmology, not the skills. And
without those elements, given at the proper time
through the dark-energy channels that have suddenly
opened in the young and go clear down to their souls,
the need for extremes is never really satisfied in its pur-
pose, and hence it goes on and on."--Micheal Ventura out of The Age of Endarkenment

We don't give them a working cosmology. Why? We don't have one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

It's Earth Day. And I've been sitting here for a half-n-hour or so trying to figure what I'm going to say about it. This best I can come up with is a quote by a guy that I didn't know existed until yesterday. His name is Henry Giroux. I guess Bill Moyers has interviewed him the past. I heard about him from Derrick Jensen. He'll be doing an interview with him on Resistance Radio in the near future. Anyway, here is the quote:

“It’s hard to imagine life beyond capitalism. It’s easier to imagine the death of the planet than it is to imagine the death of capitalism.”

I struggle with this all the time. Do you?

I want my kids and grandkids to sit down some day and not have to hear about species going extinct, overpopulation, poisoned water, rising cancer rates, mountain tops being blown to pieces, oil spills, climate change, desertification, and the list goes on.

Happy Earth Day...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The End Of The World As We Know It

Yesterday, I had a brief conversation about gas prices with an over-the-road truck driver. I mentioned that a lot of us would be shocked if we had to pay the real price for gas. He said, "We don't as it is; we pay over 60% in taxes." I knew where he was going with it: Gas is over taxed; we need cheap toilet paper; and government is going to tax the working man out of a job. I more or less bowed out of the conversation and took in what he had to say.

But before I went on my way I did mention that no matter what the government does I'm afraid the price of gas will continually rise until a lot of us can't afford it anymore. I pointed to the fact that in the mid-eighteen hundreds the first oil well in the United States was only about 60 feet deep and produced a gusher of oil. About 150 years later we had the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that was at least a mile below the ocean's surface and a couple more miles below the bottom of the ocean. "I'm afraid we're running out cheap oil. It's becoming harder to find." I said. He said, "We have all the oil we need in Alaska. It's just that pipeline that's holding it up."

I wished him a nice day

Welcome to the end of the world as we know it. (Thank you to the band REM for this line)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy" Has Arrived

The other day I received "Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy" and immediately started reading essays out of it. I can't believe this book is out of print. I think it's essential reading for any citizen that wants to fight for democracy. It's clear after reading a few essays that things really do not have to be this way. Anyway, the first essay by Jane Anne Morris is one of the best titles to an essay that I've come across in my short and limited reading life:

"Help! I've Been Colonized And I Can't Get Up..."

Ain't that the truth. It's going to take generations to get this thing turned around...if we do. Right now, as I type this Plum Creek is clear cutting (liquidating) close to 100 acres of red pine plantation next to my neighbors house. And if that isn't horrible enough they have plans on spraying the whole section with herbicides to kill anything that'll compete with the trees (assets) they are going to plant.

To show you how naïve I used to be, when I first read "Ishmael" and quit logging back at the turn of the century, I thought for sure we'd be well beyond this type of forestry practice within a decade. I really thought that enough minds would be changed and more sensible and sustainable ways to cut trees would be common.

On my way out the door to shovel a foot of wet, heavy snow so that I can get out of my driveway. I wonder if this is the last storm of the year.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Another Sunday Morning

It's Sunday. Hopefully home all day. Making an effort to not get in an automobile to go anywhere. The Beatles are playing on the Bose in the background. Daughter is dancing to the beat. Starting on my fourth cup of coffee to help fuel the ambition to cut some firewood. Surrounded by books, one of them is Jim Harrison's "Just Before Dark: Collected Nonfiction." Two lines speak to me this morning. One by the author and the other by W.B Yeats. Harrison says, "Poetry at its best is the language your soul would speak if you could teach your soul to speak," and Yeats, "Those men who in their writings are most wise, own nothing but their blind stupified hearts."

Time to work with wood.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Lower Brains Run The Show

I found the internet quote I was looking for yesterday. I'm beginning to think about the only thing the internet is good for is an organizing tool.

"Virtually reality, touted as an alternative reality, really means no reality at all, or rather it means that the neocortex, outflanked and pressured, creates a place it can be in control for forty minutes, while the lower brains [reptilian and paleomammalian] run everything else in the universe.

"The internet is a perfect creation of the sibling society, particularly in its belief that no codes of literary behavior and no standards are called for, and information can come along fruitfully without any filtering. But civilized proceedings cannot proceed without filters." (Robert Bly, Pg. 258, The Sibling Society)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wrong Book

Yesterday I wrote about my oldest son and how I read him a passage about Thoreau. What I forgot to mention was there was another passage that I was searching for and wanted to read to him but couldn't find. Well, this morning I found it. I couldn't find it because I was looking in the wrong book! I found it while looking for another passage on how the internet has made us even less political than we already were before it became popular. Here's the passage:

"[Thoreau's] aunt, who admired an ethical man named Dr. Chalmers, complained, 'Henry will stand for six hours watching frogs hatch, but he won't read the biography of Dr. Chalmers!' When Thoreau was dying, a neighbor said to him, 'How do you stand with Christ?' Thoreau said, wittily, but truthfully for him, 'A snowstorm is more to me than Christ.'" (Robert Bly, Pg. 56, The Sibling Society)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Living Sincerely

Lately, our oldest son (He's 14) has been spending a lot of time in the woods lighting campfires, shooting his homemade bow, watching the birds, climbing trees, etc. So while we took a break from doing firewood I felt inspired to pull down "The Winged Life: The Poetic Voice of Henry David Thoreau," by Robert Bly. Prior to me doing this we were talking about how Thoreau had changed his name from David Henry to Henry David. I wanted to find the passage where Bly talks about the name change but like usual I was sidetracked and read this passage to him instead. It's about what it means for a human being to "live sincerely." I hope he remembers it in times of need.

"To live sincerely is to live your own life, not your father's life or your mother's life or your neighbors life; to spend soul on large concerns, not to waste your life on your neighbor's life; not to waste your life as a kind of human ant carrying around small burdens; and finally, to live sincerely is to 'live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,' as Thoreau declares in "Walden." (Pg.25)

I hope I remember it in times of need.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

It's a Corpocracy

Despite what we've learned since kindegarten: We do not live in a democracy; we live in a corpocracy. If we want to eventually live sustainably on this planet we're going to have to learn how to govern ourselves again. And that is going to involve fighting to elevate community rights above corporate rights. As it stands right now a corporation can come into your community and commit whatever harm it sees fit. The only thing that you can do as a community is try to regulate this legal fiction. In other words, it's a given the corporation is going to commit the harm. You just get to regulate how harmful the harm is going to be. Where I come from that isn't democracy, and its not a good recipe for sustainability.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Time To Blow Snow

If you live in northwestern Wisconsin, and haven't been outside yet, there is close to a foot of fresh snow on the ground, and it's still coming down. Time to put on my bibs, boots, hat and gloves and trudge out to my pic-up to head over to my dads to load up the snowblower. That'll be close to a dozen times this year. I don't think I've loaded up the snowblower this many times in total in the past decade. It's just been a tough winter. I can only imagine what the deer and turkeys are feeling right now. The robin that I saw last Saturday, it's probably packed up and is almost to the Wisconsin/Iowa border by now.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Another Week

Yesterday, after work, I made up my mind that I was going to return Jung's "Red Book" to the library. It was a day overdue and it's hard to get an extension on inter-library loan books. Plus, I've got plenty of books and magazines around here to read but not enough time to read most of them as it is. But when I got up to the counter to hand the book off to the librarian I changed my mind. I asked her if I could keep it for another week and she didn't think it would be a problem, they just had to do some paperwork on it. Once again, I walked out the library with "The Red Book." This time not feeling excited but slightly obligated and overwhelmed.

This morning, to justify my keeping it, I was determined to randomly open it and just start reading a section or some footnotes. So, I did. The first paragraph that I layed my eyes on was underlined in pen by someone else. It read:

"It is better to be thrown into visible chains than into invisible ones. You can certainly leave Christianity but it does not leave you. Your liberation from it is a delusion. Christ is the way. You can certainly run away, but then you are no longer the way." [Pg. 293]

I think it's noteworthy because this is more or less what I've been getting at in some of my posts after the sermon from my fundamentalist neighbor. I also wrote down another quote that I think is somehow related to telephone sermon:

"Like everything healthy and long-lasting, truth unfortunately adheres more to the middle way, which we unjustly abhor." [pg. 293]

Seeing more blue herons around here. Time to go add to my firewood pile.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Lorax and Beauty

"A think of beauty is a joy forever"-- John Keats

Believe it or not I first heard this quote while the kids were watching "The Lorax" about a month or so ago. After I wrote it down I'd assumed Dr. Seuss came up with it until I googled it this morning. It looks like he stole it from Keats.

I've heard James Hillman say that beauty is proof that the gods exist. Without it we'd only have theology.

Off to work we go this morning. That wasn't the plan until the phone woke me up at around 10 last night.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

From Jung to Uecker

I had someone tell me the other day that I had to let the telephone sermon with the fundamentalist, firewood cutting neighbor go; that I should just let it roll off my back. I don't know if the person thought I was wounded or hurt or what. Somehow I got the feeling that they thought I needed support in this. Or perhaps that I needed protection. That's not the case at all. I'm geniunely interested in some of the things the guy had to say. Of course, when you're interested in anything there is focus, attention, emotion and values and so on. And anyone that knows me knows that I don't just let things go. I can't. It's impossible. I still brood and think on things that were said to me 25 years ago. Anyway...

During the conversation my neighbor said that he hears the prophetic voice of the lord on a daily basis. I think the guy does hear voices. And I'm not saying that in a contemptuous way. I don't think he's a nutcase. Granted I don't agree with some of the things that his voices are telling him, but I'm interested that he's hearing voices. Why? As I've mentioned before, I'm reading bits and pieces of Jung's "Red Book", and that's what the whole thing is about. It's an account of a man dealing with the voices of his internal figures. He's telling those of us in the Western tradition that we all have internal figures and voices that we hear. That's your soul. And we need to get to know and discern which figures are saying what. I think that's what good fiction writers do by the way. I've heard authors say that the characters they create actually take over their life at times.

All of that interests me.

Last night, while I was grilling burgers, I saw two blue herons fly over and heard some Canadian geese off in the distance. I'm not sure, but I think I heard sand hill cranes as I was getting into the Park Avenue to head off to work. There's still alot of standing water and snow around here. Our old horse barn finally caved in.

Oh, and Bob Uecker thinks that Justin Upton beat B.J. to the table quite a bit when they were kids.

Those are some of my thoughts and observations before I head out to cut firewood on this gray day.