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|Tuesday, December 1st, 2009|
|Wednesday, November 25th, 2009|
Now, more than ever, we need to be all that we can be.
|Tuesday, October 20th, 2009|
|Sunday, October 18th, 2009|
|Excerpt from "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" by Shea and Wilson
All typos are my own. Below is an excerpt from The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Shea and Wilson.
"One idea had remained fairly constant, however, and he heard it everywhere. That idea was that more government, tougher government, more honest government was the answer to all human problems.
Hagbard began making notes for the treatise that later became "Never Whistle While You're Pissing". He began with a ection that he later moved to the middle of the book:
It is now theoretically possible to link the human nervous system into a radio network so that, micro-miniaturized receivers being implanted in people's brains, the messages coming out of these radios would be indistinguishable to the subjects from the voice of their own thoughts. One central transmitter, located in the nation's capital, could broadcast all day long what the authorities wanted the people to believe. The average man on the receiving end of these broadcasts would not even know he was a robot; he would think it was his own voice he was listening to. The average woman could be treated similarly.
It is ironic that people will find such a concept both shocking and frightening. Like Orwell's 1984, this is not a fantasy of the future but a parable of the present. Every citizen in every authoritarian society already has such a "radio" built into his or her brain. This radio is the little voice that asks, each time a desire is formed, "Is it safe? Will my wife (my husband/my boss/my church/my community_ approve? Will people ridicule and mock me? Will the police come and arrest me?" This little voice the Freudians call "the Superego," with Freud himself vividly characterized as "the ego's harsh master." With a more functional approach, Perls, Hefferline and Goodman, in Gestalt Therapy, describe this process as "a set of conditioned verbal habits."
This set, which is fairly uniform throughout any authoritarian society, determines the actions which will, and will not, occur there. Let us consider humanity a biogram (the basic DNS bluprint of the human organism and its potentials) united with a logogram (this set of "conditioned verbal habits"). The biogram has not changed in several hundred thousand years; the logogram is different in each society. When the logogram reinforces the biogram, we have a libertarian society, such as still can be found among some American Indian tribes. Like Confucianism before it became authoritarian and rigidified, American Indian ethics is based on speaking from the heart and acting from the heart -- that is, from the biogram.
No authoritarian society can tolerate this. All authority is based on conditioning men and women to act from the logogra, since the logogram is a set created by those in authority.
Every authoritarian logogram divides society, as it divides the individual, into alienated halves. Those at the bottom suffer what I shall call the burden of nescience. The natural sensory activity of the biogram -- what theh person sees, hears, smells, tastes, fells, and, above all, what the organism as a whole, or as a potential whole, wants -- is always irrelevant and immaterial. The authoritarian logogram, not the field of sensed experience, determines what is relevant and material. This is as true of a highly paid advertising copywriter as it is of an engine lathe operator. The person acts, not on personal experience and the evaluations of the nervous system, but on the orders from above. Thus, personal experience and personal judgment being nonoperational, these functions become also less "real." They exist, if at all, only in that fantasy land which Freud called the Unconscious. Since nobody has found a way to prove that the Freudian Unconscious really exists, it can be doubted that personal experience and personal judgment exist; it is an act of faith to assume they do. The organism has become, as Marx said, " a tool, a machine, a robot."
Those at the top of the authoritarian pyramid, however, suffer an equal and opposite burden of omniscience. All that is forbidden to the servile class -- the web of perception, evaluation and participation in the sensed universe -- is demanded of the members of the master class. They must attempt to do the seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling and decision-making for the whole society.
But a man with a gun nis told only that which people assume will not provoke him to pull the trigger. Since all authority and government are based on force, the master class, with its burden of omniscience, faced the servile class, with its burden of nescience, precisely as a highwayman faces his victimm. Communication is possible only between equals. The master class never abstracts enough information from the servile class to know what is actually going on in the world where the actual productivity of society occurs. Furthermore, the logogram of any authoritarian society remains fairly inflexible as time passes, but everything else in the universe constantly changes. The result can only be progressive disorientation among the rulers. The end is debacle.
The schizophrenia of authoritarianism exists both in the individual and in the whole society.
I call this the Snafu Principle."
|Friday, September 25th, 2009|
|life charges along....
i don't really feel much like saying anything. i don't feel clever and smarmy, nor do i feel motivated to discuss something philosophic or emotional. i am in a malaise of sorts. i feel as though i am playing pin the tail on the donkey, only it's in a room the size of a stadium, and there are multiple ways of getting turned around. i have a lot to be thankful for, but don't really feel excited by much right now. my energy is low, and my motivation is right there with it. it's like my brain has loose connections at some critical juncture(s), and the brain isn't firing as i think it should be. is this aging and poor care of self catching up to me? how do we jump start this sucker?
on an unrelated note: facebook sucks. they have a glitch in their messaging software that stops any sort of input for your browser (at least in firefox) when someone messages you. it's annoying enough if you have two or three people chatting you, but it's even more annoying when you're trying to write an email on an entirely different site and it still affects you! i guess i'll be switching to the "lite" version to see if that helps.
|Sunday, August 16th, 2009|
I hadn't heard about this until getting roped into volunteering last year for it. It's a team race that uses a variety of disciplines (swim, bicycle, kayak, ropes, orienteering, and others, depends on the year). Teams race against each other and also against the clock. For those interested in learning more, here's a link:http://www.ecoprimalquest.com/wp-primal/pq/
It's a fun group of people, and the athletes tend to be in insane shape. If I'm remembering correctly, the first stage was a climb from 7,000 feet to 11,000 feet (about 5,000 feet elevation change) and back down. I don't know the mileage, but the first teams weren't expected to come down to the checkpoint for about 3 hours. The lead teams were down in about an hour and a half. Last year it was in Montana, this year it's in South Dakota.
|Thursday, August 13th, 2009|
|New Phone Number! Please send me your contact info!
Due to losing my phone, and the regionalization of AT&T, I currently have a new phone number. I will be reachable here until further notice: 919-671-6875
Since my contacts were/are on sim card, I have lost most of them. Please message or email me your contacts so I can update my (new) phone and low-tech backup solution! :)
p.s.- Virgin Mobile with no contract, unlimited minutes, 1000 text messages: about $62 a month. Yay Virgin Mobile, yay no contract.
|Sunday, March 15th, 2009|
|quotes for today....
Belief in progress is a doctrine of idlers and Belgians.
For the present, the comedy of existence has not yet "become conscious" of itself. For the present, we still live in the age of tragedy, the age of moralities and religions.
|Thursday, March 12th, 2009|
|Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009|
For those of you looking for alternative tools to those offered by M$, here's a couple of good ones, without having to resort to an entire office suite such as Open Office (which is good, but large).
AbiWord (Word replacement):http://www.abisource.com/
Gnumeric (Excel replacement):http://projects.gnome.org/gnumeric/index.shtml
Mozilla Thunderbird with Lightning extension (Outlook replacement):http://www.mozilla.com/thunderbirdhttp://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/lightning/index.html
Please note that I am not a "power user" of these apps or their M$ equivalents. I cannot verify that the functionality is 100% identical. However, from my usage, these apps seem to be very good while being less bloated.
One caveat about Gnumeric: I am unable to use it for accessing password-protected .xls files. That is the only issue I have run into thus far.
I have used Thunderbird (without Lightning) to connect to Outlook/Exchange without problems.
Use and enjoy! AbiWord and Gnumeric are especially enjoyable and quick from the work I have done using them.
|Sunday, March 1st, 2009|
|Monday, February 23rd, 2009|
|An excerpt from "A Sideways Look at Time" by Jay Griffiths
The ancient Greeks had different gods for time's different aspects (including the god of the moment for weeding, the god of the moment of horses panicking, the god of the moment when a party suddenly falls silent). One of the most important was Chronos who gives his name to absolute time, linear, chronological and quantifiable. But the Greeks had another, far more slippery and colorful, god of time, Kairos. Kairos was the god of timing, of opportunity, of chance and mischance, of different aspects of time, the auspicious and the not-so-auspicious. Time qualitative. If you sleep because the clock tells you it's way past your bedtime, that is chronological time: whereas if you sleep because you're tired, that is kairological time. If you eat biscuits when you're hungry, that is kairological: wheareas if you eat by the clock, that is chronological time. (In English there is that quaint-sounding mid-morning meal literally named for the clock: elevenses.) Children, needless to say, live kairologically until winkled out of it. Chronos was considered by the Ancient Greeks, and the modern West, as superior to Kairos. Astrology is time considered kairologically: in Hindu life, for instance, the time of the individual and that of the cosmos are considered inseparable. The traditional zodiacal animals of Korea are also used to name the twelve-hour periods into which the day is divided and impart their characteristics to each period and to those born in that period. While astrologers (and, I'm tempted to say, "Kairopractors" but I won't) see a rainbow of colors in time, the dominant calendar of the West is strictly magnolia.
Kairological time has a different sense of movement compared to chronological time. For a rough comparison, contrast an urban with a rural day. In cities, where time is most chronological, you move into the future, facing forwards, your progress through the day is like an arrow while the day itself "stays still," for time is not given by the day but is man-made, culturally given, and defined by the working-day or rush-hours. In a rural place, days roll over the horizon at you, round and gold as the sun, time moves towards you and is nature-given, defined by sun or stars or rainstorms. In this more kairological time, the future comes towards you (l'avenir, in French, expresses that, or "Christmas is coming") and recedes behind you while you may well stay still, standing in the present-the only place which is ever really anyone's to stand in. This experience of time, so unlike the urban, is one reason why the countryside, and access to it, is so vital in overurbanized societies; it offers a kinder time.
Kind but fluky. If chronological time is like the worldwide suburbia, kairological time is the genius loci, the spirit of that particular moment. Kairological time is far richer-far trickier-a concept; time enlivened and various, time as elastic and fertile as an ovulatory cascade.
|Friday, February 13th, 2009|
|Request for support, or at least a read....
The below is the text I received from Courage Campaign, written by Cleve Jones, who worked with Harvey Milk. Please read it and consider signing the petition at the following web address (will be at the end as well):http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/dotherightthing
President Bill Clinton will be making a big mistake on Sunday. Unless we act now to stop him. Let me tell you why.
If you've seen the film "MILK", you may know that I worked with Harvey Milk in the 1970s, including on a campaign to boycott Coors Beer for the company's anti-gay hiring policies and belligerent stance in contract negotiations towards their workers.
The Coors Beer Boycott taught me an unforgettable lesson about the power of coalitions in the struggle for equality. That lesson is being replicated today in the successful Manchester Hyatt Boycott in San Diego.
To the the surprise of many, President Clinton is scheduled to give a paid speech this Sunday at the Manchester Hyatt to the annual convention of the International Franchise Association. To give this speech, President Clinton will have to violate a union boycott and labor dispute -- the workers at the hotel lack job security and the housekeepers face onerous workloads.
But that's not all. President Clinton will also be offending supporters of marriage equality, including myself. Doug Manchester, the owner of the hotel, contributed $125,000 in early seed money to the Proposition 8 campaign.
We can't let this happen. President Clinton has the power to move his speech away from the Manchester Hyatt. And you have the power to convince him to do the right thing. Please sign the Courage Campaign's petition to President Clinton immediately and we will do everything in our power to get your signatures to him ASAP:http://www.couragecampaign.org/DoTheRightThing
It is ironic that, by showing up at the Manchester Hyatt on Sunday, President Clinton will provide comfort to Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund, who are now trying to defend the constitutionality of Prop 8 before the state Supreme Court. Doug Manchester's significant $125,000 contribution to the "Yes on 8" campaign helped pass Prop 8 -- money that made Starr's case possible.
I think President Clinton should move his speech to another hotel in the area that treats its workers -- and the LGBT community -- with respect. If he doesn't, he will see me, and likely many others, this Sunday on the sidewalk in front of the Manchester Hyatt.
That is exactly where Harvey Milk would want me -- and you -- to be. While you may not be able join us there, I hope you'll add your signature right now and ask President Clinton to do the right thing before Sunday:http://www.couragecampaign.org/DoTheRightThing
Thank you for helping the Courage Campaign and UNITE HERE build a broad-based coalition for equal rights and economic justice in California and across the country.
The Courage Campaign is an online organizing network that empowers over 500,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change in California.
The link again is: http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/dotherightthing
|Tuesday, January 13th, 2009|
We boast of our system of education, but why stop at school masters and schoolhouses? We are all schoolmasters and our schoolhouse is the universe. To attend chiefly to our desk or school house while we neglect the scenery in which it is placed is absurd.
|Monday, January 5th, 2009|
|Excerpt from "Multitude" by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
All typos are mine, etc, etc....
The Mercenary and The Patriot:
The end of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the Italian Renaissance are two example, among many others, of the triumph of mercenaries. When the general population no longer constitutes the armed forces, when the army is no longer the people in arms, then empires fall. Today all armies are again tending to become mercenary armies. As at the end of the Renaissance, contemporary mercenaries are led by condottieri. There are condottieri who lead national squadrons of specialists in military technologies, other condottieri who lead battalions of guardians of order, like global Swiss Guards, and still others who lead armies of the satellite countries of the global order. Some of the most horrible massacres are conducted at the hands of mercenaries, like those at the Sabna and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut in 1982. Or rather, as Jean Genet wrote after visiting those camps, they were mercenaries of mercenaries.
Today, however, war is no longer conducted as it was at the beginning of modernity. The figure of the condottiere is often filled by an engineer or, better, someone linked to a number of industries that develop new weapons, communication systems, and means of control. Today's mercenaries have to be biopolitical soldiers who must master a variety of technical, legal, cultural, and political capabilities. A mercenary can even serve as the head of state in an occupied country destined to be marginal in the global hierarchy: a Gauleiter, like the district leaders of the Nazi party, or a Karzai and a Chalabi, businessmen thrust into power, or simply a Kurtz, reigning over subordinated peoples like a god. A small group of highly skilled mercenaries with the ominous name Executive Outcomes, for example, mostly former members of the South African Defense Force, determined governmental power and controlled central industries, such as the diamond trade, for almost a decade in Uganda, Sierra Leone, and other neighboring countries of central and west Africa.
The relationships that form between the imperial aristocracies and the mercenaries are at some times intimate and at others quite distant. What is most feared is that a condottieri will turn against the imperial aristocracy. Saddam Hussein did that after having served as Swiss Guard against the threats of Islamic Iran; Osama Bin Laden did that after having liberated Afghanistan from the Soviets. The mercenary taking power, according to Machiavelli, signals the end of the republic. Mercenary command and corruption, he said, cecome synonymous. Should we expect an uprising of mercenaries against today's global Empire, or will the mercenaries tend simply to assimilate and serve supporint roles in the ruling structures? Machiavelli teaches us that only good weapons make good laws. One might infer, then, that bad weapons--and in Machiavelli's language, mercenaries are bad weapons--make bad laws. The corruption of the military, in other words, implies the corruption of the entire political order.
This road to corruption is only one possible future path. The other is the rebirth of amor patriae, love of one's country--a love that has nothing to do with nationalisms or populisms. Ernst Kantorowica, in his wonderful essay on the history of the notion of dying for one's country, "Pro Patria Mori," demonstrates that the modern European concept does not really derive, as one might expect, from the ancient Greek or Roman glorification of heroes in battle. The concept should be traced rather to the MIddle Ages and the Renaissance, when the love of country was not really tied to any country's institutions or even national identity. When Kantorowica scratches beneath the surface of the notion of love of one's country, he does not find nationalism but rather republican caritas or sympathetic fellow-feeling, which transmutes into amor humanitatis, a love of humanity, exceeding any and all nations. Nationalism and--even more--the florification of nationalist militarism is tus a distortion of this tradition of patriotic sentiments, a distortion that finds its logical culmination in the fascist regimes of the twentieth century.
We should try to make this sentiment real and concrete today and find a way for it to oppose all the mercenaries and the mercenary appropriations of the idea of love of country. There are numerous modern examples of this renewed love of country that open up to a love of humanity--the struggles of the Sanculottes at Valmy, for example, or the Vietnamese peasants in their anti-colonial wars--but memory is not enough here. The political times and the mode of production have changed. We have to construct the figure of a new David, the multitude as champion of asymmetrical combat, immaterial workers who become a new kind of combatants, cosmopolitan bricoleurs of resistance and cooperation. These are the ones who can throw the surplus of their knowledges and skills into the construction of a common struggle against imperial power. This is the real patriotism, the patriotism of those with no nation. More than ever this patriotism takes shape in the conspiracy of the many, moving toward decisions through the common desire of the multitude. What mercenaries can stand up to that? Today with the cry with which Machiavelli closes The Prince once again has all the urgency and validity that it had almost five hundred years ago, a cry against injustice and corruption: "This barbarian domination stinks to everyone!" We need to find a way to renew Machiavelli's exhortatoins to liberation in the vernacular of the contemporary global multitude and thus renew the real tradition of patriotism.
|Wednesday, December 31st, 2008|
May this year find you blessed and enriched. May we learn from our lessons from the past year, and carry their essence into the year forward.
Hugs to all, and a hope for continued, renewed, or simply newed goodness.
|Wednesday, December 24th, 2008|
|brief thoughts this time of year....
To all of the huddled masses, the jobless, the jobbed, the homeless, the homed, those alone, those with friends and/or family....
My best wishes for you all. It has been a tumultuous year for many (self included), and I wanted to take a moment to say how grateful I am for what I do have: health, family, friends, a job, connection, relationships, and so much more.
To whomever is out there, my kind thoughts and warm regards to you during this holiday season. I do not suspect I will capture the full gamut of my emotions here, so I will attempt to summarize.
I wish I could give something to you all, I wish I could impart joy, warmth, belonging, and love to you all. My thoughts are with so many people this holiday season, many of whom I cannot be with. To those of you enjoying your own celebrations, my greetings to you! To those of you who are more alone this holiday season, I am zenly handing you a cup of rummed egg nog (or spiced cider if you prefer).
It's been a crazy year. I hope that everyone is in good spirits and is good to each other.
Much love to all.
|Thursday, December 18th, 2008|
|Tuesday, December 16th, 2008|