That's my life, a bit.
That's my life, a bit.
On the personal, "what's going on in my day-to-day life" front, I've had the urge to read more science fiction - hence the Mack Reynolds experience. The last couple of days, I've been reading Asimov's I, Robot, cleansing my palate of said Mack Reynolds experience. After the first two pages, I almost cried - the prose was so well-written in comparison. Joy, joy. I'm curious to see how long this novel-hunger lasts.
We got a new Owain CD at PSG, which is actually his first release. Now, our collection of Owain is complete (though he appears on other CDs). I have fallen madly in love with the song "Es warb ein schöner Jüngling" - a German love-song - flowing, powerfully resonant strings, woven with pipes and harp, all with the heartful Riesling-like tenor of Owain wafting over the currents beneath. It strikes the same parts of me that his "Quantas Sabedes" does - the song to which lillassea and I danced at our handfasting. Mmmmm....
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In other news,
I'm interested in reading and talking more, creating more, but about the structures of lived experience, rather than getting lost in leftie alerts. The fact is that I'm not happy with the unconscious structures of my life - the decisions made for me or unseen alternatives. The dissonance stirs an anxiety that won't vanish when X leaves office, that won't vanish when XYZ-Inc stops polluting Y, that won't vanish when I join this Party or that. Yes, these are all important issues, and it's good to share information. But information in our society takes a commodity-form like anything else, and thus we tend to foster passive consumption rather than supply a resource for people's autonomous projects; we market identityTM while the actual bones of life remain unchanged, Walden's unsucked marrow. I'm interested in the bones.
Anyway, now accepting applications: any urbane Thoreaus or communard-curious folk interested in talking dreams and nuts & bolts regarding intentional living, intentional community, voluntary simplicity et al., feel free to contact me.
No point, just thought.
Second thought, today I was wondering what to do with all the styrofoam I seem to accumulate (take out coffee and such). Not many recyclers take PS #6. In earthship fasion, I wondered if it could be shredded and remolded without much specialized equipment, or if that could produce dangerous outgassing.
What I found is that, even in its functional state, polystyrene can leach styrene into the liquids it contains. Most containers have some kind of migratory compounds, but styrene is more prone to migrate due to residual traces left over from manufacture and styrene's solubility in oils and ethanol. There is a study that suggests that styrene vapor also has harmful neurotoxic qualities, so there are multiple forms of ingestion that can cause issues.
Maybe I'm chicken little, but it concerns me a bit, being an avid coffeeeee drinker who stops to re-caffeinate regularly during road trips of any duration.
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It seems that when I write, a hundred pleasurable activities come to mind that I would rather do. I remember once being given a cabin in northern Minnesota for a week. The second day I was sitting down in front of the typewriter to work on a short story. There was a view of late June aspens and beet leaves, lettuce, zinnias from the garden. A great blue sky. Suddenly I was in a bathing suit, ankle-deep in the lake, which was a quarter of a mile from the cabin. About to dive headfirst, I became awake: "Natalie, What are you doing here? You just sat down to write the third page of your short story!" Usually I don't get quite that far before I catch myself.
We can give it different names, but basically it is that part of our mind that is resistant that begins to activate when we do these tricks. What does it want to resist? Work and concentration.
There was a period last fall when every time I began to write, I went into a perfect blank-minded euphoria, where I stared out the window and felt a love for and oneness with everything. I sat in this state, sometimes for the whole time I had planned to write. I thought to myself, "Lo and behold, I am becoming enlightened! This is much more important than writing, and besides this is where all writing leads." After this had gone on for quite a while, I asked [my Zen instructor] Katagiri Roshi about it. He said, "Oh, it's just laziness. Get to work."
- Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
I have to add - one day, I almost skipped my projects to read a book called Overcoming Procrastination.
Irony is almost as delightful as absurdity.
Though I like the name 'Ezra', like an old Hebrew patriarch (not to mention I have an uncle named Ezra), I'm pretty unfamiliar with Ezra Pound, except for snippets of gossip between him and Yeats at a party that took place before either of my parents were born. This book must be lillassea's... that's alright - in a moment's resistance, any distraction will do.
"Selected Poems"! You mock me!
Okay, okay... I relent!
I stood still and was a tree amid the wood,
Knowing the truth of things unseen before;
Of Daphne and the laurel bough
And that god-feasting couple old
That grew elm-oak amid the wold.
'Twas not until the gods had been
Kindly entreated, and been brought within
Unto the hearth of their heart's home
That they might do this wonder thing;
Nathless I have been a tree amid the wood
And many a new thing understood
That was rank folly to my head before.
Kith and kin
Every now and then, I get a question on how I can identify with Buddhism, Catholicism, and Neopaganism, without falling into a muddle in the middle. The walls between these (and any "religions" in the modern age) seem thick and unyielding, and cannot flex without damaging the integrity of the whole. I've met syncretists (such as Zen Druids and Christo-Pagans) who seem to flex walls in this way, some with more success than others.
I wonder though how much twisting and flexing is actually necessary? On the surface, none at all - the walls between "religions" in my opinion, are simply manifestations of the original wall, the compartmentalization of religion at the beginning of the modern age (demonstrated by Kant and his "starry heavens above me and the moral law within me"). If the moral law within (identified in Christian terms) in no way reflects the universal "starry heavens above", but is something essentially private, then how much greater is the chasm between private moral laws of a European and private moral laws of an Arab. Religion having been whittled down to a list of "beliefs", western philosophy of religion further reified religions by trying to compare and contrast lists of "beliefs" as logical statements.
This logical approach was/is flawed in many ways, most of which stem from the language-like nature of religion:
First, languages cannot be compared and contrasted so easily - is French a deficient language since there is no equivalent to the English word "mind"? Or are both French and English deficient because they lack the gradations of "white" that exist in Inuit languages? Or do they simply approach the same reality from a different perspective?
Second, languages do not rise in opposition to each other but in relation to a historical context. Again, French didn't create a concept "sympathique" simply to taunt the English lack of such a word, nor as a critique of the German nuances to the word - they developed the concept out of their own experience. Likewise, Gautama didn't formulate the Four Noble Truths as a reaction to Moses or Jesus, but as an insight into his lived experience. Jesus wasn't founding a religion in opposition to druids on the other side of the world, but was sharing a vision among his own people.
So, my first answer to confusion over my Buddheo-Catholic-Druid self is answered in terms of language - I'm a religious polyglot. I work comfortably within a number of religious milieus.
My second answer has to do with culture and religion ( Collapse )
I've been reading a bit off and on - Meister Eckhart, EF Schumacher, Carl Sagan, Marxy Marx, Hugh Prather. Been interested in BookCrossing - got a few books labelled and ready to release.
Thought of the day:
"I try to speak of letting go and that human beings should become unwed from themselves and from all things ... the extent that creatures gifted with reason go out from themselves in all that they do, to that same extent they go into themselves."
Finding my place in the history of the world, my need for an afterlife diminished. I felt a certain kinship with the land, and that there was a part of me that was as old as stone. When the earth began, I began. When/if the universe collapses into a singularity, I end, too. Of course, if I'm graced with an afterlife, I won't complain, but the meaning inherent in my life is not contigent upon an immortal soul.
My favorite poem then, one of the gifts from literature class, was Thanatopsis.
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Along the way, I remembered something I read in an essay by David Brin regarding the genre of science fiction. SOooooo, I jumped over to Brin-world and got sucked into reading more of his essays - some very good stuff - and I promptly lost all desire to finish my witty retort to SoundBite. Just a few words tonight that resonated with me and I'm going to bed:
In his article (written after the 2004 election) The Real Culture War, he points to the inadequacy of the left-right axis in discussing political options and shows how it lumps together people who would otherwise be at odds and divides people who could otherwise reach agreement. To him, the divide is really about modernity, which he categorizes as modernists vs. romantics (which I disagree with the firm distinction). Anyway, the piece I liked the most (so far):
"Alas, people who identify themselves on the left will seldom recognize authoritarian tendencies in paternalistic tolerance-police. Conservatives won't see that corporate power is a temptation all-too readily abused. And libertarians seem incapable of recognizing that more markets, throughout history, were ruined by aristocratic cheaters than ever were by socialists."
Agreed. Authoritarianism in any paternalistic guise bothers me more than conservatism; there is just a preponderance of authoritarians who identify as "conservative" and paternalism is sometimes harder to see.