Monday, July 26, 2010

from this lunar season

drenched in liminality
Hidden in my lonely pocket, yearning for a kindly hand to lift me, I grieve. Today I reach for the stars. Touch tongue to endless light. I expand radiant, unattached, at one
Can you look at your moment to moment and laugh with the cosmic humor of trying to make it happen faster?  It can take a very long time, all that resistance to serious change. We get used to thinking of how it should be, what is expected, looking to improve to be better. It can be the hardest thing to accept, smile, smell the ambient air, taste the moment, and enjoy the dance. Not saying I’ve got it anywhere near down. Just, you know, bit by bit, easing the attention from some goal or guilt to simply feeling into a gentler frame.
 If we can go beyond the everyday conditioning and experience reality directly, we discover that ALL is a state of bliss. We can move into that place any and all times, or not, as our individual consciousness feels directed (or our mind allows). This is the essence of all of the great spiritual teachings. It is what many traditions have named "God" or "God consciousness".  When we understand "God" not as some big old guy in the sky, but as essence, this is the essence we are heir to for the price of simply becoming aware.
It is easier to explain in poetry; but it seems people are afraid of poetry as well as bliss.
Isn't that the point, to be self-aware physical manifestation rather than merely undifferentiated merging molecules? Isn't it a dance, a story, poetry, philosophy, love, compassion, all the "virtues" and "arts" that we discover, immerse in, enjoy, carry forward, learn to share?
People get so caught up in their own mythologies that they miss the actual point of trying to have better lives.
It would seem that what was "wanted" is "happiness" -- any intermediate desire being merely on the way. Change? Of course -- otherwise how would we ever get to a state of acquisition of what was previously "wanted"? Or, then, we could realize that happiness or that which we thought would bring it are not the true desire. So wanting helps us move along the continuum to find our true desire. Is that suffering? Perhaps. But then, suffering is a signal to tell us that something is not appropriately balanced. Suffering too is our ally. Enjoy the ride.
The root cause of pain is imbalance within a system thus that it is unable to function optimally.
Suffering is not punishment. It may lead to compassion, or not. Suffering is a warning, a signal, a siren, telling us that we are inappropriately out of balance. The sane response is to figure out what is "wrong" and how to create a new balance.
I feel we are all insulted by the myth of happy childhood. Childhood is not meant to be some fantasy playland. Children are not pre-adults. At all ages we are people, learning how to survive until survival is no longer an option. Parents, "professionals" too are (just?) people, struggling along. We would do better, I believe, to be honest with the young among us, as well as more generally.
There are ever so much better therapies than drugs for depression. Mindful meditation is found to be quite effective in many cases, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapies and Expressive Therapies. Spontaneous remission happens all the time, especially when the system hasn't been confused or compromised with pharmaceuticals.
depression is another of those catch-all we don't know what's wrong with you so it must be all in your mind diagnoses. I am lately theorizing that "depression" is a symptom of mind/body/spirit issues that cause chronic pain.
War is often said to be about acquiring resources, or even domination.  Yet, this is not really the result.  War is to improve the species, both by culling the less fit or less fortunate and hybridization.  War is ideally fought between strong adversaries of different kin groups.  In the process there is cross-fertilization, biological and cultural.  Through this interchange, new people, new ideas, new vigor, comes in to replace the old destroyed in battle.  Kind of a Hegelian dialectic played out in large and small, on the battlefield and the whorehouses and the conquered and conquerors commingling in the everyday. 
Then there is the warrior as a biological class -- young, aggressive, physically strong, mentally trainable, culturally arrogant, seeking honor through battle.  Like young male cats in the jungle, they need to be sent out from the tribe to trouble the enemy.
So now I come to jail.  Yeah, yeah, get the criminals off the streets and punish them for their crimes.  Also, though, getting the losers out of the mainstream gene pool.  Those with clout, with privilege class or usefulness to the privileged can generally get out of serving time for their crimes.  Those who commit no crime, but don't have the means to fight back against "law enforcement" get rounded up and warehoused.  Off the streets, segregated from reproductive sex.  No wonder we want longer sentences, though really we only need them locked up until they age enough to be mostly weak and unappealing.
Of course these are institutions that could, with modern reason, be usurped for much more socially useful means of dealing with improving the species, as a species.  The current overpopulation situation makes it harder to deal with all the social problems that keep people down, losers or fighters, or enforcers of control.  However, population growing mindsets based on times when the species really needed to grow, was beset by so many dangers, needed to arrogantly take a stand and take over more resources to feed more warriors to keep each kin group in the race scrambling to move into better position for stronger chances of survival, are no longer useful for survival of the species or the individual groups.  Lifestyle choices that preclude or limit reproduction in favor of other uses of individual time and resources are becoming more and more the norm.  Aggressive youth can be channeled into sport, metaphoric warfare, or high risk/high adrenalin professions and pastimes.  Maybe it will all work out over evolutionary time.
People don't get the realities of "economics". Economists tend to see human behavior in terms of gain/loss, mathematical thinking. Most people don't act or think in these terms.
We can't save our way out of the debt -- the only way out is up, growth. To borrow to make short term expenditures for long term profit is a concept anyone with business sense or experience is presumed to understand. In fact, don't the news stories keep saying businesses are having trouble in keeping up with demand because they can't get the credit they need for payroll and supplies?
The problem is, you who see it as "capitalist free enterprise" or "socialist gulags". Ideology is not reality. There is no good reason to not have a mixed economy, including sensible regulations and sensible public services not based on profit while allowing for a reasonably open marketplace.
We really need to develop different attitudes and ideas about work, pay, business generally. With all these unemployed from all kinds of jobs, with all kinds of skills, we ought to be able to get people of appropriate skill sets together to form our own worker/community run businesses to provide goods and services that would serve our good best.

For all the apologists for the wealthy, advocates of detaxation of the upper class, trickle down enthusiasts, how about this: Get a campaign going to encourage everyone who is now doing quite well to donate gift cards from all manner of businesses that serve the general public, and most especially those of limited means, as incentives to lower income or unemployed people to buy what they need at great discounts.
I hesitate to hope what we see playing out now is the birthing of the synthesis created from opposing understandings of what this country symbolizes, what "freedom" really means.
It's pretty much like anywhere: those who follow the party line and get what they can from the party; those who use the hall for their own and each other's amusement, enlightenment, alternative much hipper and funner partying; those who sit at the bar and complain; those who sit at the bar and writer furiously on cocktail napkins; those who sit at the bar and watch the floor show; ?
boogeydemons of dreams follow through find us in the shadows despite daylight hold us to their breasts and demand penance for all our grievous indiscretions. Listen to the warnings of the night, but with caveat -- there is so much more to what we are than what we're not.
We obviously are a society that condones, celebrates, enjoys, and employs drug use.  There is a big mixed message.  Law in general is much too complicated to be a means of making a clear message.  If we had sane laws, based on getting along together, locking up those who commit acts of violence until they prove it would be safe to let them back on our common ground, giving assurance to those ill-treated that restitution would be made, that kind of thing, we could have an intelligent discussion about law.  In too many instances laws are used as bludgeons against those not in favor by those in charge.
The drug wars are not about people (anywhere) consuming drugs. What drug wars do you see between Merck and Phizer? between Johnny Walker and Glenlivet? Between R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris? The drug wars are, like the booze wars in the 20s and 30s in the US, about prohibition. They are about evil law lords v. evil drug lords. They are about telling people what we can't do with our own lives, how to medicate for pain (so they make the most profit, side effects be damned), how to divide us into "us" who would never do illegal drugs, and "them" dirty degenerates who don't care about anything but getting high.  Every time you stand up against drug legalization you are giving aid and comfort and mega-bucks to the enemy.
Anyone with any sense (apparently not researches with a bias) understands that the "gateway" phenomenon is one of people becoming acquainted with the black market general drug trade through using a black market drug. I have seen studies in which it was shown that the gateway drug for teenagers was (in different times/places) beer or tobacco cigarettes -- which were legally acceptable for adults, but not teens. Over the recent past I have heard repeatedly that kids on prescribed psychopharmaceuticals tend to try out each other's drugs, and move on to further drug experimentation and use. I used to have a friend who liked to do comedy impressions of tv ads for over the counter medications, explaining how we were being programmed to pop a pill at any discomfort. The true gateway to drugs is our drug dependent culture. We really do need to stop kidding ourselves and see through the drug-induced haze we have created.
When drugs were legal, used in patent medicines, available to any and all in this country, there were a small percentage of people who became addicted or otherwise suffered adverse effects. There was no funding of terrorism from huge drug profits or gangs of murderous profiteers. Often those who were addicted could still lead basically normal and productive lives. There is always a small percentage of people whom, for whatever reasons of nature and nurture (or lack thereof) become helpless, hopeless wastoids -- on drugs or off. Of course there are often impurities or unknown dosage issues in street drugs that add significantly to the danger of fatal events. If we were a sane society, we would legalize, regulate, tax, and open the market to a vast variety rehab modalities.
Taking drugs may well say "I am interested in finding out what this experience will tell me." or, probably most often "I am uncomfortable and would like to feel differently for awhile." Taking a drug for a purpose in a specific time/space is not rejecting any "consciousness". It is only when we have a desperate perceived need to reject our own natural being (or temporary situational but perceived as natural responses) or "find enlightenment" that any of your "subtle point" obtains. Thus, it is not use of drugs, but misuse in desperation that is of concern in this context. This, of course, can be said of any of those habituations we immerse in to avoid our selves, or what we mistakenly believe ourselves to be.
Feeling on the edge gives me incentive to explore the ideas that inform my writing. For those who have studied astrologize, my chart is very heavily Cardinal. I seem to usually be moving ahead of myself. It is quite uncomfortable, so I find comfort in idea exploration. My writing often starts out as notes to my self in a kind of poetic shorthand.
Religion is not just specific creeds, but the whole wonderment and the stories to explain and give us something more than the material realm.
Humans do not have to be "special" in some cosmic sense. We are special because we are us. We ought to be special to ourselves, or how are we do transcend our pettinesses?
So, the old, half-blind, arthritic, or young mother, or honor student scared of gangs in the neighborhood is going to what? Hold off a gang with a because legal somehow super gun?  My point is that having a gun in such a situation is false security. It won't help. It may well exacerbate a situation. No, I am not counting on police. I am saying that without the false security of a gun, people might find real security in acting together, or learning the various tricks of staying out of harm's way, or finding long-term solutions to complicated issues.
Perhaps the very violence of violent revolution reduces the impact in terms of creating a more benevolent system. When the people can be persuaded of the benefit to them of systemic change, when there is a real plan with dedicated leadership, there is a greater chance that the change will be meaningful.
To be the change, we need to start somewhere. Once we experience the transformation within the context of our own lives, we are better able to spread the seed.
Judge Andrew Napolitano was recently interviewed by Ralph Nader on C-SPAN. The judge, an avowed libertarian, admitted that though many libertarians think the law has no place in the abortion issue, he sees it as classic protection of the rights of the innocent which is a primary directive for the kind of government he would approve. I can understand and applaud his reasoning, while not agreeing with him. Yes, protection of the rights of the people is an ideal directive for governmental controls, rules of law, peace officers who actually protect; but this is not even close to the government we have. Even if it were, there would be a clear conflict of interests involved -- not just the interest of the innocent fetus, but the interest of the woman who needs to be seen as much more than a biological incubator. This is not the classic protection of the innocent from the powerful, but really (no matter your position on religion) interfering with a sacred relationship. Because of the nature of mammalian biology, we have a newly forming creature growing within the body of a more mature creature of its kind. When that relationship is desired by the mother, it is wonderful and fulfilling. When that relationship is not desired, it is horrendous, nightmarish. Then, of course, there are the situations when the pregnancy is actually dangerous to the health of the mother, when she has to choose, or to the health and well-being of her other children, or when the fetus is malformed to the point of surviving, if it does, in a horrendous nightmarish state which the mother would need to endure with the child. These are not the kinds of choices that government should have to make. These are issues much too personal to belong to the impersonal state.
I have no argument with teaching responsibility. I have no argument with honoring life. My point is these are not issues appropriately adjudicated by government. These issues are far too personal.
We culturally pretend that marriage is about love, a spiritual endeavor, rather than a rationally negotiated contract. Society does have an interest in parents negotiating to create a family bond within which to raise children. Meanwhile, immature or otherwise emotionally needy people have an interest (though perhaps a less than rational one) in creating a cage in which to hold a promise of love.
SCJ Louis Brandeis famously espoused that the cure for bad speech is more speech. Yes, protest the false stories, make noise, make more speech. Let those who lie or misapply or simply don't understand make their case, then you make yours, we make ours, he/she/it make theirs -- somewhere along the line if we are all very lucky communication will occur.
My problem with "science" is that it is so often wrong -- not a good track record for what is claimed to be objective truth.
Never argue with a bigot. It does no good; and it makes the bigot mad.
Cast opening eyes into vast days,
All that is to be, brightly arrayed
as grand parades
All possibilities,
waiting to be played
as you are ready

Sunday, July 4, 2010

8o's legacy (happy Independence)

Don't blame the GWB administration, it was Reagan and his merry crew.
Though we protested in the post-Vietnam 70's 
hot and sure about every error 
the point is, we had that luxury. Yes, there was hardship, 
individual need; but really no one need go hungry 
for lack of a job, there was real community 
spirit, especially on the lower rungs, but philanthropy as well. 
There was a strong foundation that made sense 
and could be reasoned with. 
The 80's brought in a different worldview, 
more wide and wild. Days of cocaine, 
champagne, glamour and celebration for sweet deregulation, 
when every dreamer 
could believe the capitalist vision of wealth unbound. 
Before it was found that 
poisonous as plutonium in the gleeful arms of the truly greedy, 
just what we 
were free to become. 
Since then it's been spinning our balance to bits of 
blast-warped brains. 
Such unbridled hatred and spitting disdain. Psychic 
Cassandras said at the time, his numbers are 666. 
A man possessed by 
Hollywood fantasies of what we all should be, 
folie a deux with the nation. 
And here are those snowy yesteryears roosting 
in our rafters, laying out 
the macabre future of their disaffected dreams. 
Who are we, really? 
Distanced from our history, 
believing convenient lies, what are our chances 
for recovery?
July 4, 2010


Q & A
I need you, out there,
to ask the questions,
feed my liminal factory --
imaginal machinery set to
engineer exquisite ideas
in shrink-wrapped phrases.
Tell me your shame-held
secrets, fears that track you
in the night.
Let me meld them with
trenchant fairytales,
legends that recapitulate
on cable news, vibrant stylings
of the Blues,
surreal cartoons rendered by
Nietzschean travails.
Let me take this mess,
sprinkle with inchoate memories,
bake well at near 99 degrees
until the odor overtakes the air.
Now, open wide and taste
enchantment, if your questions
and my answers
meet and satisfy
each other's needs.
July 4, 2010