Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is Context Really Everything? (for perversion it is)

Actually, I think it is! Now, the other day's post got all Googled up somehow, with too much html tagging that I don't want to wade through. It's what wrong with computing. That somehow when we make it all too brain dead simple, it goes all wonky underneath.

I'd thought I understood my brother-in-law's sin. That it was the incest. The transgression of forbidden boundaries. Pure and simple. 

But I spent some time with an old and much more literate than me friend. It was one of these conversations when you wish you might somehow take notes. I remembered being there before, in his space of erudition and revelation, and despaired even in the moment that I would be able to recapture it on my own. 

I never can, or maybe it's just the beer we drink together, and that wherever that particular perversion sends me I can't make it back alone? Who knows.

But this old friend maintains that when he, as a child, gave priests blowjobs (or did he let them give it to him?  See, I never can quite remember) it was because he wanted to, and they were known as sure and risk free marks. And he finds nothing wrong at all with his "idyllic" childhood, nor, and I guess he's looked quite hard, any possibilty for actual perversion in life as it could be lived. 

I don't think he's denying crime. He might be denying sin. It's easy for us both to agree that my brother in law belongs in jail, but not exactly why.  Deterrent? No, I don't think so. Punishment? It's not sufficient. To get him out of commerce is what I'd likely think, but I'll have to revisit that one later, in more fullness of time (as if!).

Anyhow, back in my own thoughts now, and a little bit less dizzy, I do find one corrective which fits. It's not the boundary crossing, exactly, quite so much as it is the context which sharpens the transgression, and makes the boundary clear. I confess that I have an impossible time imagining any circumstance where the father/daughter boundary would be OK to cross, but are there other cultures where it might be? Dunno!

In this case, what her testimony revealed was that it was his way of self-righteousness which needed correcting. That without that, the transgression could have been resisted, she felt, because, I guess, it would have been so self-evidently wrong. It would seem he convinced himself too, that what he did was covered, somehow perversely by its absence, in the Bible.

And I hardly can avoid the irony - he is a Creationist - that this also is the error still among evolutioninsts. My friend - it won't shock you that he harbors mild racist tendancies - himself in all his way better read than me brilliance, still, I think, doesn't get how evolution works. 

It's not the boundary between the gifted and mutated for better survival individual and the rest of his crowd which counts. This gift for better survival has to get assimilated back by reproductive sex into that selfsame group. And it's the group's better survivability which over longish time which defines new species, as environmental boundaries get sharpened to some new niche. Which finally leaves out by genetic misfit, wayward one-time members who want to screw back in.

Now that's a mystery worth scientifically working on, and I'm certain there are fascinating books to read (I'll get right on it!). Not my field or niche for sure, but I'm confident enough that I've got the outline right. Better survivability has got to be screwed back in or its just irrelevant. And by very definition - that the offspring are not only better adapted for survival as adults, but also for survival through the grueling reproductive process (which is where the real winnowing gets done) - this survivability becomes exclusive.

Perverse sex is just non-productive sex, but there's no sin to it. Hell, it might be the opposite, as creative practice play must be part of life. It's surely part of growing up! Who even knows what might prove productive (or does fucking monkeys always and only suggest AIDS)?

So, it is appalling when some smooth talking sociopath gets away with stuff. Like that salesman in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, who somehow can't resist the dolled up wailing jilted lover he meets coming last one off the plane. She awake that promised lover was leading her on. He sincere in comforting her in such extremis (how could he not?), but also sincerely moved by her dolling up so sexy for the lying scoundrel lover. One thing leads to another, and the only thing, really, you can blame him for is telling about it. Or is that what exhonerates him?


I don't know. This here transgression now, writing about family and friends. Does that make my own identity forever dicey? Some fictions must be kept?

Or is it more, as my friend and interlocutor did urge, that the real sin is the keeping within ourselves the truth. The hiding. The pretending to more than what we are. It feels dicey, for sure. It is appalling.

And so, the mob, in evolutionary terms, need not cruelly reject any interlopers. Nature does it for them. So, who imitates what when we reject those who don't fit in? My favorite sophomoric question still. A school for gifted kind of thrill, where my friend and I both did teach (he still nurses anger for what I did when elevated, like by his instigation, to become his boss. I disagreed! But it was my role to take those hits, and did so.)

But certainly we must reserve jail for those who harm us, and never those who merely offend. I care not a whit for deterrence or penal theory. I just think away and gone is good, and for enough time to think about it and to come to terms. I favor country club prisons myself, and I'll bet they're cheaper in the long run, just simply because coming to terms would be that much more likely, but I'll save that breath for another time.

In this time here, I simply want to say that it's the bombast which makes him guilty (me too?). It's the proclaiming as knowledge what you can't know. As truth what you've never trued. As God what you could never, as judging by your actions, could ever have experienced. And if you did, then stop protesting so much too much already, and get on with doing something about it.

My daughter helped start a chapter at her college, of Students for a Free Tibet.  She actually used it as an excuse for why she doesn't write me! But she let me in to witness part of one gathering, where the members and interested people were way outnumbered by motivated elite Chinese overseas students, who were there to protest and to correct distortions to their government's fine record.

I was and am appalled. These students should at least know that they aren't allowed to know better. Somehow, even after time in this country, I guess, but then the language barrier is huge, I know, they've managed to keep intact the internal censorship their government imposes (yes, I still harbor much resentment for those who help Chinese Googling that way).

I take cold comfort that this will prove an evolutionary dead end for their country. This much I know; that you can't constrict free creativity without destroying survivability.

Oh hell, I know those naive American students are still more stifled by their own mediated understandings of China, as concocted by now near dead MSM for their own, the students', patriotic indigestion. I know there are distortions to and fro, and that religion also manages to make it into the equation for some likely conspiratorial conversion process. 

After all, the Dalai Lama is on the side of true religionists everywhere. And the Chinese on the side of rational science and progress. But how can patriotic fervor so trump independent thought. I know, I know, we do it here at home all the time. Still!!

So, this much is clear (and then I have to get dressed, take a shower, and compose my thoughts for announcing today to all the quarterly gathered executive directors whom I endeavor to serve, that I'll be moving on, perversely in these economic Hard Times.): That we will destroy our national survivability to the extent that we allow capitalist excess to distort the news and feed us pablum digestible shit.  That to the extent that we allow the ascension of religionists to positions of any secular power, we'll sin against mankind. That to the extent the Chinese manage to continue to quiet all dissent, they'll hand back to us all advantage.

This much is clear.

But also that horse breeding, and people breeding for that matter, have very little to nothing at all to do with evolution. That this bizarre supposition that there is or ever could be any racial priority on some evolutionary scale is not only harmful but perverse as well. That any thought that intellectual giftedness must be nurtured for its survival value is itself a Nazi offshoot (though I'm thinking seriously of a valiant attempt to resurrect my old school - it would make a good last ditch - in service, always and only, to those poor kids themselves, and I might just shill the shameless tout about their otherwise lost utility just to get the funding. But I might not. I still think basic research should have it's own claim to funding dollars, and literary and queer studies too for that matter, so there!)

Motivated research, just like guided evolution, is always and only a road to nowhere. Barbaro legs. Beauty is always and only ever a surprise. Truth too. 

There need be no laws against cloning, I declare. It's just too God Damned boring to worry about. I hope and trust.

I am so fucking sick and tired of bombast. My own too! There has to be grace to be found somewhere. I pray.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nothing at all to say today

So, what do you mean I just shouldn't say it? Should, you mean? Nothing at all.
I started Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and it's just too painful to read. (someone just told me my blog is just too painful to read). But knowing the ending and all. 

I just put actual information in my "profile".  Who knows why. I guess I'm trying to resolve my life. To get it together. To find something to do now which allows full disclosure, even if it doesn't pay so well. I guess I might still go to jail if I don't pay those child support bills, but at least now it's more between my daughter and me, since she can vote if not, absurdly, drink. And her Mom doesn't exactly need the money. 

But I wonder what I'll do without the necessity for doing it? I guess I'll just have to find a way to do what's needs doing in the world. Like most of you (who am I writing to anyhow?) I find scant time to peruse this brave new blogosphere, but when I do it's hard not to be struck by how earnestly folks want to help to make things better. 

The world is camping out now, it would seem, between the Bible Word and all the rest. Along with newspapers seem to die all the bloviated main-stream apologies for how things have to be. It's striking, or maybe it's just my random sample error, how few people dare to voice what angry syndicated voices blare. Most are so much more quietly insistent on things like urban sustainability, corrections to public idiocy,and filling out their daytime jobs with the passion which must get left behind at home.

How can this not be hopeful? Even the misguided angry voices represent energy which can and should and must be turned, by some deft jujitsu redirecting, toward our common good. I would be angry too, to hold on to what I've got, especially if I felt hoodwinked that it's all been undermined. I'd engage in wild conspiracy theorizing too if I didn't understand all too well what's really going on. Not understand. I'm no genius. But it's so transparently obvious.

I guess that it's no mystery why passions simmer unresolved, and marches on Washington will never quite approach that recent celebration of what so many could agree was a very good thing indeed. But there seems a passion bubbling more quietly here. That might yet be resolved to action.

I think it scares me, maybe even most because the Jesus' Word attached will be so loathe to let it go. They'll see it as some end in time, and want to spin it their way. A jilted lover, they won't be able to release their grief that Jesus never did or would return for them, despite their certainty. That hanging on to literal truth cost them the ticket to revelation that he could already be there within, and wanted only to release their own true earnest humanity.

I fear these Creationist types who are blinded to evolution's marvels, still carrying on in full glory right before their eyes. I fear the denial of science and its collective rendering of what we must agree upon (that is what science is). I fear that, jilted, they'll go after anything that moves.

. . . just as much as I fear the closing off of heart by head among those who mistake the loud religionists for the more truly open. The baby thrown out with bathwater (an oh too literal rendering of that figure) as inevitable conclusion to looking back across our history. That each one of us could be that alone, and want it. 

Because that is a misreading of both how evolution works and how religion doesn't (vice versa?). 

So, tentatively now, I want to learn how to proclaim this obvious truing, without loosing atomic disappointment on the world. We want so much to be our very own selves, and loved for that alone. Even when there is so much more comfort in the obverse (I struggle with logical terms):That there is always a sea of love in which to dissolve, full stop (I long for the secretary I once did have - it guaranteed the punctuation, spelling, and productivity so much more than does this infernal technology).

That there is truly nothing more to be discovered. Invented surely, for transforming this natural life into something monstrous of our own creation in blatant competition with our God. It will be sad to lose my mother. 

So, scientifically now, it's all just politics. I refer only to basic science, of course. In the world of its application, the sky's the limit. But we do now have real choice for the first time in a long long while. 

I mean simply this. That the time is gone when we could attribute inevitability to our own reaction to what we thought we'd discovered in the wild. That same inevitability we'd thought was "progress" and that we misidentified with Time's Arrow through evolution. There is no direction to these moves, or if there is, it surely isn't domination which represents its end. Well, except literally.

There is a different mapping for our moves, which can't be gotten experimentally or by expedition. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009


That's me. But, who knows, maybe I'm changing my mind? As far as I can remember, I've never won even a raffle prize in my life, and frankly I've always held onto those tickets with dread that I might have to walk up and take the booty.  I don't know where that cringing comes from, but there it is. But I'm also never quite able to throw the ticket out and walk away from the possibility that I might just win. I also confess that I actually bought a lottery ticket. Once. Some weird sense that this number just kept coming up. Embarrassing. 

But I do root against myself.

Yesterday, when I told the two guys who work on my team that I would be leaving my job, I was extremely touched that they were actually stunned. I guess it meant that I hadn't let my burnout show all that much. And their own genuine sense of loss turned to congratulations as they realized what I would be turning away from, and toward. I was focused on what I would be turning toward (although I do tend to gauge my jobs according to how much I don't hate them). I have a sense of brave new worlds. I do.

They sweetly bought me lunch at an extravagantly upscale castle - we ate outdoors overlooking a springtime hazy Finger Lake. We laughed a lot and hoped the folks inside couldn't overhear the jokes (we guessed the maitresse di suggested the terrace table, where we would be alone in the slight chill, based on our IT uniforms - you know the style, engineer plaid and dull).

So, as I plan for a menial job supporting a menial life, there come these little glimpses out of some rear quarter to my awareness. That I am extraordinarily well deep-background-briefed on China. That I am extremely high-level qualified and field proven to make sound decisions surrounding Information Technologies. That I am as free as a newly graduated 21 year old. Why not something that feels more like success?

I guess there is some inner conviction against it. But looking back, I haven't done so badly. It's as if by accident I couldn't quite crash and burn too hard. That there's some sense of balance which keeps me upright. Even against my career cluelessness.

So, on the negative, if I were to gun for six figures and a travelling life, I think it would feel like a wedding to a settling bride. I just don't want marriage that much. I sure can and do live without that sort of intimacy, and won't bargain away much to get it. And the easy life just isn't enough of a draw, no matter how sad I am at the prospect to leave behind all my dark overstuffed bookshelves and leather woodfired cozy reading spots. I mean it really makes me sad, but not enough. 

Those who know and work with me see much brighter prospects for my future than I do. They see me as geared toward success; where I see myself as resourceful, diligent, persistent and hardworking in whatever situation I find myself, but never in a situation I've made for myself or that could be called winning. I make the best of where I am is all, and keep the dreams in check. I wouldn't know success if it bit me in the ass. 

And yet, to my amazement, out from the detritus of my life's shambles, I still do retain this missionary contribution I wish to make, which I've now hung back a full "life at 50" span waiting for someone else to come forward to announce. No one's done it, hell and damnation, and so, for crying out loud! its still up to me. It makes no sense. I'm still holding that ticket.

While I might actually have six figure skills, I have nothing left of youthful deftness which so glibly sets out to "save the world". I have no well-disciplined accomplishment, which I certainly should have by now. I have never had anything close to the assured talent to devote any real commitment to developing it. And yet, here I am holding this ticket.

For Crying Out Loud!

Maybe I should play some political card. I've just now finished - finally! since I spend way too much time writing (for therapy, dear senseless reader) - Hot Flat and Crowded. I'm glad that he agrees it's all about politics and leadership. As you know, I'm super glad we've got a remarkable combination of both in our new Prez. Watching him prepare for this was like watching Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron. This was no accidental coming forth of talent search stardom. Obama worked for what he got, and is certainly of the right stuff to lead.

But what he needs most is pressure from the bottom; from you and me. So my political card, or ticket if you will, involves that thing Edward O. Wilson attributes to ants and denies us humans. Community intelligence. I'm not all that big on worker bees and queens, but hell people do have different roles to play. We sure don't want any more Bush's at the helm. (although I guess you have to credit him with carving out the territory for someone better to exploit). 

What I object to is the branding of kids in school, as if there is some deficiency in worth for being less than superstar quality. And likewise getting branded superstar so that you can crash and burn on your way toward the one or two lottery spots you'll never get (a boss I had actually did win the win for life and every other raffle he ever entered, so unlike me!).

What's important is not to fan the flames Limbaugh style, of the lower energies in each of us. This "Hussein" baiting which could easily have cost the presidency, if our guy weren't so steeled against it. To move instead our higher instincts, to fan our aspirations instead of fears. This is the highest calling, and mobs respond the same either way. "I have a dream" works just as well as "nuke the ragheads" or "they want to clone your kids, and teach buggery in school." We all respond to shame. The internet's good at exposure.

Maybe the internet's good, or could be, at mobilizing mass movements. There twitter now, and facebook, which seem to work at getting crowds located. But there still has to be some motivation. Not fear, but dreams of better tomorrows.

I'm not so scared of changing our Constitution. Maybe it's time for that? Some way to stop the gerrymandering of votes. Some way to block the blocks against national resolve short of war, or its metaphoric misappropriation in goon squad paramilitary encroachments against the body politic. Some way that corporate legal persons can be blocked from other only metaphoric "free speech" expressions that trump those of the rest of us, to where lobby triangulation is strangulation of any sensible direction good leaders might lead toward.

Or maybe it's not even necessary? Maybe the tools already exist, just waiting for that bell to ring, which announces simply, hey look at this. Try it at home. It's simple. It's true. It can be virally spread and then it can't be stopped.

It's risky enough, this leap into some void. And the only prediction that gets fulfilled is the one you measure inwardly. There is a kind of certainty to love, which trumps the one of hate each and every time. You know it. Each and every one of you.

It's not the Jesus tale, exactly. That God, so very abstract, must be a Man. I'm talking gender here. To call Him Her is not only just plain silly, it gives the game away to hate and fear and silliness. She would never be that abstract justice oriented. No, Mama is way more earthy, and is just now getting up to dance. Her beat rocks. This love is here on earth, where Jesus has already descended, to each and every heart. Incubus. Awake. (gotta run)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My whole blog wins this contest hands down. I am at a kind of negative intersection; a definite crossroads of sorts. I'm swearing off any more grey dull life in service to my obligations. I've sworn off romance, although I'll forgive you if you think it beat me to the punch. I'm jumping off the metaphorical cliff, without any parachute for sure, of any particular color

I think selling yourself makes you a commodity, and I'm not willing. I think chasing after authenticity makes you ever more exactly like everyone else. Hell, I think tattoos are branding, in the original sense of that term. 

But I'm a crank, and there's nothing wrong with selling if there's something there on offer. Tatoos look really cool on lots of folks, and even body piercings. And authentic actually works when you make it off someone else's brand. I'm just not that guy.

And there is love. There is good style and bad (I'd look really stupid with a tattoo, not to mention piercings). There is definitely love. There is always work that is worth doing. But it's really hard to know when fear is your ground zero, and passion is what's in check. When responsibility is an excuse to be lazy. When your hormones are guiding your actions. Who your real friends are and aren't. Who you're willing to spend your life on, and who you're not.

“That place where work, love, and life all meet and you wonder, where the hell do I go from here?” I think it's all about learning where the good and proper boundaries are. And then you check for passion's true direction and you let go go go.  That's a lifetime's work right there.

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Resurrections, in anticipation of Spring or How About Atonement?

Well, not exactly that. It's just that I mistakenly thought that my old car was dead . That my fish was dead. That I myself was dead. I'm so used to being right about these things. Of course, I am - just that the timing is off is all, or we're all just zombies! (Why must the cat scratch at my window? I know I fed them. Wanting love is all. So sorry kitties. No room for you here inside just yet)

I just drove South and back, unwittingly chasing after the Spring, and then retreating again. I needed to touch base with my daughter - to make sure she understands that I'm having to move out from Daddy space and back into where I left off when I became, somewhat disastrously, married. I guess I'd wanted the car to die, so that I didn't have to worry about her driving it alone. I'd wanted the fish to die so that I don't have to be encumbered when I move out and away. I'd wanted to die myself, at least judging by my red meat wine behavior.

I'd come out from my cocoon then - I'd been living on my old sailboat, as you might discover if you have the fortitude to read into this space - and thought I had my moment of Eureka and that life would take off forever from that point. I followed that bliss through disappointments with making any contact, and then through falling in love toward marriage. I must have even known it was some dangerous diversion and that some trusted friend should have lashed me to the mast. I wanted too much in to normal living. I'm a failure there.

I was quite beside myself, whatever that might mean. It was a Catholic and Protestant celebration both - reconciliation in Christ's Name - and though I often would like to blame the ex for sapping all my spirit, I also have to credit her with powering what confidence I needed to take on career, as teacher catapulted to Headmaster then on to flameout in the last Great Recession of the '80s (let's just blame it on that, shall we?).

It must be Mom within I complain about, who is ever present to be hurt by all my moves away from earthly success. But who supports me unconditionally even when I'm far far less than honorable. I've been nurturing my inner geek all these years, seething that I am indentured thus. It has only ever been my own shortfall in courage, as I rationalize that I'm doing the right thing.

Now, I break away again, and just as unlikely to succeed in whatever it is that I'm about when I'm not beside myself. This is just me now, and I have no more stories to outlive. My children will be far less sad, I think, that I keep walking the earth than that I let my spirit wither on its vine. Never plucked. Never squeezed. Never less than fully self-indulgent.

I finally did read my niece's testimony which put her incestuous father in jail. Maybe I needed to be among blossoms and green down South to read it, but I felt no strong emotion beyond mild pride that he's in jail. Patriotic and Christian pride, if I can be allowed to feel such things. That this one time the system worked, and prayer did too, nevermind that I couldn't find very much difference from myself in him. Except for the object of libidinous self projection. We civil servants and greed enablers all suffer the same banally evil instincts. We only want to meet our needs, and are fully justified to do so. It's not our fault that there is no system to resolve these things for all.

I am not terrified, but surely scared to enter out now naked again, without any more means than I had back more toward my daughter's age. But my story has been lived if not told, and no comfort in retirement even beckons. 

I cannot be saddened by this economic meltdown. Air and light have been allowed in to the antibiotic resistant rot which was beneath our surface. Is all. Fear disappears when there are no more choices. When you are in the middle of some storm. When clinging to some liferaft is more instinct than is left, up against a jump into chill water, because at least you know how to swim, and you simply have no will to fight against raw terror. This is nothing noble.

It's all so easy for me. I've never felt that kind of love for my own daughters. I married the woman I lusted after. These things were rote for me. Good job skills. Even when my soul has not been in it. Inwardly and to the side, though, I've acted far far less than honorably. I come out wanting from every test that counts. I guess it's time to make an honest man of me.

Right now I'm really maddened that my simple term "sixth sense" has been expropriated by, what else, the technorati.  Of course it's not my term, but this lust for metadata in our face, without effort even to look it up, cannot expand our consciousness. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm way turned on by these technological advancements. This is what will save our planet and our human species, and I do never wish to minimize their importance. If we can "see" by wearable computing, just what is the ecological "content" of what we buy, then we have the beginnings to expose that pustule now just burst which was the economy of greed. Technology can and does and will true our stories with each other so that the emperor will appear in all his naked glory when he makes his bogus claims for our attention. We'll laugh in shame at ourselves and turn away.

But this is no sixth sense, this metadata exposure. This is common sense, and what was always available for anyone who knows how to read. Who knows how not to project only his own need out onto the neighborhood and world beyond it. I guess these simple skills got lost. I know I've got none of them. I know only how to read, and far far less to write. 

But I must take strength from my strong niece, whose voice is strong enough and clear. Whose awakening is life's full miracle. 

Still, I wish I had my now jailed brother-in-laws non-verbal skills, to build away from civilization and at least attempt a return to something simpler. And why must I dash my finger against the red hot stove just now loading logs? Why so careless? Damn! Ouch!

Our commons now is disappearing. We're each all in for ours. I think there is no "system" quite powerful enough to save us from ourselves. We are that successful. We are that lusty in our scared retreat from nature's embrace, and timid attempts to conquer life's outrages, guided by our God who surely must hold us in His hands.

That's the metaphor internalized now. That fittest survive. Alone. And that we must watch that the antibiotics be downed full course, lest terroristic germs get encouraged. But that we cannot stop, since each must live full out.

I look for the love in life's living instead. Knowing that I am damaged myself and from a damaged line. That there is algorithm in place of emotion in my family's story, even when that uprightness did mean honor against blood and death. Even when that rectitude (an ugly word somehow) masked secret lusts for power or wealth or safety from strong feelings. We're good enough, but limited somehow.

So, of course I must go seeking what others find so simply. That in the eating flesh for flesh there might be love as well. That we are omnivores with choices. That there is tragedy other from death. That even honor might need dying for. And that there is no shame in falling short.

This all in for each has got to stop. We would never do it as a family. Why as a nation now? Why as this family of man?

So, for evolution's sake, I must turn away from technology, which cannot be where it's at. Our stories true each other in their sharing. No fairy tales, these small life histories now can be exposed to their light of day too. New printing presses for longer winded texting. New twitterings in the Spring (I still can't find the time or space to grok that one). 

It's humanity alone can love (or hate). Our triumph over nature is surely only technical, if by that we mean its destruction. Our evolution, though, proceeds apace, far above our heads. Still displaced and beside our hearts. Still bleeding for each other. 'Tis heart that makes us human.

 . . . and another thing. So, I'm insisting that in essence, we get to keep science and get religion too. But in science you have to be able to offer some prediction that can be tested. And I guess believing in Jesus is its own reward. But how do you get those greedy people to stop wanting just to game the system - whatever system we come up with - for their own ample pleasure here on earth. 

You know the Jesus believers are just as likely to go for the glory here and now. Not all of them, for sure, but Weber and some others once did credit the Protestant work ethic for our glorious success. You know that I think that reward deferred to Heaven, or punishment the other way, is just plain silly.

So, what is there to combat what's supposed to be this survival instinct; this run for glory which turns every one of us right on? And right there's the link, for sure. We want and need to screw. Competition is built in. It's what evolution's all about.

Or, at these margins, might there be some other reproductive valorization? Some sappy link to true love as the achievement of success. This right to choose your mate and improve prospects for your family's thriving. Now who will this new global environmental shift squeeze out, if not the ones still battling for their spot in the lifeboat? Could there even be some testable prediction for happiness and better health through following and developing this true sixth sense?

By Jove, I think there might be! But getting these signs right is about as tricky as following Google Maps when you're lost and there aren't any network towers. Because you're lost, and if there were towers you wouldn't be. Still I had to chuckle at all the cars with GPS - as if you could still  get lost that way. Underneath the artificial stars. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back in the Hermitage, making my move . . .

It's taken me a couple of days to recover from the aloneness I felt after wandering over, Sunday, to the St. Patrick's day parade. It smelled as though they had washed the streets in beer! Everyone was jolly and happy in the Sunny chill. I hear it's one of the largest - It took me a full two hours to walk against its grain.

Now, I'm back alone, calmer and happier. Considering next moves. I have no doubt about this moment in history, writ large, but I do have to accept that it's really only a moment in my own personal history. I get no more traction that I did 26 years ago with what I write. I guess it's what those sandwich board guys must have felt along the parade route. "For God so Loved the World . . . " I wonder if even the born-agains walk up and chat the Word with them, or if they are like that political guy on the corner whose eye you can't even catch?

You're not sure if he's bonkers, and his survival technique is all soap-box removed. The Jesus guys are earnest in their reachings out, but who really cares what they have to say? What would be the spark to make it new, other than something that happened, inwardly, to you?

It must be a game of odds. In any crowd, there must be those on the brink of awful revelation. You just want to be there in their face when it comes along, to provide the miracle of awakening. I think it must be a common enough occurrence. It must be how people get saved.

Like falling in love, whose odds can be improved by "going on" Match.com. I wonder where the magic could be, though, when you force it along so. Likely, it was just watching people grabbing each others asses which made me so alone in the crowd. Evicted from that garden, as a superannuated Leonard Cohen might say. Does say.

(They told me on eHarmony that I could not be matched. So it's all just sour grapes from me!)

Here is what I'm certain of, enumerated for your simple and brief perusal:
  • That my conscious self is microcosm, near if not precisely identical in complexity to the entire physical unliving cosmos, and very dim in relation to the living one I'm embedded in.
  • That my own human brightness dims along with every disappeared species, when richness is lost and not, by evolutionary magic, restored in the direction all life has always moved.
  • That consciousness incorporates emotion as a sense of something actually real and not "just" subjective. Call it our sixth sense, a very small part of which is what we know as human feeling. 
  • That writing develops human consciousness, as much as it can mask and destroy that "sixth sense" which once actually did "know" God in person. Rigid Words present a false replacement for God, very like sex for love ironically enough. Earnest writing develops consciousness by binding minds together.
  • That a unitary God presented us, in history, with a direction toward systematic understanding, paradoxically both to banish direct sixth sense direct knowledge, and to approach conscious understanding, as demonstrated by mastery of our environment.
  • That this challenge to God is only as inevitable as our technological "advances", no more and no less. There might be infinitely many other possible stories, but, just like planet earth, this is the one we've got.
  • That technological advances have reached their absolute limit in their contribution toward expanded consciousness (it's the body aspsect of mind alone which gains strength, as virtual reality dims the mind for writing).
  • That there have been only a few signal transitions in our history on the planet, and that these few are the only genuine, so called, Paradigm Shifts.
  • First was the written word, with Christ and other spiritually awakened persons showing up early, at the crossroads out from dim story telling in contact with spiritual reality.
  • Next was the development of the printing press, and movable type in China and in the West. This dethroned the priests (well, at least that process got started), and signalled the start of narrative production as the main form of vulgar literature.
  • Finally, there has been an encounter with the elemental power of our understanding of the physical universe. We have only unleashed its destructive power, in the form of Atomic Bombs, and killer waste.
  • Part and parcel of this past century's bloody advancement has been the next phase of the Gutenberg expansion of consciousness - but this time it's vulgar publishing and not just reading that's been loosed upon the world.
  • Getting here has cost the gift of oil, life's legacy to Consciousness on Earth.
  • Nuclear fusion energy, which I guess is quite possible to harness, will spell our end in plastic Disney incarnation upon a man-formed planet, which our consciouness as microcosm can represent only by a single syllable.
  • Ommmmm
OK, so you've figured out that I'm not a big meditation as a way toward enlightenment freak. I've started down that road too, and like all talented people, it doesn't take that long to recognize a road to nowhere. I'm not a big Jesus-is-the-answer freak. I'm certainly not a big technology will explode shortly and solve all of our problems freak.

I am a freak, for sure. But Hello! Wake Up! It's not all about who has access to how to build a bomb. There is a next step to those equations, when we recognize - I think it is a simple recognition - that the boundary between our mind and what's "out there" is no more firm and solid than the one between species. It's fluid and evolving, always and only in the liminal regions. Along the boundaries. In the muck between ocean and land. Along the equator, up in the trees, on the slender surface of earth mixed with air.

In the mind, skating along the boundaries of sense, informed by what's been written, and by what's happening right here before me, womb with a view. I guess I'm about to turn it off, the view part into my womb. This medium here I'm typing on, shows films which talk back. I'm not sure when I've ever preferred the film version. It doesn't quicken right.

They can be ugly, these vulgar internet vids, like the ones, extremely well produced, which skewer Obama for not being enough different from Bush. Talk about back-handed compliments, as though the world could be turned on a dime, you complain when it hasn't been? Reminds me of the dreary life of a techie. Yes, we do have magic wands, but that's not how they work. The interactions are not even, in principle, understandable beyond a certain complexity. Gut instinct is as valuable as to RTFM. (Read the Fucking Manual).

I think right now, there are far too many words. Most of them, the Lonely Girl, searching for sponsorship by the Networks. I drown among them. It's not worth the effort. This game too has been rigged. Fuck you, you can't even read. Or won't.

(disclaimer - I'll probably be back tomorrow)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

A day or two early, and before the parade, but I did make it out to a nice party last night. Ah Guinness! These are people I only see this once a year, so it makes a nice reality check. I had no chance to tell them all where I was last year and why I didn't make it. But it surely is good to come down to earth and check in with what people more real than me are thinking about these days.

I was truly amazed to hear that houses in the funkier part of Buffalo are being bid up in an economy where real estate value's meltdown is what started this scary tumble. We're all praising God now that we never did take part in that orgy then. Rusted out and the opposite of buff, most all of us.

Folks at the party still talked the same about their kids and projects and excitements with their work. No change as far as I could tell even in this cataclysmic eonomy, among these people that I have known since I was an infant.

Sure, there was one fellow still hanging on at the Ford plant. His tales of HR with boxes, accompanied by security personnel without warning coming at you, and memos from Central Office about "how to deal with difficult social situations (hide under your desk!)" made me think of Nazi death camps. I just can't imagine it has to be this way. So little humanity in the letting go. I guess, as with individuals going off everywhere, there's just too much at risk.

But there might be some waking up - I said might be - to the reality that these really big corporations actually now do stifle innovation more than stimulate it. I'm thinking Microsoft, of course, as an IT guy, but also General Motors, Ford, surely Verizon, Google, and Amazon.com.  I know those last few might surprise you. But these are hidebound massive organizations whose addiction to ever fatter profit, at that scale, just kills us all.

With the car companies, it's easy to see how the logic of short term gain required that they sell more Hummers and light trucks for so long as people craved them, and thus seal their own fate when viewed from the brilliant remove of retrospection. GM killed off it's electric car research, run right near me, where cute little silent cars would stream out at the end of the work day. Even oil companies can't seem to spare any margins for real innovation.

With Microsoft, the editorial Internet is overfull of how many great startups were subsumed into what at best was Microsoft's ecology, but at worst was a giant beast of ownership control and bloat to encourage a bubble of hardware development on the prodding of endless software complexity. Power to the desktop powered most the holder of the patent. As at the beginning with Pennsylvania, it'll take another Franklin to usher in the right rebellion, with publishing still the key.

Now one might expect that this bubble is, like the real estate market, nearly popped. It's easy enough for me to imagine appliances, like Google's Chrome, riding simply on a hypervisor shim. I don't need no stinking OS! And the hardware is just a slight expansion of my smartphone, relegating all the power to data centers "in the cloud". But there's the rub, you'll see!

I suppose that Microsoft can own this back end "cloud", but they seem to be overtaken there by Amazon and Google. Very much like the car companies left with exploding inventories of trucks, Microsoft couldn't help themselves, though their cash position remains infinitely better for now. Still, I'm guessing people are hanging on to their old hardware, in the same way that they are hanging on to their old cars. And clinging to XP for every last ounce that they can get, despite threats to force all Vista and new hardware.

But what then of these cloud companies? Why isn't Google "not evil" and simply just the best? Why shouldn't Verizon reap rewards for its sowing of towers, for so long as I want to talk? What could possibly be wrong with frictionless capitalism on the 'Net?

Folks at the Green (in the other sense) party were  mostly management types, or owners of their own businesses. But many of their parents were union. Almost all were born Catholic, although it was extremely safe there to make fun of nuns and priests.

I do grow tired of complaints as if the unions are even in any slight way to blame for, say, the auto industry's collapse. You get that from the Republican side where there is almost glee for Chapter umteen restructuring, not least to blow away the union contracts and return, say, GM to more supposed efficiency in competition with the Asians. It's that kind of efficiency which is killing off all margins for innovation. Any thought from any worker not in on the take.

I'm pretty sure that the labor component of each new car is nowhere near large enough to define the problem. It's management that's constipated - the union guys will build whatever you tell them to, as efficiently as you like, but you have to be more strategically aligned with what's up in the larger economy.

Like John Stewart who landed so many solid punches, complaining to Jim Cramer about how we were all advised to get into the stock market for the long term, while it now seems that we were only funding the massive orgy of the unregulated short term traders. Their goal might have been to maximize returns for their investors, or did it shift to gaming the system for themselves? In any case, the business of derived derivatives went *pop*, and so much for we trusting schmucks and our planned retirements.

John Stewart's anger was that of his audience too, in this strange inversion where the finance guy, no comic, hams up his show, gonzo style, to keep his audience amused I guess. John Stewart, whose comedy is based on looking staid in the first place (Steven Colbert takes this to its pinnacle accomplishment), and who therefore gets laughs by changing only the shape of his mouth or other simple gestures just slightly out of place for his all knowing and by definition "in on it" audience - John Stewart was the one enraged. He'd become a livid political cartoon, where the best skewering is always accompanied by good laughs.

The inversion was beautiful, as were the landed punches - my own pleasure, as in a boxing arena audience. This sad sack Cramer was simply not going to be allowed into the club of people who actually get the joke, and was forced to remain the fool. With whom no-one could or would identify.

But it wasn't stoning. It wasn't fundamentalist barbaric, at least. It was Madoff going off to jail a little, and being given what every sociopath deserves, finally, to match the absence of any fellow feeling in his soul. Bars and dry stark noisy aloneness. Forever, amen.

So my big celebration, apart from the symbolic space which St. Patrick's day occupies for me (as one bookend, St. Valentine the other, to my youthful de-cocooning), was that my brother in law just had, the day before, been paraded off to prison. His daughter had the clarity of heart to write for the prosecutor a strong narrative of what he'd done to her upon and forever after the occasion of his being ousted from his small fundy pulpit. We all have our excuses.

My sister still must look into his eyes from Lazik magic bionic ones borrowed from God (she really does have such eyes) to see his child-like soul. She stands by him still, but carries on in stoic fashion, to raise his children while Daddy's off in jail. 

There is almost beauty to that, as there is in earnest seeking after remorse from Madoff. How much could he be required to give? And how must those who'd chummed with him, and then given him all their money, now feel about their own true hearts? It's their restraint that's touching.

I will always stive, but hardly ever succeed, to cast no stones. But I am not saddened by some imprisonings. I rejoice in God's grace when it comes, but hope never to make the mistake of seeking soul in emptiness. Finding truth in hollow words.

There is something human in loving your daughter before your Man. And something therefore even above God, who can be left to love those other souls, forsaken, lost and gone to humanity. His Love is something any longer not to strive for in ourselves, because it is that much too far above.

But here, on earth, right now, there is some quickening afoot. Could be in time for Easter? Where consciousness comes alive to its "sixth sense". That knowledge of some continuum as if from light to dark, between romantic manic love at the one extreme and stoic cold clear knowledge at the other that what appears so wrong in public might actually be right. Some inner conviction, of the same stuff as that in-love crap which, thankfully, I'm immune to anymore.

There were things known before written words did crowd them out. Yoruba truths. Local truths. These Chinese mappings of accupuncture points along the body which haven't much changed across the history of man's enlightenment. Some herbal medicines, whose choosing is the result more of seeing - illiterate ways of knowing - than of scientific trial and error.

And now we've reached the very Christian extreme of romantic loving, in whose manic thrall we might do anything (oh, how well I know this truth). Or if you're generation Y and above, you might not even be bothered to fall in love for sex, since those boundaries have lost all meaning.It is a loss. But you still do have the rockstar aspirations as proof of your authentic soul's true meaning. It's the same tale, told with different characters is all. There is not fullness at the top, but that you share it out!

Follow your dream. Lance Armstrong your victory, and beat back the sour grapes suspectors of secret doping. True your Cher voice with bionic tone, and stick it to the unplugged unwashed masses who will love and crave you all the more. Beyonce your face to chocolate perfection. But believe, above all, in yourself. Then Google yourself to death.

Well, that right there is my protest. It's not so shrill, and it sure gets very little attention. I'm Last Year's Man. My complaint with Google and Amazon and Verizon and all of them is that no-one should own the "cloud". No one should own the commons. No one should profit from my words, likely not even me. Though I hardly mind if they profit from building it, this commons on which I depend. And I might try for a living from words yet, some day.

Who Owns You, is the title of a book one of my illustrious former students just triumphantly published. I truly can't wait to read it, but I think I might not even have to (there is a copy with my name on it sitting in his Mom's house, I hope and pray). It's about the patenting of DNA. I do trust it's not on the side of the industrialists of soul. That there is some educated horror expressed (this fellow is, unlike me, extremely well credentialled) that life, too, might become an intellectual production, invented as if by God!

Another fellow at the party last night speculated that the true "class wars" will be between the public sector and the private. He had in mind the assault on private wealth that is one take on Stimulation. But mostly the nasty brutish fact that public employees will own all the pensions at the expense of the rest of us without defined benefits. What an amazing realignment! That taking a job as a civil servant could ever be construed as winning some lottery. That these grey souls who never did dare to dream of rockstar heights should be looked on as the winners! That losers might be winners after all.

Sure, the unions need to change. So do blacks need to stop being all angry. So do screwed people everywhere need to search their hearts for forgiveness.  So could our Constitution stand some rewriting.

But after our Common Wealth is secured. After that.

I swear I will be signing off real soon. I know that I promised I would. But I have only this one brief moment before the Commons gets enclosed for good and evermore, and I become net neutered, because the risk to the true Beast is simply far too great.

Here's a toast to the possibility that I'm dead wrong! Happiest of St. Patrick's Day to you, dear reader, and you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Sandwich Board End of the World Comment

I know, I'm sounding like a sandwich board man, pounding the pavement almost invisibly, since everyone already knows what I'm going to say. I accidentally re-read something I wrote here a while ago, and didn't quire realize how much I'd already said what I thought I'd just written brand new.

So, I should retreat from this field, and spend more time on "the book."  On learning more seriously how to write. I should calm down already, and spend a little more time emptying the trash, paying the bills, cleaning the bathroom, and otherwise getting ready for transition. I inhabit a mole's warren, if there is such a thing.

Still, stuff keeps coming my way, like this article from yesterday's New York Times, which follows nicely on my George Carlin comment, and makes me laugh out loud. It's about a subversive pun which made it past the famous Chinese Google/Cisco -aided information censors in the guise of a children's cartoon tale. The really hilarious part is that this children's song, which has a childish surface meaning, can be heard as - I can only guess since they don't publish the actual words, and I haven't bothered yet to Google it - a really really smutty one. 

Reminds me of Popeye, which I'm pretty sure got its start as a very adult series of shorts for the movies. I know it's still full of visual and verbal double meanings. It must have been what perverted my mind as a kid, since that's what Saturday mornings before Mom and Dad got up were made of. (We were only allowed TV on weekends, something I have to honor them for) You can only control so much, and Saturday mornings might be all you've got!

There was a time when I could have done a better job expanding on the very long Chinese tradition of getting words past the censors. Poetry writing was elevated there to such a sublime art that no one could be sure of mastery to the level of certainty that he actually knew how to read. There was a very formal process for co-optation (talk about selling your soul) into the centralizing bureaucracy, which radiated from the Emperor, symbol as much as person, giving meaning to the rectified words of all his ministers.

An elaborate examination system developed over the centuries, rivalled, perhaps, in scope and power by the Catholic Church in its elevation of priests from the Latin. There is at least an analogy there which might bear some fruit yet. Central to this examination, by which literate men were promoted to eligibility for positions of power, was the ability to read and write good poetry. 

This meant countless hours mastering the classical texts. Learning calligraphic skills with brush, and rectifying written characters across as many years of writing as existed. Along the way, you also learned to penetrate some secrets in these texts, which had bypassed generations of censors. You learned to laugh at double meanings, and perhaps could not resist trying your own hand, likely while drunk for cover, making fun of the fool at the center. In ways to exalt his sublime beauty in the guise of some courtesan you admire. 

How well I do remember sleuthing the stacks at the massive Sterling Memorial Library, honeycombed with private cubicles for serious study. I'd learned enough to know just where might be that illustrated pornographic original copy of the subversive romance we were studying. 

Narrative, other than for orthodox history, was never a part of the proper study of letters. It made its way in along with the unsettling messages of Buddhism. And this Buddhism, kind of, bridged some gap between the Confucian state system of orthodox letters, and the yin-like Taoist tradition of reclusion away from the Center. Where the Way that can be followed is not the eternal Way. The Word that can be spoken is not the eternal Word. No challenge to power but in literary Taoism's turning away, retiring from all formality to replace court clothes with rags or nothing. The well defined center with some silent knowing.

Eventually, after printing presses expanded the reach for literacy, narratives became attractive amusements. Literate folks, anonymously for certain, wrote picaresque works just as in the West. And what could be more amusing and subversive than pornography. More certain to be read. Less likely to be noticed as subversive, since as is still the case the world over, meaning is utterly denied beneath the belt.

Even Karl Marx, whose own body was famously alien to himself, would agree to that. (Did I already tell you about how Jesus was once routinely depicted in flagrante hardon, later airbrushed out from grand masters' painting).

I can't tell you how exciting it was to find that book. I'd been initiated into something, and as I always do, I shortly turned away. I'll bet that book is long gone, since economic pressures have expanded Yale's cohort of Chinese language students at least an order of magnitude beyond what we were then. I was respectful, even of the sanctity of the cubicle. I left that book where I found it.

These pinnacles of orthodox understanding may all be crumbling from the dissolute power of so many vulgar authors. Where surfer dudes routinely shatter the ivory towers of received and hard-earned wisdom. Where the emperor, routinely now, gets pointed out for naked. Where some will want to know if to match his red shoes, the Pope now sports a red Speedo too.

Wasn't there some Pink Floyd opera about all this? I was probably too stoned to remember . . . 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sing God Damn!

Awrhhyahh! I've got to make some changes fast! Last night, bouncing back into old patterns for just a minute, I pulled from the freezer "what's for dinner", because it was fast. An entire day's worth of pounding heads along with colleagues and against them over frustratingly new technology, got me home late and exhausted. It's the head work wears me out, and battling cynicisms, second guessings, interference from the earnest clueless. It's almost shocking how tired it can make you.

Then home so late, and the entire bottle of wine makes it down along with the evil red meat steak. I don't know which will pop first, the literal or metaphorical heart, or if, like Bob, the floor will just drop out. I do know it's a race to some finish. And it snowed again this morning!

When I try to explain, as I did again over another two-faced lunch yesterday, what we do and why, we IT guys, people need to make fun about the terminology, whose negotiation consumes almost all of every conversation. Speaking the same language is so often the first barrier to communication, since these words can have so many connotations, from so many different contexts. 

What, after all, is a "token" or a domain or a telephony front, and what is coming down it? Is an electronic signature a picture you take of it? And why do people always laugh while trying to explain virtual to people who want to know what's coming next? (Because it's funny to think of one's work up in the clouds, and nothing actually, within ones grasp. In religulous contexts, the pranks on soul cast themselves. Out.)

I simply cannot do it any more, this two-faced, many tongued living. My impending departure remains unannounced. And so I must yet again promote the thing I want so desperately to leave behind. It would make so much more sense to folks if I were moving on to cash in these navigational skills for making my way along the treacherous and shallow chop of technology's waters. 

Though I only want to walk the earth, and learn to make more sense for and of myself, I guess. Hell, even among the technorati in our meetings, I find people shamelessly shifting terms to cloak political about face in pursuit of what they demand. (microcosmically, this feels so damned familiar) It's way more tiring even than to pound ones head against all the surprising interactions among things so virtually new under the sun. I'll trade you my standard scientific practices against your accommodation to the mistaken power of position over knowledge if you'll please just shut up. We can't even agree on the basics most of the time.

I do it myself, and forget which truth I'm pursuing. Drink up, please, it's time . . . (I learned that the old fashioned way, by actually tending bar in London, lest you think it's another literary allusion, which I think it actually is, like the title of this post certainly is, to some fascist or elitist or other. But I'm, honestly, not nearly literate enough to really know these things I accidentally remember, though I'm still bragging shamelessly, so there!)

I guess what makes it such a losing war is that I'm working in a structure which embodies this confusion of authority and expertise; the Church. Where regal authority still gets conferred and truth must be standardized before it's uttered. At least many priests are literate, but I'll still trade dyslexic bombast for patriarchal arbiters and call it even. Tear it down already, whether by priestly concupiscence or covetousness or flip the terms around and call it what you will. They dress all silly, and rehearse pageantry which belongs, if at all, in some other opera already.

We all belong in each other's jail, because we're all such sinners. But I don't wish to sell my soul to work, nor can I abide being someone other than me there. I surely don't want my friends confused with colleagues (though I sure may want my friends as colleagues), nor motives attributed to my likings. 

I cannot endure this prisonhouse for my being very much longer. I will not google my soul (which is a new verb, defined as reducing the value of any intellectual production to precisely what gets represented by the proprietary algorithm for determining the cost and share value for others promoting their intellectual property, via advertizing links, which get paid for, ultimately, by the selling of products, likely made in China, which have no intrinsic value, because they're now so fully abstracted as to represent only want and no need). You may just have to read the book (now that's a really funny line right there, but I'm still and always the only one laughing. A vaguely insane laughter, you no doubt already heard.).

Though of course I am precisely googling my soul. What a hoot! Here trying to find that sense to speak out in plain English which doesn't sound Chinese what's up. 

Can it or must it be that the only posts which get read in this overcrowded world of words now are those which pander wit, good career tips, or technical savvy? There is no Google private algorithm for true words to float up top. There is no true marketplace for ideas, but that they have their proper context, and actually do get read. There is no way, but that wise readers point it out, for one to find what one's looking for. And reading takes so very much time which is that very thing this piling on of words takes away.

I do know that I suffer the pressures of too much time in cars, and paying for them. So I will move to some city where it will make no sense to spend all that money to own one (you can even get around 365 days a year in Blizzard City by bicycle without that much suffering, though so many people haven't figured that out yet,  A friend of mine who learned the trick in China does it. Cars can be rented for a lot less than owned, for when you need them, and there's synergy for various hearts to be had as well!).

I suffer the two faced accomodations to making a living, but now the kids are grown, I think I can be myself and say out loud what I think in any context. So I do tell my friends that I was hospitalized for losing my mind. I'll tell the folks at work too, on my way out the door, since I don't want them to think they caused it. 

But these diagnoses themselves lack all context. I know I should take Lipitor to save my clogging heart. But wouldn't a bicycle work just as well? I know I could take Abilify, but writing seems to drain that manic pressure just as effectively, and it leaves me mind for reading. I can only mourn for those whose endocrinal pressures build and have only the clinical take of latinate pure taxonomies for relief. I just don't feel all that terribly embarrassed that I skate that boundary between sense and raving. It beats the dull alternative. And I do dread the dullness of learning to fit in.

I seek, in writing, that meridian of qi which would make as if fated those moves my keyboard makes. I listen to my words to know what I think. I lack all discipline to train those moves; it's way too late for that black belt. But there's nothing yet having taken full shape, idealized, as it were, in my brain. That nonsense of intention is what makes all words fall short of their mark. I have to write to know.

In the Beginning was NOT the WORD, nor was it ever made FLESH. I think it's a little more yin/yang than that. The path which can be followed is never the one which will outlast those masses who followed the charts. Names which can be pinned down in taxonomies will only last there, in those dusty catalogs. There is no poetry to them, while for those written in some earthbound first person, there may yet be eternity. A Name is just a Name, full stop, but that it was some Person.

But I paraphrase. These interpersonal translations wear me out. These groping negotiations past tech support which likely knows less than you do, but will be happy to tell you what you want to hear, so that you may depend upon it and go down another blind alley toward confusion. These doubting colleagues who must challenge your calls because they too need recognition for those victories achieved through accident as much as by design. Your own internal exhaustion letting go of what you know for sure because it is no mystery, so that the people who need your tech support can get just what they want.

I got a late start reading in life. There was way too much pressure in my family for doing well at school. And so, of course, I spent my time outdoors, tinkering with contraptions, bombs and rockets, and generally keeping hidden all the trouble I was getting into. Racing away on wooden go-carts from police called by jealous brats whose gifted brandname machines wouldn't go so fast. Or watching helpless as one I'd wanted to like me took mine off for a destructive joy ride. And some bombs went off way too loud and way too high for comfort. I didn't do those again.

So, my reading has been all haphazard. Utterly without design or program or any real degree of accomplishment. There has been no trueing against any standards, though apart from skimming over the math, I think I actually can and do read. In discussion, more than in memory, I can make the proper sense of what I've read. But it's all over the map for sure.

Still, just like that one fine student of mine who never could get on board with the Chinese language, but whose kung-fu (skills) with martial arts allowed him to demonstrate the very limits of what you'd ever imagined physically possible. I watched him run across the ceiling while waiting for the classroom door to get unlocked, so long as I promised never to say so (I deny it happened! He never was quite willing to expose himself that way, since it would break the ethic by which he'd learned actually to do it.).

These artists, I think, master letting go. Their moves as if fated, since there's way too much mystery to understand how they could ever align with something so unmeasured as qi. And yet that is what these repeated drills can do. Like walking the earth when your feet get moved by what's rotating underneath them. Like those treadmills we run at work which keep us panting standing still. Eventually, some body knowledge takes over and moves your mind away so that you don't really know what you're doing until you just did it because there are senses other than those your mind can control a reaction to. In time.

These meridians of qi got mapped well back before written words dulled these senses, and there will never be any time, I can assure you, when Western Science can master their meaning. Because by that time it will no longer be Western Science, silly! 

Even reading and writing, the mind is far too slow to react and to respond. It takes some kind of blow to the head before the adrenalin for survival really kicks in, and then the body knowledge is something you're really glad for. I pull myself back to sanity by reading well crafted books, dear soul, and so should you.

Sometimes it's best to retreat from the field, so as to live to fight another day. To practice more. To learn to be better in touch with those fine pathways linking mind with heart to make them one, the better to respond to life's ever catastrophic up-endings.

There have been many masters along the way for me. Most pointing to the library stacks to master some defined set of moves in some particular discipline, and I cannot tell you other than to delineate my deficiencies why I have, as if by instinct, kept my distance always. I'd like to say I can sense a trap when I feel it closing, but I've been caught so very many times. I guess that's how we learn. I guess I'll never learn.

Damn again, another work day commences! (f*ck this sh*t, George Carlin style)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fly like a butterfy

That void of greed gets filled with love. It's fear that makes the difference.

I wrote that as "note to self" after inviting in schoolmarmish cold water to my blog. (I'm not complaining - I needed the wash, and often enjoy cold showers!!) Hell, there's no one else to encourage me, so I'll have to keep myself going. It's not like anyone's reading this without some invitation. Note to self: keep moving.

All my work day, I swim out against the surf, only to have ever larger waves roll over me, and still I swim. It's the nature of working with technology, and as I've said, I grow tired. The retirement goal has evaporated. I turn and surf.

I do believe that blogging is, as medium, the perfection and completion of narcissism. Oneself as authority. Oneself without correction. Oneself without earnings.  Oneself surprised with oneself. 

It accompanies the near complete destruction of prized media. My most recent Time Magazine is but a sliver of its former self.  Newspapers get destroyed daily, and they don't just disappear, but instead their hearts get carved out, until all that is left is the barest shell of medium for advertising. I think that's the proper definition for "googled".

Sure, when recently I made contact in the blogosphere - a first hello of sorts - I ventured out to look and see what's there, and of course, almost at the start, were young women snapping pictures of themselves. Stripping. Naked. I'm not exactly ashamed to say that I was turned on, and shockingly because they seemed in no way coerced or victims of some early life sick boundary crossings which drenches other such transgressions with furtive guilt on the part of the viewer. Or should. Simple truth or dare, it seemed.

I assure you I was not shocked by the sight. We technology guys even have to clean up after a very few priests sometimes, and you might say we've seen it all. I was shocked by my own reaction, and that's true narcissism right there. Like Nixon on TV, I wasn't ready.

I'm certain that these smiling happy girls are also victims, though. I think we all are. 

My sense of blogging when I first heard of it was young women writing public journals. There was some hoax, wasn't there, when it turned out that Lonely Girl was a network plant? Yet another commercial attempt to secure the prurient interest of the viewing public. And what tricks did they use to get her all the views? Production values? Notices in widely read publications? Is there even a chance for earnest bloggers without some inside track?

I know that for me, starting up a blog was very like entering a nudist camp, and I really didn't like it. I still don't, except that no-one wants to read my epistolary emails. All media for transcprited thought have been subsumed and destroyed except this one. Even the private ones. I need some place to surprise myself, and journalling alone is, well, onanistic. It doesn't do it for me. And I'm really really trying to be respectful, dear reader, of some proper bounds which still aren't clear. Indulge my excesses, only if you will.

The blogoshpere is free in every dimension and degree, and I suppose that that's its problem. My own blogs would be redundant to steal or copyright, because they're too purely me. That's the point. It doesn't make me proud (as you know, I think every naked body looks approximately the same, which is, I think, the mystery). But it's what I have to do. It might be all I have to do, though I'm working on that book.

I think I am a terrorist here. I don't mean the nasty image we have of determined killers wanting virgins in the sky. I'm rather thinking of those young and dispossessed, up against some wall who are so easy to lead astray. 

Except I'm hardly innocent or young, still planting written thought charges which might or might not go off at the right time in the right place, but it's all I've got left. To use the machinery of the beast to bring it down. There are more of me out there than you might think. 

What do you call a terrorist of love, without religion? A blogger? Careful now, there's plenty of hate there too. How about just someone who's had enough, needs and can take no more, and doesn't know what else to do. I've had all I can stands, I can't stands no more  - I'm Popeye the sailor man. Toot Toot! (that's an oldfart joke, right there, but I think Popeye got his start in porn)

I think I want back newspapers. Cities. Mother Nature. Neighborhoods where people venture out from wombs with view, because what's on TV turned, suddenly, boring. In absolutist terms, I refuse to plant actual bombs in subdivisions, or tie myself to trees. I don't necessarily begrudge those who do, so long as they play nice. I'm at least as desperate as they are. 

I also want back the schoolmarms and the editors and the research staffs, and even the reading public. The hardest thing to teach in school is how to tell when writing is poorly argued. At my school, for gifted kids, we struggled and struggled and still half the faculty could often not tell the difference. (the kids and staff were one in this effort, and I myself was judged as often as judging).

But as I said to my new young peer; "As Joseph Conrad noted, if you want to learn to swim, you must 'in the offensive element immerse' and not reach out for air. We’re a people of narcissism - it’s what the economy used to want."  There is nothing more narcissistic than to be a televised consumer. Having learned how to swim, I'm diving in after my image, to break it up more than to embrace it.

We won't get beyond by fighting narcissism head on. Community access programming is now quite out of control, and even beyond Al Gore, who thought he'd try that after he moved on from inventing the internet. (I love the man, don't get me wrong, but he's proven himself a good enough sport and therefore makes a better target than, say, Rush Limbaugh, who's a really really bad sport, and the very definition of Narcissus' evil twin.)

These matters are hard. I live in a small town where the attempt to build windmills did nothing so much as to reveal just how corrupt the town government is. It's the fruit of disinterest (by folks like me) right alongside too much interest. And as our leadership gets more abstracted from local ground, they become embedded and impossible to dislodge. Unless you come up with some absurd sex scandal.

Oppressed Native Americans get regal patents to enter cities and destroy them; by patchworking together new sovereign lands, they get to build gambling casinos regardless of what the people living there might want.

Suburban enclaves, now grown almost entirely above middle class and white, exist directly alongside the darker and poverty level median income of the city. You can't make this up; I'll name the names. Amherst New York, an entirely sprawled municipality without any there there, and "home" to the University (still addressing itself in Buffalo) which should have been downtown. Amherst now exceeds the city of Buffalo next door in assessed value tax base. Consistently, it's ranked among the safest cities in the land. Consistently, Buffalo is at the very bottom.

There was a plan to build a light rail to connect the University with the inner city. Guess where it still ends? Right at the city boundary. Right where I used to live (yet another narcissistic insertion, for which I can't possibly apologize enough, ho ho, ho hum).

I don't know what stimulus might bring, but I do know that there is no simple resolution. The suburbs want their local governance. Regardless of literate expressions, it would be impossible to change that vote without redrawing boundaries. And that, as we know, defines no small part of the overall conundrum.

Amherst also needs the cultural and off-the-tax-reservation infrastructure of the city, beyond just a name for its University. And yet to link the two, even with a rail line, gets likened, apparently in the collective minds of the suburbs, to using a dirty needle or something. 

As if it's infection that would spread, instead of richer life. The highways, by transiting only private cars, seem safer. Even the buses, which I guess are too damn much bother to ride, don't seem to excite the immune system. Or maybe they did, and it's hardened now against more commerce?

I guess it must be the difference between particles and waves again. It's constant touch which terrifies us. Touch risks merging boundaries. Let's just keep our thoughts, politely, to ourselves! Who do we even have to talk to any more, when strangers might so sharply differ in the fundamentals, and friends already know what we're going to say.

Why the hell not catch a spark off something I say here, make it your own, and publish the hell out of it. For chrissakes, I'm giving it away! I'm the guy flashing his soul in your face. You don't have to look if it's gross, but I've already decided it's yours to do with what you will. You won't want the words, but you might just be stirred.

This just ain't right!

I really don't have any particular ideas about what to do about all this. But I do have some very abstract ones. And none of them gain in value, even for me, by keeping them to myself. That's the magic of written words. Their power descends from reproduction. Gutenberg led directly to vulgar masses. Now this is vulgar publishing. It has its plusses and minuses. But you can't really stop it anymore.

I do know that as the blogosphere, so called, matures and grows, it is getting taken over by more sober interests. It's what's outed government crime, and perhaps enabled Obama (well, you'd have to think that W did that all by himself without all that much help) to make the final cut. It still represents the very selfsame force which brought down the Eastern bloc walls, catalyzed I think by cellphones and faxes against which the Chinese media controllers were never any match.

Sure, the irony is that China comes out from Tian-an Men more nationalistic than ever, with student protests turned to strident flag-waving. And East Germany goes all big box, because like wide open America, there's nothing already there to wreck. 

Despite or because of uptight Eastern propriety, the rigid Bible-belt's down South. Go figure. They're supposed to be gentile, polite, and comfortable with ambiguity. Damn carpet baggers all over again, I guess. I think they just don't read.

So there's the underside of blogs. Simple and liberated-from-good-argumentation publishing is how the Bible thumpers perfect their formulas. It's how true believers in Ron Paul get their stories straight. It's how the Trade Towers get believed to be brought down by deliberate planting of  bombs, decreed by plausible denability straight from the top.

There's nothing left to true it all. The editorial staffs of newspapers are approximately as impotent as I am in local politics right where I live. They just don't have the time and manpower. And if they did, they don't seem to have the interest.

So, the solution is abstract, dear reader. It truly is. I've been in the appendix bursting position of mediating murderous disagreements, and the only tool that ever worked was abstraction. You have to take the argument up a notch. Above all heads. Right into the sky of just plain making sense.

And if you want to be believed at that level, you have to insert yourself into your argument. How you came to think this way. What happened to you that day. You have to release all claim to brilliance of pure invention, and lay out your shoddy evidence. Unretouched. The good argumentation still belongs in more carefully edited spaces. But here in the commons for ideas is where some creation happens.

So the windmill dispute in my little town could and should be handled by directly compensating not just the blasted farmers who get the lease for towers on their land, but those whose view gets destroyed. PILOT fees don't make the cut, since the government's corrupted.

Of course that changes the boundaries. View is not property, in our system of laws. But air rights and mineral rights get bought and sold, as abstracted species of "good will". Potential for earnings. Why not wind rights?

We must reclaim the commons.

So common schools could break down boundaries too. Out in the sticks again, there still remains astounding profusion of old one-room schoolhouses. They've been converted to homes and lodges, but they once did represent the distance a child could travel for a day's study. 

And very recently the State completed yet another in a long series of consolidation rounds. Bigger is better, the state seems to know for sure, but when I took my daughter to tour (maybe it was an object lesson in getting along better with her Mom in Buffalo, though I think we were both in earnest), there were true confessions of sex and drugs and gangs in the wilderness.

I've argued plenty about the need for smaller community engendering schools. They're cheaper and more productive and by the familiarity of each student with the others obviate the destruction of the sorting which is the main preoccupation of schools for capitalist production. 

There were Ivy leaguers and true artists too, coming out from that country school, right alongside the toothless bumpkins. My daughter recognized a viable choice, against the reality of her private city school. So did I, which was a comfort.

But the scale is still all wrong, and I guess, yet again, it's bussing defines the paradox and maybe even a way toward solution. Bussings which, all agree, propelled families to the suburbs. Which magnet schools have never quite redressed.

What if taxes actually were redistributed from the center, and no child was prevented from entering any school because of boundaries. We now fund our schools from local property taxes, guaranteeing disparities to funding, and barriers to foreigners. Like jealous siblings, the large municipalities carp about their relative subsidies from Albany. But city schools keep burning, while the suburbs go all Ivy, as if there's only that one bell to ring.

It's no mistake that one of the very best schools in the country, by many measures, is City Honors right here in Buffalo. It's got great leadership, I know. It has a strong internal cultural identity, despite having been uprooted from any geographic neighborhood. And it suffers the same identity crisis of the failed school I once ran. It's meant for the smart kids, and can easily be blamed for creaming off the best and leaving the other schools to the bumpkins. The second rate teachers. Burned out.

Why not like France, where the bread tastes great because the price is set?  The competition's all in the quality. So teachers get paid the same all over, and schools get funded the same. And families can choose any among them. Why not?

It's what central government is good for, and with this meltdown we have that opportunity. Because the central government is totally broke, and has nothing but power with which to broker.

Tepid efforts seem always to ensure the opposite of their intention. Bussing within city bounds ensures hardening of boundaries between city and suburb. Private schools, paradoxically, infect or stimulate some change, by sending their busses all over the region. 

Oh, I'm all mixed up for sure. I know. It's a mess. I keep striving for resolution when I only want to think out loud.

I have absolutely no question at all, none, that it's love must fill the void where greed once owned the territory. That when the cocoon does burst and makind spreads its wings, consciousness will have transformed from generator only of technologies for literal flight, to Slumdog transformations of mere accidents to destiny. 

Emotion is the sixth sense which provides, in effect, that trueing. Minds looking along all the accidents of life, and pulling from them sense. Not toward some abstract goal. It's not a sense of direction - all the other senses work for that. But rather, a felt attraction. To something also alive and free.

This blogging is no end, but means alone bare naked. It's messaging as the medium, and by sucking up its tail, might spell an end to capitalist excesses, toward something more down to earth and, well, less abstracted.

Tear down the walls, I say, and let's have a very very quiet revolution. I'd love to have you in for tea, my dear. Feeling is no grant you see, but an accomplishment I work on.