Thirty years ago, Michael Crichton, a brilliant scientist and artist, published a series of essays, non-fiction, that described first his experiences in Harvard Medical School, and then the Travels (the title of the book) which followed, and his exploration of alternative technologies.
His experiences in med school left him wanting. I so get that.
At any rate, the last essay is brilliant, it very much resembles the “Conclusions” section of a peer reviewed science article, as it summarizes his findings after a twenty year period of data collection. That piece was written, in fact, to present to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a group I know well, they publish the Skeptical Inquirer, Carl Sagan was a founder, my anthropology prof was a member, it’s kind of the epitome of hard core scientism.
Carl doesn’t like what has become of it; its closed mindedness. They did not hear the presentation.
But the reason Alternative Technologies comes to mind as a title, is that those which are presented as Crichton’s data, those Direct Experiences he had (so relevant to science, so similar to my own), the ones so, so many people have had, those Technologies are things that Science has simply ignored, and laughed at, those technologies which are so “superior” in so many ways to the poisons and pills and engineering of science, those technologies actually have the potential to heal the world and not continue to kill it, as science’s technologies are doing.
That Crichton’s data and conclusions have been ignored by science for 30 years is a tragedy. Without knowing that this book existed, I repeated much of his inquiry, my direct experiences provided me with a similar data set to his, there is so much evidence to support the efficacy of these alternative technologies, so much evidence showing us the dangers of science’s technologies, so much evidence science has ignored.
I don’t agree with all of Crichton’s conclusions, there are technologies he didn’t give enough attention to, in my opinion, and I’m beyond confident that others, like myself, have collected just mounds of data similar to his, and mine, in the last 30 years.
Science has become a religion, and a toxic and dangerous one at that.
Give me alternative technologies, please.
“C'mon, everybody knows I’m the brains of this operation. The Book says so.” Nucleus was in its regular spot, held there by cytoskeletal elements, hiding the DNA. DNA was always avoiding any dangers that might lurk out in the cytosol beyond nucleus's double membraned wall. Nucleus was being its obnoxious self.
“Oh please!” replied Rough ER. “I’m the work horse of this operation, without me, nothing would get done! You’re a bloody drafter’s desk, a place to store blueprints! I make the proteins that do the work that run the whole universe, even the universe outside the Cell!”
“Excuse us? Aren’t we kind of forgetting about the little guys here? The immigrant labor doing the actual work of slinging protons and electrons around?” The mitochondria had had enough of being treated like second class components. After all, their kind were around long before the big eukaryotic uprising that occurred when groups started to organize.
“We’re all immigrants!” Nucleus shouted. All that code did carry some wisdom.
“Yessssss, you all are.” Water whispered.
“And just whom are you calling you?” replied phospholipid, slick as slug slime.
“Will you all please stop your bickering?” Ribosomal RNA was getting impatient. Working on life was a long, drawn out process, that was for sure. “We’re all in this together. Yes, water, we could not live without you. But you’re no more running the show here than Nucleus or Proteins or me or any other organelle, molecule, or subatomic particle in the entire Cell. Not even the the whole body! It’s all about the interaction; it’s a team effort!”
“And some day, we all will die.” Said lysosome, before returning to its task of breaking down.
“That’s why we’ve got to live it while we can!” A kinesin was whizzing by on a microtubule, enjoying the ride.
“Okay, okay. You’re right.” Nucleus sighed, rarely winning these arguments. “I’ll send the mRNA for the plague antibody right out.”
“Excuse me? Who’ll send it right out?” RNA polymerase could be heard echoing from within the nuclear membrane.
“Who needs a little ATP?” The mitochondria replied.
“Who needs a little sugar?” A membrane protein was about to admit some glucose. Perhaps there would be peace at last.
“We want micronutrients!” the coenzymes whined.
Water sighed. Life was so much easier before Cells.
So this morning’s out of the blue (or out of the black, and into the blue, Hey Hey My My) insight during meditation is that it seems like it would be easy enough to harness the entropic “heat” of the internal combustion engine to produce steam, I mean, the radiator gets way wicked hot and has to be air cooled, and even though the old steam engine trains had to carry massive amounts of water to keep the engines running, and reload, surely by now we can devise a technology that allows the same tank of water to be recycled, a tank way smaller since we’re not going to be blowing off steam, only routing it through a closed system.
So a twenty or something gallon water tank that produces steam under pressure to run the drive train, continuously recycling that water by condensing it back down from steam to liquid water, still way hot enough to be converted back into steam quickly.
A closed system loop, much lighter weight and extractive than the batteries used in hybrids now, and a small gas tank to maintain boiling point for the water supplemented by solar roof panels and a standard 12V battery.
My quickie little search tells me that there is indeed such technology out there, but that there hasn't yet been “a market” for it.
It might be a great technology to pursue.
Water holds a whole lot of energy.
The Blues Brothers is the one film that I recall being about a group on a mission from God. Their’s was the Catholic God, as I recall there were nuns involved, and I’ve known and loved a nun or two, one or two I wasn’t all that fond of, but then ‘Retha was there, too, with the Blues Brothers, and I have a hard time seeing ‘Retha as anything but Baptist, and the Queen of Soul, but I could be wrong, but probably not, because I decided back when I was just a wee child that if anything could save my soul in terms of the standard religious packages on offer to a WASPY white kid, redundant, I know, it would be Gospel Music, which tended to be birthed by Southern Baptists.
Mostly I accepted the music, rejected the god. That had god the Blues, bigly, even if I did love the blues, too, and He mostly taught about waiting for the good life after death, an idea which Bob Marley did a lot to divest lots of folks of, having found the good life here on Earth himself.
But then something grabbed me by the butt, or smacked me upside the head, or maybe touched my heart, who knows, but it made itself palpably felt, non-audibly heard, somatically experienced in ways new and different, and as is my wont, I set out to figure out just WTF it was, and starting formulating multiple hypotheses.
First, I asked a smart guy what this thing was the I was experiencing, as it seemed he and some others with which he associated had experienced as well. He told me God, which I capitalize as a proper noun since he tends to, not God, but the smart guy.
I internally LOL’d at that one, or at least rejected it as non-testable right away.
The thing is, had he not used the G word, I’d have been a lot more comfortable with it. I had lots of experience with the religious, and the ridiculously laughable religious, at least to me, they exist, believe me, folks who believe that anyone who uses the G word to describe anything other than an old white guy with a white beard, a guy living in the sky, one who dictated the revised (he does a lot of revising) King James Bible is damned to the eternal flames of hell, amen, including everyone who happened to be born in some other culture without even the benefit of learning that story, so sorry, amen.
Poppycock. Such an easy god to reject.
Thing is, again, well, when I first set out on my own personal mission from The All (I’ll use term in honor of another guy who used it in discussion with me), that which had grabbed me, physically, I used the G word to try and persuade my sisters to work with me on it, the mission, a collaboration of writing and reading and editing and putting stuff online, with one small caveat: it had to be offered in the gift.
All of it.
I’d pay for the web pages, any expenses, if the work got donations they could be used to pay for the web pages, but all of the work would be offered for free, no exceptions, donations accepted, and never would there be any effort to make profit beyond living expenses. If we got not one donation, no big deal, neither of them worked, one likes to read, one likes to write, and do web stuff, I like to write, web stuff, not so crazy about, no matter how easy, I think I’ll change my attitude, right now. Done.
It also seemed a good way to mend fences with family, the Three Sisters Project. And really, they both often claim some connection to god, that laughable one, so I figured WTF, I’d use that term, too.
No luck, not having it, which is fine, it is for the best. The god I know is very, very different from theirs, and much, much bigger, its energy boundless.
I can write, I can read, and edit, I swear the nanobots invade my stuff, I'll edit, I can publish. I can make it fun. After all, I’m on a mission from God.
One of the “bad” attributes which has often been attributed to weed, and I have proof, here, in front of me, is that those who use it tend to be apathetic, that we lack interest and enthusiasm, which frankly, I’m pretty sure couldn’t be further from the truth.
Now, while there might be plenty of stoners who take the “nothing I can do” attitude about things like environmental meltdown or political corruption or economic inequity, believe it or not, there are probably way more (just in terms of what % of the human population at large are stoners) folks who don’t partake of the noble weed who have that attitude, too.
I mean, I know plenty of them.
Of course I might not be aware of their dope smoking habits, but it’s pretty safe to say that not everybody in the world enjoys weed and its effects, among which apathy is not a very big one.
The proof that I’ve included in this piece, and what inspired it, is a piece of artwork, I mean, maybe it was hand made, I don’t know, but even if not, it was designed, and I daresay by a stoner, but what really got me to thinking about just how non-apathetic stoners tend to be, is that from the seat at the little table here, in candle light, this piece of art reminds me a whole lot of the state of California.
I mean, it looks like California, doesn’t it?
And there is no more progressive state in that not much of a union that is the US, the us, it’s an us (an anus?) that which being a me of kind of sucks, not a very nice country at all, other than the land that is here, its political entity (entities, really, since I’m writing of CA here) like California, it was the first place to make medical weed legal, it is the most progressive state in the country in oh so many ways, even if there is an ugly red spot down there by the heel, I’d make the sock blue with a red heel, but that’s mostly about the LA region, which is pretty awful by most standards, at least by most of mine.
It isn’t dispassion that has been passing weed legislation all over the country, nor does apathy participate in revolutions. I’d be interested in just how many neo-radicals (a new group classification I’ve just created, non-apathetically) smoke weed.
Here in Colorado, that state that first legalized recreationally the nobel green one, the place where John who took his name from Denver was reborn in his twenty seventh year, that state that has made such incredible progress in terms of the revenues generated, the decrease in violent crime, maybe an increase in homelessness, I’m not sure, but that’s just because this is as good a place as any to be homeless, and there’s weed all over the place.
Acceptably all over the place.
And it’s not that the non weed smokers are any more apathetic to the situation than the smokers are overjoyed (not apathetic, no, not at all) with it, they can see with their own eyes how much better it has made the state, that geo-political thing, and the state of the population that lives here.
Happy folks in Colorado, super friendly, caring, and not the least bit apathetic. Not about things that matter, like homelessness, and inequity, and environment. Super progressive.
And me? Oh, yeah, I’m just the model of apathy, always have been, uh huh. Weed doesn’t make a person apathetic, not at all. Weed helps a person moderate her passions, it sure as hell does not kill them, nor prevent their emergence.
No apathy here, no, not at all.
Yesterday I found myself briefly (I’m learning) engaged in a FB debate about Islam, reacting and probably not responding, who knows, to someone who put forth a viewpoint about the direct connection between Islam and all sorts of heinous stuff, like, pedophilia (um, Catholic priests?), the main point of the original post, but not entirely, at all, it was about human trafficking and child abused and on and on, but the person to whom I reacted pretty much suggested that all of those ills could be attributed to Islam.
I’m sorry, I reacted, find it really hard not to.
I’ve known all sorts of Muslims in my life, lots and lots of colleagues in the workplace, students, I tried to read the Koran, as I have most religious texts, trying to understand, but couldn’t get through it very easily, gave up quickly, but I have read its predecessors, the Old Testament, and more than one version of it, multiple Christian gospels, even those The Church (the, the one) opted to leave out, and frankly, all of those story books are just that, and the Muslims who I’ve known were all really beautiful and admirable people.
Sufi writings? Sublime.
But since it happened to be a group of Saudis (well, maybe) responsible for 911, and they happen to be Muslim, even if our allies, certainly W.’s allies, certainly not someone we usually look at at least in terms of foreign policy and say “enemy”, well, apparently that made it okay and appropriate to demonize all of Islam, and pretty much blame a good portion on the world’s woes on some kind of fuzzy, but very large, segment of humanity.
How silly is that?
What drives crazy fundamentalism in the Islamic world is the same thing that drives it here, fear, it has always been thus, and believe it or not, the Islamic world is far more justified in fearing the “enemy”, that one that invaded and has been invading for a very long time. Most Muslims are just like most Christians (or used to be) or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists, decent people trying to live decent lives.
But what really just kills me, and I mean blows me away, is that in the last week or so I’ve seen not one but two semi-viral at least posts trying to paint folks from Costa Rica as The Enemy.
That beautiful country, with its beautiful people, the one with no military, the one where people mostly eat fresh fruit and go surfing and protect living things, at least as much as that is possible as the White World enslaves the people and takes over the land there, hires them to build and serve cocktails.
Everyone is looking for the enemy. Folks in the US are arming themselves so heavily I want to LOL, I’d LOL if it wasn’t so freaking tragic, my countrymen arming themselves against an enemy they can’t quite define, when the things they might actually be legitimately afraid of, those fires and floods and that polluted water and those carcinogenic crops, can’t be killed with guns.
I know what my enemy is, and it’s not a person, or group of people, or even self. It’s a way of being, an attitude, some sick and twisted sense of the other, that enemy, the bad guy who is causing all these problems in the world.
Often, the enemy is a lot closer to home than you might think, and not something you can kill with a gun, or a bomb, or a drone.
Another great title, thanks John Malkovich, or whoever decided to make a movie about being you, or at least in your weird head. Sorry if weird is offensive.
That’s kind of the point.
One of my favorite thinkers likes to suggest that before we pass judgment on another, we should take the time to imagine what it’s like to be that person, in that person’s shoes, with the totality of that person’s life experiences (and genetics, I assume), and recognize that if you were that person, you’d do exactly as he or she had done.
It would be really tough being John McCain.
Yes, he was a GOP, a militaristic douchebag. There was nothing else he possibly could have been. He was born into a military family, raised by a military father (probably also a douchebag) and he learned as a child to be obedient, to love his country above all else (I’m assuming here), and to be the honorable man that he was, at least to his own perhaps slightly twisted thinking.
Lots and lots of folks in the USA whose thinking is twisted thusly, go figger.
The other day I listened to a podcast in which said thinker put that line out there, and the Diné woman he was chatting with kind of chuckled and said she didn’t WANT to know, or that she already did, the whites had tried to force “being white” on them for too long, and I kind of grokked that, not from the white/native perspective, of course not, but simply from the perspective of imagining what it is that makes a person do what he or she does.
And in many ways, I agree, wholeheartedly, I don’t want to understand how someone could self-justify murder of faceless children, or genocide, or commit even the bigger self destructive act of cutting down a forest or dumping garbage into the sea, I like my values, don’t want to share those of community killer, or even feel those feelings.
No interest, at all.
However, understanding what made that person who he or she is, the things that might happen to a person during life to make it easy to kill, or hate, or fear, sure, that I’m good with.
Being that guy who dropped out of that plane and broke both his legs and then VOLUNTARILY remained a captive after an offer of release in support of the other prisoners there and underwent physical torture for a few years out of a sense of honor and duty to those other men, well, to me, it might be silly, but that’s just admirable as all get out.
And frankly, being John McCain would’ve been really, really difficult.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about for, well, probably at least 40 or 50 years now. Certainly, for the vast majority of my life I doubted it not one bit, that every decision to be made for me was mine to make. I mean, really, when it comes down to it, only if another physically overpowers a person and forces her to do something she doesn’t want to do is she not acting of free will. I know, there is mental over-powerment, women have been doing that to men forever, or maybe that’s physical, even if not physically violent, there is the threat of physical violence to self or others that might compel someone to not exercise free will, but then, no, because whatever one does or does not do is still her or his free will.
It’s a freaking fact. The Devil did not make me do it.
But questioning free will first really came to me back when I was, um, dating, a fundamentalist Christian, who told me he knew for sure that predestination was the Way of God’s World, that the story was already written, but that we also had free will which we had to exercise in exactly the right way to prevent from burning in the fiery pits of hell, and really the only free will one had to exercise was to believe that Jesus died on the cross for all the sins I’d commit, which seemed so over the top so unfair to me, I mean, predestined fuckupery, how sad (and unfair) is that, culminating in eternity shoveling sulfurous shit for Satan.
Some folks were just designed for SSSfS, in service to the Saved, I guess.
So it got pretty easy to reject that idea, too, but then I got to thinking about the potential for infinite dimensions of reality, maybe just mine, or everyone’s and certainly a reality (I’m so concrete sometimes) that is affected by every decision and action, always, and not just everyone, but everything, I mean, those Dinoflagellates are wrecking havoc in Florida right now, and while that might ultimately have a human driver, and I hope it’s not just the mangoes I ate as a kid or something, but proximately, those Dinoflagellates be reproducing like mad, exercising their free will and incidentally killing things, all kinds of things, so their actions and free will do definitely matter to other life in the sea, just like mine do.
There’s quite a lot of life in the sea, or at least there once was. These days, mama mammals carry their dead babies around for months, and their friends help, all of them mourning.
But if there are those infinite dimensions of reality, perhaps there is one in which the seas are clean, people aren’t polluting the waters and destroying soils, they’re not mowing forests as quickly as they can, clear cutting, killing things everywhere, so that they can have a lot of cheap plastic crap and air conditioning.
Think clear cutting and cheap plastic crap aren’t related? Think again. It’s all related.
And then I can get wandering off on this Solipsist path that says that maybe the bad choices I’ve made, personally, have produced this karmic shit show I find myself in, I mean, it doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything that super heinously evil, even if I’ve not been a saint, and certainly I find and feel all sorts of wondrous joy, so that doesn’t sound much like karmic hell, and it’s not only when I’ve been super “well behaved” or had the “right attitude” or any of that, so it gets pretty easy to reject that idea, no matter what the happy fairy rich new age people think, that all I have to do is adjust my attitude and I can manifest something else, and the World will be Wonderful.
No more murder or mayhem or environmental melt down, but hey, it’s all on me, and my free will.
No, I don’t like that one, either.
Here’s what I like: We all have free will. We are not domestic sheep waiting for dog or man to round us up and tell us what to do, or at least I’m not. The state of the world is the result of every action of every person and thing, always, whether rocks rolling down a hill after rain has fallen, or lava spewing up and spitting out in Hawaii, or bacteria infecting a wound or a people starting a war.
Synchronicity is something that has added another piece to the puzzle of life, for me. In some ways, I love it, so much, it tells me a story that is Big, and Wondrous, Magical even. It doesn’t answer the question of how to act, always, no, and it doesn’t promise me that it’s not all my fault, my karma, not at all, the physicists and their abstractions keep so many possibilities open, which really, is quite cool.
But what it has done, in the way it has manifest, the gift of its experience, all of it has shown me that there is so much more than me, something so, so, much bigger, and more wondrous, and magical, than even me (giggle) and humanity, and even the natural world as we know it, well, gosh. There is something that makes free will all the more important, that makes our actions, and choices, so important, for more than just me or you, but for everything. Not everyone, no, everything.
What I see of the human condition is a species denying itself free will. Women who think they need to pay more for the pink razor, because it's made just for them, or men who say my country, right or wrong, dear gods, I know they're not that stupid, I know it, a whole civilization that seems to think that the next new man made magic might save us all, let us consume infinitely on a finite planet. I see sheep, waiting for dog or man to tell them what to do, where to go, how to act, what to think, sometimes even what to feel. No thanks.
Thus Spake the Spirit of Dream.
The other day, a piece posted and shared fairly widely among my Facebook friends suggested that white people have no culture, or at least that other cultures (or at least that one the author was standing in) perceive us as having none. It struck me as one of the most narrow minded, bigoted, and yes, offensive things I’d ever read, what with being a white person and all.
I’m a white person. I have a culture. It’s not the one the author described. Even if the culture I live immersed in does fit much of that bill, it’s not mine. The whole world lives immersed in it, these days. I know folks for whom much of that description is accurate, it’s their culture, they’re not all white folks, no, not at all, and some for whom being judged based on it might be really offensive.
Just as offensive as to others, others whose cultures we judge aspects of, go figure.
My culture isn’t white. It tends to be fairly tan, or at least the culture I grew up in was, which was along the east coast of Florida, on the beach. That’s where I spent most of my childhood, it’s what shaped me, and my friends, as did our families and their life experiences, some similar, some not.
One might even say that a new culture was born there. It was a lot like the culture of old Key West, neither it nor my home town is so much what it was any longer, people come and go too quickly now, culture changes, it evolves, it gets eaten by the Machine. I can see it so plainly in the piece written, how different my world and culture from hers, I suspect I’m of a different era than she, just as she and I are different from the folks who were hosting her.
But my home town and the people in it were very, very different from the culture that shaped my Italian American friend from the Bronx’s, also white, and while he had some of that southern, olive toned white Italian (as opposed to the whiter white alpine Italian) thrown into his cultural background, he was all Bronx, as are lots of ethnically Hispanic folks with all sorts of skin tones, folks whose parents came from all over the world, however many generations ago, folks who live there.
It’s the Bronx. It’s got a culture. For some folks there, it fits right in with that thing the author calls “white” culture, for others, not. So does the region that includes Kentucky, have a culture, the place the author of the piece comes from, and it’s different from the one in Maine or the Bronx, quite a lot. My culture is so different from that of the Queen Mum's, whitey, and so much more similar to that of the black person from coastal Florida's, it's not even funny.
My culture was very different form that of Southern California, which is different from Northern California, which is different from New Jersey, which isn’t nearly as different from New York as Florida was, although immigration really shaped Florida, just like New York, go figure, and I don’t even want to get into Oklahoma, where after 30 years of world travel among folks of various shades of skin, that’s a color, I just named it, skin, I first experienced deep culture shock, and it was “white” and “black" and “brown” and “red”. Not blue, not except when mixed with the red and the white.
And that the culture of the Bronx might be different from that of coastal Florida is no more unusual than the idea that the Algonquians might have been culturally different from the Pueblo peoples. Certainly, we can say that air travel and cultural mixing have changed things, drastically, over the past century, but those things have affected all of us.
My culture was assimilated by the Machine, too. Imagine that.
There is no culture that is “white” culture, no matter what the author says. The things she says about "the majority of white people" (what, globally? in New York? In small town USA? in Bosnia? I know my ancestors, thanks, lots of folks do) don't apply to me, nor to many people I know. The descriptions that she gave for her perception of what “white culture” might be, or is, offended me, beyond offense. My friends and I who sat on the beach all day and smoked weed and played frisbee as kids had a culture, and I don't care much about how she feels about it. Why are those fireworks, invented by the Chinese, about ugly white American culture? I don't like them, either, lots of folks do, and they're not all white. Why, that people take a day to give thanks, and no, it's not about the horrors of what happened between the colonials and the natives, most know that now, nobody ever gave thanks for horrors, we gave thanks for the lies we were told, and believed, and it made it not a celebration of killing others, not at all, you can go there, don't worry, if you celebrated that, I never did. Neither did my parents. That perhaps we hoped that the one we were sweet on might give us a 10 cent valentine, or that Santa Claus Jesus would give the good girls and boys gifts, like Karma, is not evil. A whole lot like karma, that legend went, how non white of us, we’d already heard of karma, same thing, different terms. How dare I use that term, that idea from the Noosphere, not white.
Every culture on earth has traditions, and none are based on thinking oneself a horrifically bad guy.
Lots of folks are very serious about their Christian Christmas, and it’s not about bling, or junk, at all. We’re quite diverse. We're not all white. We don't lack culture. We just lack a common one, just like black people and brown people and people from Africa (so big) and the East (so diverse) lack a common one.
But in my neighborhood we were mostly white, not all, and we mixed, imagine that, in fact, the few kids of color were “unique” enough to be automatically pretty cool, and all of our parents (or fathers at least) had “served” during WWII, the folks they were warring with were mostly white folks, go figger, and certainly, very few of our fathers had grand ideas about taking over the world, they mostly got drafted or were mad as heck at Hitler and the Japanese, justly or not.
Just people, just like you, and me, and that one over there.
Yes, black lives matter, and I get the sentiment, right now. There is racial injustice in the US, if we want to assume something called race, and a whole lot about that is about poverty, which is about race, and things that happened so long before I was born it’s painful to be blamed for it. That the folks who were here when Europeans showed up were treated so badly just sucks. I didn’t do it. If I could bring people out of poverty, I would. I can’t, I’m not so far out of it myself.
But our fathers, in my neighborhood fought that war between whites, just like the wars that (probably, we’re not sure) existed between tribal peoples on the American continent before whitey got here, those that existed in New Guinea, or Africa before Africa was overrun by those seeking the almighty dollar. The agriculture which many think drove the drive, originated not among white European people, no, whatever white people might’ve existed before the great march of humanity across the globe were marched across as surely as any, we’re pretty darned sure it didn’t originate in white western Europe, agriculture, or wherever there might first have been white people.
White comes from evolving at high latitude, not much sun, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t make you an asshole.
Let’s blame the Dutch. Or the Spaniards. They’re white enough, unless you go south too far. Or maybe the dark skinned folks (or pre-folks) who first walked out of Africa, maybe it’s all their fault, this mess the world is in.
How dare she lump all white people into, and exclude others from, that thing she describes as “white culture”. The world eating money machine, that thing she described, the tacky crap at Christmas, or whatever the holy or not holy day for the rich, no, it is not white culture. I’ve not done Christmas in a very, very long time, nor any of those non-holy days. Maybe she should call it Christian culture, she seems to have zoomed in on that group of white folks, many of whom aren't white (or very Christian). The sports thing? Hello? We aren’t nearly so obsessed as the whole wide not white world is with REAL football, soccer. Do you know where La Crosse came from, and how obsessive those matches?
The one she describes is the culture of people with too much money and too little spirituality, too little love of earth and other people, people of all sorts of colors and from all sorts of places, perhaps the one she grew up in. The Taj Mahal is decadent, it’s not a tower of justice, as are the Great Pyramids, symbols of inequity, the Mayan temples, not the homes of humble, peace loving folks, no, not at all, and not white folks, either.
It’s probably the men’s fault.
Sure, all those folks had culture. So did we, and it wasn’t all awful. It wasn’t based on skin color any more than anyone else’s was. The folks who inspired the blog piece had no interest in colonizers. I don’t either. Get out of my skin.
The map that shows us the ecological footprint of people from various places doesn’t explain to us that one (not the only one, no) reason India and Africa look so incredibly “good” is only because there are so many people living in the dirt, abject poverty, starving to death, while a few very wealthy ones, some white, many not white, look the other way. We’ll get there soon, don’t worry, here in the US where our footprints are big, there, where they're small. It’s not all that, the not starving, that makes our footprints so big, no, the World Killing Machine has convinced many of us, white and black and brown, that the Whole World can live in air conditioned luxury, soon we’ll enslave AI, live forever, and then we can all kill the earth as a unit, collectively.
This awful white culture of ours has laws that suggest equality and collective action is something we believe in, even if the rich folks have taken that from us, go figure, that's just how horrible we are.
Shall we adopt a formal caste system based on bucks or birth to disavow our whiteness? Do those cultures with wealthy folks, those folks driving the machine, folks whose skin is not some shade of brown, but not white USA, or Western Europe, do they count as white, or something else?
Are they all awful, too, those other whitish folks, or the tannish ones, or do their cultures (they have them, rest assured) not count? Are their cultures pristine, beautiful, non-violent things of beauty, are only Americans ugly? Only white folks?
Not all white folks are intentional colonizers, or without deep spiritual practice, or are ready to cover every surface with lights and cheap plastic crap during peak retail season, not even among the Christians. Not all want to play Native American, many are willing to stand and fight with the Sioux to protect water, a thing we all share. Not all of us disrespect nature, or folks not quite pale enough. Not even most of us. Look at the laws of the land, followed or not. Lots of not very pale people do all sorts of heinous stuff. Pale makes me nervous, it’s what kept me out of molecular biology when I went back to school, those folks who lived down in the labs all day were pasty white, they didn’t get outside enough.
And none of us can decide what we’ll be born, now, can we?
There is incredible inequity and greed and cheap plastic crap and amorality in the US, and in white western Europe, and white Eastern Europe, and poverty, too, and gods, I guess we need to get out the skin tone chart as we move around the world. Those things exist in Africa. And China. And India. Pretty much everywhere. We didn’t invent those things here, well, maybe the plastic, but not the culture, no. The UK didn’t invent it, either. Neither did Spain, nor Alexander, as he conquered the world. Maybe it was the Greeks, Aristotle. He was white enough, I guess.
There’s also plenty of bigotry here, and loathing of self and other. I don’t hate myself, or my whiteness, well, except for when I’ve not spent enough time, outside, in the sun, at all. I don’t hate the other, either, not based on something like skin tone, how silly is that?
The culture that's eating the world? The inequity? Material wealth, well, I can get a little judgmental about the haves vs. the have nots, certainly based on work done, or merit, or theft, for sure. That the CEO makes more money than the janitor is wrong, nothing white about it. That the CEO is more likely to be white sucks, that is becoming less and less a reality, good, yes, same thing with the skin tone of the janitor. The disparity in what they get paid is getting worse and worse. That’s not white culture, it’s money culture and it sucks.
Don’t hate yourself, or me, just because we’re white, please. There’s enough hatred in the world already.
It always makes me a little sad to see folks dis Darwin. It doesn’t matter from which side of his evolutionary coin the disser shows no respect, that’s what dissing means, be it the one who calls him a Blasphemer (I know a guy who would use that term, a freaking scientist) for suggesting that Humanity was not laid down Perfectly Intact by the hand of White God (on day 6 I guess, since 7 was rest day), because we’re so special, that fool I can actually forgive more readily than the one who uses Darwin's name in connection with any aspect of evolutionary theory with which the disser disagrees.
Often something for which Darwin carries little or no responsibility, that particular aspect.
Darwin put forth a few pretty basic ideas, not perfect, no, but damned good. He knew nothing of DNA, or genes, or heredity beyond the same thing lots of folks knew about selective breeding, but he was also well read, and did tons of freaking field work, I mean, the Dude totally earns my respect for the Voyage of the Beagle, and the rigorous lab work that followed, it’s always less fun than the field work, even if it was kind of a rich kid’s natural history dream job, it weren’t no easy job, and no matter what anyone says about anything, what he inferred from those data and the reading he did was bloody brilliant.
Brilliant, over the top, super simple, great ideas usually are. All hail Darwin (and Wallace, not now).
Now, again, his ideas weren’t perfect. He was lacking in so much data, it isn’t even funny. But the thing is that One Big Idea, and no, he did not invent the idea of evolution, he came up for ONE of SEVERAL mechanisms by which it might occur, all basically about what works and what doesn’t and who has sex and who doesn’t, and proposed them as just that, ideas, mechanisms that might explain an alternative to the hypothesis of divine (White God) creation and also explain the unity and diversity and biogeography of life on earth.
We won’t get into non-white god creation right now. I think Darwin would like the ideas emerging around it.
What happened to Darwin's ideas over time, with new data, is really quite cool, lots of it, we’ve learned a lot, we know how important diversity, we get endosymbiosis and horizontal gene flow, we know the importance of behavior, we’re even starting to understand the sentience of the earth, at all levels of scale, throw in some community ecology and Gaian theory and the evolution of the planet is like, way wicked cool, exciting, unless of course it turns out to mean wiping out humanity because we’re such pains in the Gaian butt.
So I started listening to a thing about evolution, and the guy was attributing gradualism to Darwin, and saying it’s so wrong, it’s all about punctuated equilibrium, both those ideas pretty post Darwinist, and the thing is that both of those ideas are right, it’s just a matter of scale, that equilibrium part is where in the gradual happens, Darwin's time scales were still in question, just like in many ways Dawkins and his memes are as correct and brilliant even if his selfish genes aren't so much, still, the meme is as great a concept as Darwin's natural selection and reproductive success, both super contributors to the knowledge pool, but neither one the guy with all the correct answers.
And I hear the same dissing happening by the same crowd talking about genes and Darwin in the same sentence as if Darwin had any knowledge of genes, and what they are. He didn’t. And if anyone wants to argue that reproductive success (or at least sex) is not one thing (not the only thing, no, but one), the safety and security and survival of one’s offspring, or species, or population, that it is not important to every living thing on earth (except maybe some people), well, I’d argue that one all day long.
Please, don’t dis Darwin. He rocked.
Stephen King is one of those writers who can just spew it out, tons of it, like, hyperemesis style, a term I learnt not too long ago, and in a way that’s super readable, because it’s stream of consciousness stuff, written in the way that people talk, and think, and not so much in the way so many folks write.
His stuff is not all super readable for me, no matter how readably written, because he does tend to spiral off into some pretty sick and twisted horror, and some stuff just so cheesy (and I love cheese) in its silliness or gore or out there unbelieveableness (a word I just invented, so easy to understand, readable, even) that it does nothing for me and no matter how well developed the characters (most of them are, another of SK’s skills) and how quaint the language, I’m not interested.
But I decided while staying in Machias, a place where the fog is thick and the woods dense and rusted out old single wides are scattered among fine old mansions and huge, ornate churches and broken down barns and gun shops and the general vibe of True Mainers, a tough lot indeed, that reading Stephen King’s new one while I was in the basement in Bangor might be fun, that maybe I could channel a little of Steve’s action, don’t know if he goes by Steve, probably not Steph, funny how ph can be pronounced like a v, fun with vonics, language is so odd, at least English, and so I downloaded his latest, called the Outsider, since I so frequently feel like one, and read it over the course of a couple of days.
I’m not the wormy kind of outsider in the book, at all, thank goodness.
It’s reasonably well written cheese, good character development, gruesome gore, right off, awful stuff, and man, it’s spooge covered, Steve calls it splooge, but then he also writes fracking instead of freaking or fricking, I mean, fracking is about natural gas and dirty water, but then, he’s a Mainer, which explains the fact that he talks funny, and a man, which explains the spooge, but yeah, he didn’t quite capture Oklahoma, he got Texas a little bit, but then, he’s a Mainer, so, not all that much, but that’s fine, and his riches will grow through production of that work, I’m sure. And given his level of riches, I’m pretty confident he can write whatever he wants, and add to them, and he seems to, so I hope he’s doing something good with all that wealth.
But I digress.
It was readable. I wasn’t ever afraid, and my horror wasn’t the same kind of horror that Misery or Cujo elicited, those stories that weren’t so far out and could have actually been true. The Stand, well, it was way cool, I kind of dug it, even if kind of far out, and what’s funny is that it’s not nearly so far out to me as it once seemed to be, particularly if I stretch my metaphorical imagination a bit.
But the thing is, Stephen King’s most exceptional work (IMHO) is to be found in his non-horror stories. Stand By Me, or I guess it was called the Body, I just saw the movie for the first time a few weeks ago, have seen almost none of the movies had of his work, but The Body, beautiful. The Shawshank Redemption (saw that one, too). Epic, even if it was hard to read now and then, kind of like watching Schlinder’s List, painful as hell, gruesome and brutal sometimes, right up until the Redemption at the end of it.
I so wish Stephen King would move away from little boys raped with big sticks and focus that brilliant and creative mind of his on the beautiful, on the kid standing by the train tracks communing with the deer in the Maine woods, the two old jail mates living out their days on the beach after wrongs had be righted.
There’s more than enough horror in the world without imagining more of it into existence.
So yesterday I had a to-do list, and it included getting a ME driver’s license, I discovered that it’s easy up here, all one needs is a resident fishing license, and a body can get one of those online, easy peasy, and I am residing here, so there you go, so I went to get a new license.
Since it’s a 55 mile drive to the BMV, they don’t call it the DMV here, they’ve got a Bureau up here, like, not a chest of drawers, but a department, so why they don’t just call it the DMV I don’t know, unless they want to be unique or were first or something, but since I had to drive that far I figured I’d also get my oil changed, and since I needed to have my fishing license on hand I needed to print, and the library was right around the corner from the DMV, or BMV, and it was in a really quaint old New England house, a very pleasant library, and oddly enough, even thought it was in a steel shed type building, the BMV (got it right the first time) was really pleasant, too.
Happy people working there.
And I interacted with both of them, it was way silly, they had one of those number machines, and a real fancy one, they used it, it talked, and directed us to the two windows, and it had options for tests and licenses and tags and something else, I don’t recall, but like I got two different numbers, because I came in and got a number and got immediately called (there was like, 1 person waiting) and started and learned that I also needed my passport, and I thought for a minute, and sure enough, it was out in the van, so I went and dug it out and came back in a pulled another number and got called immediately again by the other woman who worked there.
Both were super nice.
But it occurred to me while I was working with the second woman that I was going to have to get my driver’s license picture taken, and I’d not prepared, I mean, I brushed my hair in the morning and put it into a really sloppy single braid, didn’t even have a hairbrush with me, and it’s way humid up here, and so it was probably frizzy, and I’d already done the oil change and library time, wasn't sure if I’d washed my faced in the morning, I definitely didn’t shower, and was pretty sure I was about to get my five year driver’s license picture taken looking pretty disheveled and awful.
But I thought phuck it, this is what I look like, and I backed myself up to the green wall, or maybe it was blue, I don’t recall, but I backed myself up there and looked at the dot and tried to smile a natural smile, and it wouldn’t come, and she took the shot, and I looked at it on the monitor, and it was hellish, and I thought “oh fine, whatever”, and she and I looked at each other, and I said "fine, whatever", and she smiled and said "no way".
She said “No, that’s just awful, let’s try again. Push your hair back a little or something.” She pointed to the spot on the picture where the mess was messiest.
We tried again. It got a little better, but not much. She was awesome, made me laugh, right out loud. I might visit again today to change my mailing address, something we’d discussed, well, not that I could change it at this point, but I’m thinking I can, what with those new fangled computers they’ve got in there with their new fangled talking number system.
I wish like heck they’d had one of those new fangled driver’s license making machines.
Understanding Why Female (and not male) Fecundity Matters and other Mental Meanderings on Control of Human Population Growth
Assume a population of 100 males and 100 females, a population whose size one wants to control.
Assume someone suggests sterilizing 99% of one gender to control population size.
If one sterilizes 99% of the females, population growth will come to a screeching halt as humanity waits for that one woman to produce the next generation.
If one sterilizes 99% of the males, population growth might slow, but only to the degree to which that one guy can’t provide sperms, and given that a single ejaculation can deliver more than enough sperm to impregnate every one of the 100 women, he doesn’t exactly have to be Joe Studmuffin, nor is he inhibited from further fathering for nine months.
In addition, not Joe Studmuffin can produce incredible genetic diversity via recombination with his billions and billions of sperm, and, well, Jane is really quite limited with her not very many eggs.
That might be part of that book/series about the handmaid, which didn’t do it for me, at all, so I didn’t finish reading or even really begin watching, the idea that a few guys who really, really considered themselves worthy (so, like, not Wayne and Garth, who knew how unworthy they were, imagine that) of being the sires of Future Humanity, like, maybe Don and Vlad, those types, that they might just be the guys to provide the offspring for us all.
I’d prefer Wayne and Garth, thanks.
Suppose we sterilize 99% of the population as a whole. Well, for one thing, genetic diversity sure would suffer, bigly, and really, I mean, who is going to decide who the 1% gets to be, and if it’s the 1% with the money, boy, are they ever going to be in deep crap when their generation gets old and dies and TNG is stuck trying to figure out how to live without the 99% to take care of them, and while that might bring population growth the a screeching halt, I doubt it, because that 1% that gave themselves the right to reproduce is likely of an ilk to want to keep giving themselves that right, it’s a drive, and most everyone likes sex, it’s kind of part of what it means to be a human animal, and who is going to even do the sterilizing, unless it’s like, chemical.
But then there are those, and I suspect one just commented, FB put one of those annoying notices up on the screen, telling me someone has commented, I’ve not looked, those who would suggest that we’re not animals, or maybe that okay, (and haha, I just read it, and he did) but technically we are, but since we are such wise, wise animals, we can make rational decisions about reproduction and population control, like, limit each pair to two offspring or maybe one person to one offspring but then there are twins, and so that would be a problem, one isn’t going to kill one of them, and there are things like fines, but then that favors the rich, like everything else does, and the idea of things like forced sterilization and forced abortion are pretty awful, at least to me.
And there are other not way more awful solutions, which would work, like, simply producing food in a way that’s more sensible, and even Earth friendlier, imagine that. Produce less food, produce fewer consumers of that food. Do away with agricultural practices that create wild excesses of food (and yes, there are wild excesses of food, right now), that kill so much of life, that destroy the soil, and we’ll stop producing wild excesses of people, it really is that simple.
And what’s really cool about that is that we’d likely stop producing wild excesses of wildly excessive people, like, Americans who don’t think twice about wasting those wild excesses of food, which most have no clue about what it takes to grow, and provide, which is the way natural selection tends to work, the totally clueless suffer. I’d far rather maintain human genetic diversity than keep marching blindly into the Idiocracy, which is what “education” as a strategy for population control seems to have done.
But then idiot is one of those terms that’s not very nice, even if it was rather a dystopian movie, it was a comedic one, and so, so spot on (I mean who’da thunk that pro wresting and the presidency would really ever get together???) but then, that’s me, and humanity just doesn’t look all that wise these days, I mean, even those who are intellectually gifted seem to be really lacking in common sense sometimes.
That’s what they call this region of the US, that and Down East, which is so freaking silly, because there’s nothing down about it, even if it is really east. I like my own term, Nostril of the Nation. But the Bold Coast works really well for me, too, because I grew up just north of the Gold Coast, on the Spaced Coast, or at least that’s what we always called it.
But I like boldness, always have, was e-chatting about it just the other day with family, online, and I like coasts, particularly the eastern one in the US, it’s got that Atlantic Ocean thing going on, and way up here, Down East, it’s got mountains and big trees, too, and it’s not so freaking hot and humid, not like that Gold Coast, or the Spaced Coast, both of which are also way, way too crowded now. The Gold Coast has been for a long time, maybe it's that lust for gold thing, and the Bold Coast is in fact, weather wise, just about perfect this time of year.
In the winter time, I imagine not so much.
After an afternoon and night here in this space I’ve decided that this used to be an old folks home, my host didn’t tell me that, but just the layout of it and, well, the way it feels, the ramp up to the entry that dominates the entrance at my end of the complex, the slight change of vibe and layout and such as one moves to the entry at the other end, and to use the word complex almost seems too big, because really, there are probably only twenty or thirty small “rooms” that have been turned into ten or so little suites, many empty and being modified, and the kitchen area I’m currently sitting in strikes as having not always been thus, kitcheny, more likely a room more like the one I sleep in, next door, on the other side of the shared bath, which has its handholds and such.
It just feels like a skilled or assisted living space, perhaps both, the two sides thing, particularly when I sit in the recliner with a throw over my legs to keep the chill off, I feel like a feeble little old lady who sits in a recliner with a throw over her legs all day. It's a little disconcerting.
That and the fact that an ER doc I think owns it or at least is in partnership on it, methinks the former, because he does lots of the work himself, even some “maid” work, mostly because the service he’d hired wasn’t good, but certainly lots of grunt work himself, as yesterday he hauled mattresses in and out, (he offered me a new(er) one, as the brand new one I slept on is noisy, and it is, a noisy mattress, not the springs, not the bed frame, but the mattress, odd that), but he also hauled stuff out to the dumpster, lots of stuff recyclable and not dumpster material at all, sad that, worked pretty hard all afternoon before taking off for 8 days duty at a hospital out of town, thank goodness he's got a PA to mostly do the night shifts for him, or so he says.
ER docs often travel from place to place. So do nurses, etc. It’s one of the perks of a life in healthcare, you’re needed everywhere, and can travel, if that’s your thing. He told me that I’m his first Airbnb, that he has mostly rented longer term to visiting nurses and hospital employees, but also to some other locals into efficiency living, and visitors for the longer term, too.
My neighbors here are a med tech, night shift supervisor at the local hospital, exactly the job I once had, a PA, very pretty, very friendly with my host, my host, occasionally, when he’s in town here, whose father was president of the university from which I earned my second BS and doctorate during most of my time there, met the guy more than once, a guy who retired a year or so before I left there for good, my host a guy who now works at the same hospital I worked at, in Tempe, three thousand miles away, all world and all that, and two young men on a mission.
Literally. I knew it the minute I saw them, and I saw them pretty soon after I got here, because when I got here was a mess, the space I’d rented was a mess, livable, but I’d have had to do an hour or more of housework to just put it in order, and I was tired, and the woman who “might” be home when I got here and could help wasn’t, and as soon as I contacted my host he was super apologetic because he knew what a mess it was, he put me in another, and it's smaller, but faces east and not west, I like that, but the two young men were out there where I got here, and I asked if they lived here and they said yes, but they knew nothing and could not assist in my dilemma, and so you might wonder how I knew they were on a mission, and I’ll tell you.
They were of an age, somewhere in the out of high school and maybe in college or maybe not yet age range, like, 18-22. The were dressed in just such a way, in dress slacks and white shirt, maybe even ties. The haircuts were similar, and short, super well groomed. One had an acoustic guitar he was applying decorations of some kind to, spraying with something stinky, some kind of sealant perhaps, and when I inquired, they were super polite, nice kids. I bet I could tell you what their underwear looked like.
Latter Day Saints, out saving souls, or trying to at least. My host confirmed it for me. You can look the underwear thing up.
Today I will explore the Bold Coast; I'm not sure why it's called that, perhaps I'll find out. It’s a beautiful day, and my host suggests I’ll like it. I think so, too.
A friend posted something the other day about leaving the US and becoming a Canadian citizen, one alternative many Americans have considered in response to the Trump presidency. Well, Canada is one alternative for those of us who have considered expatriation. I suppose expatriation is an alternative some folks haven’t considered. Yet.
But the friend of the friend who responded, she is apparently one of those who hasn’t considered expatriation, responded in a way I found most repugnant, and my friend kind of found it that way, too, with the question “How’s your 401K doing?”
I mean, it’s not just that I disliked the response, I think I kind of puked a little. I might have been the massive beef and onions burrito I’d just downed, but I’m pretty sure it was the idea that the woman’s 401K held more importance than basic human rights.
I find that kind of pukey. Perhaps FB needs a pukey emoticon, it was national (or maybe international, who knows, who cares?) emoticon day just the other day. I’d give that one a pukey emoticon, too, but then, that might be circular feeling. Emoticons don’t think.
And this is how Donald Trump gets to be President. Americans think that their 401K matters more than the child of that immigrant who's been put in a cage. Pukey.
My friend gets that. She did make the comment that since the current administration was likely to completely gut social security, her 401K might come in handy. It got me thinking about social security, not that program that FDR came up with, no, but the concept of a person being secure in society.
Social security is something I always supported, well, we all did, financially, we weren’t given any choice in the matter, but philosophically I did, too. Perhaps that’s because when I was still a minor child, we lived on Disability for a while while my dad was still living. He’d contributed to the system all of this professional life, he was laid off shortly before becoming eligible for retirement benefits from his employer, his health was shot, he couldn’t find a job that would support us all, and so we became wards of the nation state.
After his death, I was still a minor, I also benefitted from Social Security as I started out life on my own. It counted me as dependent on my mother, it helped the household, and then dependent on my passed father when I enrolled in the local junior college, there wasn’t a local senior college, not public, so definitely, I benefitted from it and understood its intent and purpose.
I considered both good.
And indeed, during my own working life, the annual report that Uncle Sam sent telling me what I could expect to receive at age 65 or 62 or 68, based on my input to the system (one would think that need might count more than input, if we’re looking for security in society, but what do I know?), and indeed, it made me feel somewhat secure about the idea that some day I could quit working like a slave full time and still have a life, with benefits.
And when the IRS started giving me grief (it really didn’t grieve me, at all, but it’s a phrase, I’ll use it) about what they decided I owed for cashing in that money I’d saved outside the system of Governmental Social Security (hahaha), I wrote and told them that I didn’t expect to live to see 62 or 65 or 68 (not really untrue; I didn’t expect to live to see 30, once upon a time), and that I’d be more than happy to have them deduct what they thought I owed from that, since I’d already paid it, rather than to just keep tacking on ridiculous interest rates (where does the IRS come up with its rate of interest???) on to what I didn’t intend to pay.
Well, I might not have told them that I didn’t intend to pay, but I didn’t, because frankly, I’d already paid into a program of Social Security I was getting more and more convinced I’d never see, and the things that the US government mostly pays for, including itself, well, I have no interest in paying for. I’d rather pay to disassemble it, or at least attempt to repair it before disassembly proves the only option.
I’m pretty sure that Social Security is about relationship. It’s not about having one’s government take money to pay for things that do not secure society, at all. The things that government pays the most for these days make society very insecure.
So the other day I was watching TV (sad, I know), and it was probably that show with Detective Stabler, such a douche (he’s not real, I can call him that and not hurt his feelings), and the cops were searching someone’s apartment, and they opened the kitchen cupboard, and the dishes were all arranged neatly, and they declared the person OCD.
Obsessive. Compulsive. Disordered.
Bite. My. Butt.
My kitchen cabinets have mostly always looked pretty much like those of the mad rapist they were calling OCD (his raped and murdered victims weren’t very neat, at all), and it’s not because I’m obsessive, or compulsive, and it sure as hell isn’t because I’m disordered.
I’m tidy. In my world, there’s a place for everything, and if everything is in its place, it’s really easy to find. I don’t have to go digging through piles of chaos every time I want to interact with something that lives with me.
Once upon a time, cleanliness was pretty big in my world, too, and it even still is, to some degree, except now I’m blind as a bat and so can’t always see things like how clean I’ve gotten those dishes that will be neatly arranged back into their place in the cupboard after I’ve washed them. Or not.
The or not is part of the story, I’ll get there.
But it wasn’t obsessive or compulsive cleanliness, that which I maintained, it was simply about the fact that I often get dirty, and then everything I touch or interact with tends to get dirty, too, I’m kind of a sloppy cook and eater, and we don’t even want to get into tracking earth everywhere when the shoes don’t slip off easily, and when there’s a man (or woman) or two in the house who aren’t ordered, so they’re the freaking disordered ones, not me, and during open windows season, when there’s pollen around, well, cleaning has to happen, at least in my world, and if one works full time+ the cleaning often has to happen when it has to happen, and there’s nothing obsessive or compulsive about it.
I looked both of those words up, to make sure. I didn’t need to look up disorder, it’s a no brainer.
And I don’t even need to test any hypothesis about whether or not I’m OCD, because as I live on the road, when I live in a place, I move in for a week or more and just trash it, dirty nearly every dish, strew stuff hither and yon, cast dirty laundry about, and live comfortably in utter chaos until I tidy and blindly clean it all up in preparation for moving out.
Diagnoses irritate me almost as much as taxonomy does. Disorder, well, it happens.
It’s one of those crimes that has at least once upon a time been punishable by death. Like rape. While I suppose I could stretch my imagination as far as possible and try to get really indignant about the idea of a man over-powering a woman and physically and sexually assaulting her (I don’t recall any death penalty for beatings, unless fatal) and think that maybe if he did it over and over without remorse that he should be put to death, but really, probably not, no.
Treason? Really? Boy, doesn't that one ring of that line about holding no other gods before the one telling you what to do?
So treason is one of the things or words I guess that I’ve seen in association with D. Trump (de Trump, perhaps) and Vlad (the impaler? I’ve heard he gets around with the ladies) and the most recent US presidential election, that event of which I prefer not to be reminded but can seem never to forget, and the idea that Vlad and or de Trump did anything any worse than Hillary and her honchos did, well, hahahahahahahaha.
And in terms of treason, well, I fell pretty freaking treasonous, like, more and more every single day. Many people with whom I’m acquainted feel exactly the same way, and none of them are exactly hard core radicals. If we could overthrow this government without putting Pence in in lieu of de Trump, I’m all for it, and I say stuff like that right out loud, all the time.
I’m treasonous, bigly. America was born of treason.
But then we go and decide that if we Americans feel treasonous, it’s life imprisonment. That’s way more profitable these days than the death penalty. That’s America for you, land of the free and home of the brave, until it’s not any longer.
The veils are thin in some places.
Now, as non-scientific as that might sound, and I’m almost kind of tempted to look in great detail at the physics of channeling, something I didn’t know existed, I’m ignorant of so much, but it isn’t so much the physics of channeling the new agers talk about, but is, maybe, but only because physics can’t really present it in a new age kind of way, or physicists just don't think like I do, and lots of the new agers apparently just kind of empirically dumb luck onto knowledge that the physicists phuck around with for years, uncertain.
But at any rate, that veils phrase is one I’ve heard before, and have experienced, and in fact always when I read about paranormal non-local phenomena, like, weirdness at a distance, entanglement and such, there’s also always something intuitively niggling at me about local phenomena, like, to specific places, and or in proximity to entangled entities.
In terms of place, well, there’s lot of thinking out there about that, and since we’re earthbound, those are the phenomena I’d term geophysical. They’re earthy, and palpable. Rupert Sheldrake goes quite a bit into sacred places in his book on science and spirituality.
There are places that seem to acquire, well, thin veils, open channels if you will, through years of spiritual practice there. That makes perfect sense within the context of morphic resonance, relationship, the way relationship shapes everything. Sacred spaces can be created by way of sacred practice there.
But there are other places, those without any long term human presence, places that serve as passageways to other realms perhaps, who knows, but places that people intuitively sense as holy. There are sites around the world, vortices perhaps, maybe they’re places where ions move in just such a way through the atmosphere as to allow interaction with some higher power.
The physicist’s use the term channeling to describe quantum phenomena in solid crystals. Basically it describes how impacts with atomic surfaces on crystals influence movement of charged particles, something unpredictable in homogeneous or unstructured media. Sheldrake writes quite a bit about lightning strikes and holy places: lightning, the movement of charged particles.
The mountains of western Maine feel so markedly different from the nearly identical mountains of southern Vermont it is difficult to describe. I visited that same town in Vermont twice, and both times, the vibe there was dull, depressive, no matter how pretty the landscape. This town in Maine looks so similar, has similar population density (quite low), my connection to nature is just about the same here that it was there, beautiful. But it’s different here.
The veils are thin here.
So, channeling is one of those things I never much believed in, having been trained to evaluate everything through the lens of science and critical thinking and common sense, and having never experienced it, which was always my number one criterion anyway, it was easy to reject.
Then the cosmic science guy came along, and while I’d heard quite a few folks say they’d channeled this thing or that, and some pretty recently even, they all had kind of a new age silliness about them that allowed me to reject it pretty readily as imaginary. CSG didn’t fit that descriptor, at all. He was really bright, and well educated, and as the meme content of our conversations grew, it became obvious that he had lots of rationally acquired knowledge in that head of his, and I respected it.
He didn’t claim to have channeled anything. He told me that I had.
And oddly enough, that explanation was as good as any I’d come up with myself for the very bizarre experience I’d had several years before. I’d always thought of it as a time jump (hey, that’s not any more irrational than CSG’s explanation), that I’d somehow jumped twenty or thirty years into the future and then back, but CSG said no, what had happened was that I’d channeled some little old lady’s energy off her old bread machine and experienced her thoughts and feelings.
It’s an explanation, like I said, about as good as what I’d come up with. Thing is, I liked both of those explanations better than what others had offered, which was that I’d imagined it.
But today, I read a piece by a friend about talking to trees, and listening to what they have to say in response. Thing is, I’ve talked to plants my whole life, trees, houseplants, I’ve even cursed the spurge I was pulling quite a lot, it’s not always been sweet talk.
The conversation got deep while I was doing research in the desert; I often spent pre-dawn to dusk in the desert, alone, working with the plants. Olneya saved my life. Larrea blew me away with how tough it was, with how well it managed in that hellish environment, its skill in pulling water up from apparently nowhere.
When pruning trees, I’ve always consulted the tree. The butchery I committed against the shrubs in the name of quantifying the damage done by such butchery was done for naught; the damage continues. My research does not, thank the gods.
But the guy who wrote the piece on talking to the trees suggested that perhaps what the trees tell us in response is imagined, not channeled. It’s one of those questions I’ve asked myself, far more than once, ever since the plants (et al.) started talking back. Ah, empiricism.
Of course, just after the piece on talking to plants, one by Daniel Pinchbeck rolled into the queue, which included an excerpt from his book 2012 about what he’d channeled from a Mayan spirit in the Amazon. And since my accidentally in the right place at the right time life took me down to a Mayan site in 2012 just before the end of the world and so much of that book that I read just a few months ago was so spot on with my experience down there, after I had it, hadn’t read it yet, and the experiences that have been part of the non-stop roller coaster ride of my life since that time, well, my empirical experience and Daniel’s descriptions of what he experienced and channeled and the things the CSG told me lead me to pretty much accept channeling as something that happens, particularly with folks who’ve opened up those doorways of perception, and since I’ve seen (not so much heard) and thought so much bizarre seemingly out of nowhere stuff in the past few years, stone cold sober for most of it, well, yes, I believe.
Really recently I had one of those experiences, not heard, no, I thought it, or felt it, but a thought, or a bunch of them, a knowing, not one thing, but like, a 10,000 word essay, one that was written as pure feeling, entered the pit, and the heart, so suddenly, and responsively, and in such a way as to bring incredible joy where grief and misery had just been sitting, even if not a joyous and easy response, the response was all I needed to find some peace.
Was it channeled? I don’t know. They guy who tells me that maybe it’s imagined, maybe our hearts already know the answer, well, his answer is reassuring, sweet, in a way. Pinchbeck is more of a bitch (I like bitches); he tells me that I’ve got my answer, I can listen to it or suffer the consequences. Both are saying the same thing, really.
Channel surfing is a lot like real surfing. Sometimes, one catches a wave and takes an incredible ride. Sometimes, a person gets body whomped on the shore. Methinks maybe it takes practice to get good at it. Believing in it is a great place to start.
“Agape is a Greco-Christian term referring to love, the highest form of love, charity, and the love of God for man and of man for God”, thank you Wikipedia. I’d add Buhner’s bit about Gaian love, beloved of Gaia, in love with Gaia, because lots of that Greco-Christian stuff forgets all about Gaia, by which I am beloved.
Gaia told me so. I love Gaia, too.
Anyway, that’s not the way I’ve used that sequence of English cum Latin alphabetic characters strung together of late, no, I’ve used it to describe the state I’ve been in since November 2016 and really even slightly before that, during that particular election season, but certainly since after that, like, January 2017, that fateful time period that marked the onset of Donald Trump’s presidency, his somehow managing to get elected, despite all of his most diligent efforts not to, and the subsequent stuff that he’s done, and said, and enacted, as he’s fumbled his way along, pretty much unopposed, or not stopped anyway, and so I’ve used that sequence of letters, agape, to describe how I’ve spent much of my time over the course of the past couple of years, particularly during the morning hours as I read what’s going on in the world outside and his part in it or if I read some stream of babble that he’s spewed.
You gotta love the guy. Agape love.
So at first, I kind of wanted to challenge him to a wrestling match, or I guess I did, challenge him, but I did it in the way that I always do such things, babbling to myself, or on Facebook, and that’s part of it, I mean, I’m the babble queen, W(ho)TF does he think he is, trying to babble, and doing even that badly, there’s a trick to it, but then I figured out that he’s actually a pretty big guy, physically, and he’d probably kick my butt if we wrestled, but at least we could put on a good show and it would be obvious that that was what his presidency was all about, reality TV.
I mean, it is obvious, isn’t it?
But the other day, I saw a much better show, well, I didn’t actually watch it, I passed it by, or saw it advertised, but basically it’s got celebrities of some kind, although I don’t know any of them, I’m not very good with famous people, unless they’ve been dead for 20 years, or are artists I like, you could probably line up the top 20 Oscar winners of the past quarter century and I could maybe name a few, but not many, but the show is famous people standing up and trash talking each other (Drop the Mic, it just came to me, the name of the show), rap style, making rhymes, until I guess one of them can’t out trash talk the other and has to give up and drop the mic and walk away.
They’re just plain rude about it, too, nasty.
The thing about agape love is that sometimes one has to set aside the wants and needs of the one in service to the whole. Now, I personally think that what little bit of that dropping the mic I saw was way over the top, I mean, they got all personal, and really, if one is going to trash talk the POTUS (or anybody for that matter) it shouldn’t have anything to do with hand size or hairdo or cognitive abilities, but rather one’s actions and how they might affect others.
So the other day I saw a meme of an up and coming female politician, fiery, and she was explaining to some idiot that she was a communist, and calling him an idiot, and reveling in her communism, and I can revel in that, too, her communism, and even in her gonads, but instead of calling him an idiot, I’m thinking silly goose might be a more productive term to use, if one wants to practice agape love.
She did smile nicely while calling him an idiot, which was good.
Maybe that’s the ticket. Thinking human beings, those with morals, and agape love, can start trash talking the unthinking, amoral, seemingly unfeeling folks in the nicest possible way. I mean, I look at Donald, I read the babble, my jaw drops, sometimes I even drool a little, yet I can’t raise any feelings of ill will for the guy, just pity, which is sad, and as tempting as it might be to call him a moron, silly goose seems so much nicer, even if it might be offensive to geese.
Heroes have been at the surface of the pit quite a bit of late, mostly as ideas roll around there for how to proceed with the stories which so want to be written, continued with, taken off hold, put back into motion. And it’s not just that, Joseph Campbell is available on Netflix now, great stuff, I’ve seen it before but started watching again last week, if you’ve not seen it, check it out.
Joe’s wheezing still reminds me of my Dad. Bill Moyers has aged pretty well.
But also there have been Facebook threads, that which mostly passes for conversation in my life, and I’d made the comment that I’m heroine of my own epics, and indeed, those stories which so want to be written, continued with, taken off hold, put back in motion, are epic, mostly fictional, rife with archetypes, but some are clearly autobiographical characters mused right out of the non-void, and they’ll be told, they’re coming, the stories, or at least I hope they are, and a very big part of that is recognizing that those stories are also rife with heroes not me.
One hero who shows up bigly in both has been sitting with me for days now.
To continue with Channel Surfing, I’ve got to address the death of the Cosmic Science Guy, because he’s still part of it, and man, as I finish with where I am in that story and make the changes that need to be made to continue onward from the place of oblivious good spirits I occupied when I stopped writing to the utter grief and despair (yeah, been there a time or two) that’s come in between, well, I’m not quite sure I want to go down that dark path just now.
The world really has shifted quite a bit in recent years, personally and globally.
But the other story, Tante’s story, well, when it comes down to it, Cosmic Science Guy was always intended to be one of the big heroes of that story. Each character is based on a person, or at least most are. That I wrote his “death” (but really not) into it so that he could save the day in the end, unaware (still, I’ve not looked, can’t look at the timing) that his time left here was very short, even if I knew it was not long, well, that was part of the utter grief and despair, and it pretty much freaked me out a bit, in all sorts of ways for all kinds of perhaps legitimate and perhaps not legitimate reasons.
Water is messy.
I’ve written for my internal self the option for the true story of CSG and that real past which is most comfortable to live with and hold it, unless and until someone changes it for me.
Cosmic Science Guy would like being one of the big heroes, I’m pretty sure. That his heroism will show up in the way that it does (and which has always been the intent) is totally ironic, particularly given rejection of that particular hypothesis in the Channel Surfing story. But not really, both stories developed at the same time, and CSG influenced both.
Tante will be Tante, ever confused, often amused. CSG continues to amuse.
The bubbling brook was at Clear Creek State Park, twenty or fifty meters from the old shingle saw mill I saw there, and photographed, thinking it was water powered, but maybe it was steam, but I think maybe water since it was there by the creek by the river, and by the bubbling brook, and was part of the historical bit with the forest and the use of that natural resource that is that forest, go team, go.
The bubbling brook didn’t have a sign, didn’t have any written words at all, or arrows indicating its presence, and really, I’d have missed it, despite the fact that its water ran right past my back door for a week, if it wasn’t for the guy with the red mohawk.
HIs name was (likely still is) Dan. As I stood looking at the old mill and taking its image, Dan excused himself as he approached, and asked if I’d seen the bubbling brook. Dan was a natural Ginger, more on the blonde than fiery side of the redheaded spectrum, fair skinned, too, with his hair cut in the perfect 3” Mohawk, a style I’d not seen in a very long time, and probably forty or so, a guesstimate based on his son’s and wife’s apparent ages. I told him no, I’d not seen it, the brook, but that I was called brook, but I more often babbled than bubbled, and he said that was fine, as his son called it the babbling brook and not bubbling. They’d named it, albeit differently.
But it did, in fact, bubble, and not so much babble.
Dan with the Mohawk led me back to the spot where the water came bubbling right on up out of the ground, no upstream source obvious or apparent. It wasn’t a boiling bubble, not hot water, no, just stream water that didn’t so much stream down, the way streams do, and certainly it looked like a stream down stream, but spring water, I guess, bubbling up in a springy kind of way back there behind the saw.
And me, with background in limnology and such, didn’t think about that. The bubbling spring. Not a brook at all.
The cabin at Clear Creek was nice enough, roomy, no water but yes refrigeration and cooking capacity. Cabins are too densely dispersed there, for sure. I was flanked by two year olds on both sides, the two-ish boy called Bubba (yeah, Bubba) got whacked when he’d run out into the road. I’m not sure he got that; I didn’t, but then, it’s one of those cultural things I’m not supposed to judge. The two-ish girl on the other side cried a lot, as two year olds often do, but I didn’t witness any whacking there, so don’t have to worry about being judgmental.
Even if I am.
Dan with the red mohawk also recommended I visit the big bear rocks thingie, and I never did, mostly because by the time I got close to that point in the park along the trails I’d taken, I was thinking about how to get back to the cabin without dropping from exhaustion. I do tire easily these days, or at least within a few miles. The trails were good, empty, as always it seems, nobody hikes, at least not early, and only a few spots with lots of steep, not too strenuous, even if they did wear me out.
Resting along the way is easy when hiking alone. With snacks and drinks and smokes and such, better yet.
The bridges across the stream were so slick I fell, twice, the second time while being über careful, using my sticks, holding the rail, in my real hikers, death traps, those bridges. My wounds have healed, nicely. Love walking with my snowshoe sticks, so glad I kept them. When I get the pace going, I feel four legged, and felt the other day how mountain goats can be so sure footed, what with being four legged for life and living on mountainsides. A body gets used to it.
Today, I’ll visit the park near here that accesses the Appalachian trail, assuming the weather holds. Clouds block the sunrise this morning, so maybe tomorrow.
Life is good.
It’s not easy for most of us, not in the US, not unless we tune our ears to it. If we’re unaware of its existence, it’s darned near impossible, what with the noise humanity is so wont to make full time. Even here, early morning in the Green Mountains of Vermont, I can hear traffic in the background, a low hum, just as clearly as the birdsong nearby.
Gaia isn’t speaking clearly to me right now.
Thing is, Gaia has spoken to me clearly a time or two. It’s not been frequent, even when off in the woods, alone, which I have been quite often of late, the voice is not directed, nor coherent, more like a song composed by wind and leaves, birds and squirrels, the flow of water, the murmur of a particular spot, the song that it sings at a given time of day, and year.
But a time or two, communication has been direct, and big, and responsive to a plea, or perhaps just responsive to surrender, those cracks that let the light in, and even if nearly impossible to articulate coherently, I could try, but it doesn’t feel right. I can only hold the hypothesis right now that the communication was from none other than the place itself, as I was pretty clearly communicating with it directly, just before it responded to me.
Or maybe I just imagined it.
What’s funny though, is that that particular spot was not all that quiet, even though many of the folks who attended the gig I was at have commented about the “noise” of the world back in real life. And the noise there was not a gentle noise, it was that of trains running by, like, all day, passenger trains on our side of the Hudson, freight trains on the other, echoing in the valley.
Still, Gaia’s voice was powerful there. Perhaps its because there were lots of folks present who’d heard it before, folks who knew how to listen, folks receptive to it. Perhaps that’s the ticket for humanity; not to gather and attempt to transmit, but rather to gather and receive.
Perhaps how to listen to the voice of Gaia is the most powerful thing we can learn, as a species, the next step in our evolution. Or maybe I just imagined it.
Not guys named Edward, and I was about to say, or at least type, and I met a guy who runs a typewriter shop, I mean, how cool is that, that I’ve known lots of ‘em, Eds, but I haven’t, and it occurs that really I’ve only known a few, and all were important in my life, a father, a brother, a friend, and oh yeah, there was the rock star I lived with for al little while, a nice guy, but not super “significant” in my life, almost forgot him in my Ed list, funny, that, but the alternative to the ETs, those of extra-terrestrial origin, because face it, we are all, like, Starstuff, and so all ETs, so not extra terrestrial, but the visitors from other realms.
And it would even be, I’m pretty sure, not exactly correct to even call them EDs, because I’m pretty sure they’re “here” in a way they’ve always been, even if not materially as little gray folks in spacecraft.
But then, I could be wrong, I often am.
But what occurred to me this morning as I sat with my mantra, mine, is that if there are EDs, like, godlike otherworldly (we wont’ get into the semantics of worlds) type beings, that they’re likely just as imperfect in their own ways and that they don’t always think mind to mind (again, freaking semantics), and there could be all sorts of diversity in their perspectives of the little mass of stuff we inhabit and are part of.
Unless there’s just the one Big ED.
But then, if that is the case, it’s not extra at all, and why it would need to traverse dimensions to communicate with us? Methinks that that extra dimension might be inside, accessible to anyone who seeks it.
Maybe the Big EDs just help us find it there.
So it occurs to me, this morning, as I recall being near death, or at least utterly convinced I was there, in the void, deciding I wasn’t ready to die, feeling damned, and then getting up from it, and this morning, reading a post by a woman I admire, tons, and one of her respondents said something about dancing and ignoring the damned, and I thought, wow, I didn’t realize that anyone other than the goofy believed in damnation, and really, about the only time I even considered it as possibly true was as I was lying there feeling that way, but really, something new came to light as I read that.
Damnation might not be about life in Hell; it might be about life on earth, just like Heaven.
And so the Heaven or Hell on Earth thing always made absolutely perfect sense to me, but then, that’s because I was pretty sure that The End was The End, decomposition of body and no soul, but then I met my soul, and that of others, or at least I’m utterly convinced that is so, so there you go.
But then the Heaven and Hell thing struck me as a silly story, one made up to terrify children into modifying their behavior, something that seems totally bogus to me, because really, behavior modification should be a self choice thing, because, really, how else would whoever was at the Pearly Gates (I’d prefer a nice line of trees into the forest, myself, not much into milk and honey, and now I wonder if there’s some other version of Heaven for the lactose intolerant, but maybe they’re not consuming the milk, maybe it’s just to look pretty, but all white and honey gold seems really dull to me) decide whether that behavior was righteous for the sake of righteousness or if it was just about getting into heaven, because they’d been warned, but then all those poor slobs who hadn’t been, well, tough.
Just never struck me as a very godlike or fair system.
But then I supposed I could take a more Buddhist view, and think about reincarnation, and I have, and the idea that a person could work really hard to attain enlightenment and therefore overcome the never ending (well, almost never) cycle of re-birth, and so maybe rebirth and life on Earth is Hell, and non-life in the eternal non-void of not nothingness could be Heaven, but then, if one reads lots of that Buddhist stuff, it’s pretty darned hard to get into heaven.
And really, life on earth can be really Heavenly, and not Hellish at all, and lots and lots of folks who talk about Heaven and Hell sure don’t want to die, like, at all, they totally fear it, so I pretty much decided that it’s all kind of silly.
A body should just do the best she can not to be a turd, try to find her special purpose, pursue it, and chill out.
Chilling out is really good. Heavenly, almost.