Friday, December 17, 2004

the enemy

In surveying the range of current political opinion I have found a striking trend: it appears that a small group of people is working towards a tyrranical world state. Additionally, it seems that everyone else is opposed to this goal, yet are fooled into believing that this small cabal is working in the interests of democracy. (Incidentally, the Cabal has powerful undue influence in the mass media).

And what political programme does this Cabal have in mind for plunging us into an era of dictatorship and human misery? Why, its SOCIALISM! wait... no, its CAPITALISM! ... uh, no, it actually is SOCIALISM! No, its the dread ISM-ISM!

But how can this be? How is it possible that both the left and the right are defending us from totalitarianism while at the same time attempting to enact it? It seems very mysterious that one side should accuse the other of the exact same crimes. I would venture to offer an explanation that might make your face explode. Ok, here goes, don't say I didn't warn you:

Capitalism and Socialism both desire, and are capable of, democracy.

Capitalism and Socialism are both vulnerable to tyranny.

Now, just relax. Have some water. I looked outside and the world is still there.

It might frighten you to know that America finds the strength to retain its stability and democratic institutions, its culture of freedom, its love of war, its demonization and its deification of dissidents, its greed, its generosity etc. from reasons which include geography, history, education- in a word, circumstance, not ideology. The most frightening part of all is that America was founded upon Socialist ideology and prospered under Capitalistic methods.

I know it is difficult for many people to realize that most ideologies are essentially crafted, pruned, tailored into real things, and never do they exist in a pure form because the pure form is abstract and does not address a world that is busy functioning without said ideology. In turn, these ideologies can be corrupted by totalitarian designs, so take Marxist-Leninism or the prevailing thought championed by the "Captains of Industry" in the West. Both of these ideologies were defended by their respective demographics. Both of them decorated their oligarchial intentions with idealisms, both actually believed their idealisms:




Vladimir Lenin casually suggesting the next Russian leader





Henry Ford casually receiving a medal from some Nazis


Socialism and Capitalism as poitical systems conflict in many essential ways, but in my own political thought exists the possibility of fusing these two systems, or at least a world in which they co-exist, for Socialists and Capitalists surprisingly agree on democracy, and reject totalitarianism. Humanity has thrown off the twin evils of monarchy and slavery only within the last 200 years, and worldwide only within the last half-century (the end of colonialism and fascism). It is young at democracy, and has done many terrible things already in its name. We must learn to define totalitarianism along non-ideological lines, so that it can be identified under any guise, and rejected when we find it in our own selves.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

roméo dallaire

I have never seen a war. I have read enough about them, but its all just so much paper and words. But like the rumble of a storm far off, you can sense something of terrible power moving in the world just beyond the horizon. Maybe its nothing, but the feeling that it could happen, because it has happened before, is real.

I get these broken pieces of the world that are brought to me edited and translated and re-translated, and I try to put them together in some way that I can understand how all the ugly and great things of this world move. I can only express my own life in the end, but I don't mind trying to honor all life and every forgotten and abandoned person by sometimes feeling what goes on beyond me, and give you a story worth hearing.

The 1994 genocide of Tutsis by their Hutu brothers in Rwanda was one of the ugliest moments in human history, when blossomed and bared the madness we carry inside us flooded the African air with screaming and laughter.



There is Roméo Dallaire, the commander of UN forces in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. In early April of that year, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed when their plane was shot down by unknown attackers.

The president of Rwanda was a Hutu. The Hutus were the majority of the population, and controlled the country. The minority Tutsis were led in spirit by Paul Kagame's RPF rebel army that threatened invasion of Rwanda. The two groups had done terrible things to each other throughout their mutual history, but this time, within hours of the news of the president's death, organzied militia groups of Hutus, (in terror that the attack was a prelude to invasion and retribution against them from the Tutsis), began to kill Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Government radio and news media sent out hourly bulletins urging Hutus to kill all Tutsis.

Within 100 days

937000 people

were murdered

the majority of them

with farm tools

like machetes



Roméo Dallaire and his small force of UN soldiers were essentially abandoned by the UN despite their appeals for action. For the most part, Canadian, Ghanian and Dutch troops did what they could, but they could do almost nothing but listen.

One night I was walking alone in the forest and I thought, there is nothing more terrifying than a human being. I was wrong, of course, anything that is violent and unstoppable is just as terrifying, but I think I was sensing something else. A human being is not the most terrifying, but the most horrifying.

Because when a bear or a storm is violent, there is no hate, it is healthy. When a human being is going to do violence, you see in them their love gone black and rotten and insane. To hear that in the night in Rwanda for 100 days.

And this is no children's story. That madness that some understandably call 'evil' isn't going anywhere. I don't care if youre a socialist or a capitalist or a goddamn pacifist, if you have a family or sit in a church, at the moment of suffering all your politics, all your religion, is just so much nonsense, from the girls shivering in solitary in a North American prison to a Tutsi man hacked up in his home. They all suffer for the same black, rotten heart, but lets avoid that subject once again.

When Roméo Dallaire left Rwanda he became clincally depressed, was prescribed severe antidepressants, and was relieved of his post. One afternoon he got drunk in an attempt to kill himself, and nearly lapsed into a coma on a park bench in Ottawa in 2000.

He has dedicated himself to keeping what happened in Rwanda alive in the hopes of preventing future horror from happening. It must keep him alive to try. He just happened to be standing in the heart of madness and lived like few others have. He is a good and brave man who nearly broke, and in some ways broke forever, because he felt empathy, he loved.

In some ways he is a haunted house.

Monday, December 06, 2004

science

Science is really nothing more than just asking questions and paying attention to what is going on around you. Discoveries are handed down to descendants, and if they are not destroyed by accident or on purpose, they accumulate and increase knowledge of the world and how to do things. And we who live in rich and stable countries are lucky to have been born in an age where the discoveries of modern science have exploded.

Modern Science is only a kind of science, with its own strengths and limitations. It cannot take the place of morality or philosophy, things of the heart, but neither can they take the place of science, and ultimately, I think, all these things are but gestures of the same Great Spirit. In science I have found things of beauty that rival anything I have felt in religion or art.

The emergence of modern science in the history of civilization has transformed humanity in ways both good and evil, but the essential point is that it has transformed it. It appeared in the form that we understand it during only the last few centuries. Its roots drew from different nations across the world, especially from Mediterranean cultures like Persia and Greece, but it flowered in Europe.

Why Europe? Who knows? It is probably a combination of everything. Sciences of different kinds are found in every culture. The Papua New Guinea Islanders know every single kind of plant and its uses in their world by memory. Chinese explorers made contact with the West long before Marco Polo, even sending ambassadors to ancient Rome when Rome thought it knew the geography of the whole world. Curiosity and creativity do not belong only to Europe.

Of the kinds of science, Modern Science is the most powerful. Its core principles are not unique but they are taught with new emphasis: amorality and inquiry. Amorality in the sense that value judgements are prohibited on the grounds that they corrupt accurate observations. Clouding one's impression of the world to suit one's agenda is considered bad science whereas it is called "conviction" in other systems. This principle echoes Nature, she who gives birth to and kills all living things without judgment. It is also profound. Only when you ask what something is without assuming you already know do you learn anything.

Also the principle of Inquiry: Modern science, in its purer moments, teaches that asking lots of questions is good, and that there is no such thing as a question that should not be asked. The spirit of curiosity exists in all cultures, but modern science encourages it and crowns it at the head of its beliefs.

Science is naively criticised for being cold and spiritless, but this is nonsense. A system of thought is cold and spiritless if it is expressed in a cold and spiritless way. Religion can be as dead and heartless as any materialist. A sense of awe and holiness is a feeling, and I can feel it in science as easily as in religion, by the genuine love with which many scientists study the world.




love

Friday, December 03, 2004

year zero

I came around when Pol Pot took power in Cambodia and declared year zero. Vietnam was on fire. A dam in China collapsed after a typhoon and killed 200000 people. broke their necks and drowned the rest of them. Indonesia was carrying out a genocide of the East Timorese. It was in that year that five journalists who decided to stay and cover it were executed there.

When I was born a handful of African countries gained independence, most of which fell into civil war the same year. Humans had begun to study the behavior of whales intensively for the first time, just out of curiosity. Voyager was being built, a thing of metal and wires that would one day become the farthest thing humans have ever sent out from earth. It drifted outside the solar system a few years back. It will probably drift for a few million years, alone in the great spaces between stars.



So I do not expect paradise of earth. My earliest memories are of the north country. Big, silent places. Trees stretching out to the horizon, big ceilings of sky. The world will still be the same storm of war and sorrow and peace and beauty when I leave as when I came. The leaders of the world want you to believe it is they who keep the lion at the gates, that without democracy or communism or theosocialanarchocapitalism humanity is doomed to some apocalypse that will steal all your airconditioners and escaped prisoners will force everyone to convert to nazism.

This should come as no surprise: we are dealing with people who have spent their lives believing that the world is changed from the top down. What they cannot know is that the most of the really good things that ever happened came from the bottom forcing the top to change... and some pretty awful things too.

I wandered into this invariable apocalypse pale skinned and I will leave scarred. I have spent my life trying to find ways to keep myself from being twisted the same way I see everyone around me being twisted, to untwist myself into something resembling a living being.

Now that may be asking too much, but I accept my scars. I don't consider them part of the rabies that seems to take hold of everyone.

There is this underlying assumption that somehow people are at fault for being such cruel whiny egotistical idiotic shallow pathetic conniving monsters, but I disagree. Its got nothing to do with the religions we invented, the guilt of original sin or mistaking the earth for a turtle, or our highly dubious moral speechmaking, it has more to do with being born fucked up and ignorant to fucked up and ignorant parents who send you to school to be taught by fucked up and ignorant teachers who are inspired by fucked up and ignorant role models, and everyone acts like it isn't happening, or that there's no relation between being fucked up and ignorant and blowing apart civilians halfway across the world.

In all this you might be inclined to think that that by pulling back the earth and revealing to you the millions of grubs squirming underneath, I think the world is a fucked up and horrible nightmare, but I don't, or ok rather I do but I don't have the reaction to it that a fucked up nightmare might be expected to deliver.



Cambodia


Because while Pol Pot was building a pyramid of skulls on my first birthday, the gentle forests of the north country nursed a new generation of bear cubs, I wandered into a paradise on fire, and any love I can give you is only in a day that comes and goes among a million days.


I have beautiful dreams sometimes, but I am mortal.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

homage to catalonia

The following is a passage from George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, a memoir of his time serving in the "International Brigades" - foreign volunteers fighting on the side of the Communist/Anarchist Republican government of Spain - during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Here he makes what I think is the best description of socialism:


...The workers’ militias, based on the trade unions and each composed of people of approximately the same political opinions, had the effect of canalizing into one place all the most revolutionary sentiment in the country. I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality.

In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life—snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.—had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master. Of course such a state of affairs could not last. It was simply a temporary and local phase in an enormous game that is being played over the whole surface of the earth. But it lasted long enough to have its effect upon anyone who experienced it. However much one cursed at the time, one realized afterwards that one had been in contact with something strange and valuable. One had been in a community where hope was more normal than apathy or cynicism, where the word ‘comrade’ stood for comradeship and not, as in most countries, for humbug. One had breathed the air of equality.

I am well aware that it is now the fashion to deny that Socialism has anything to do with equality. In every country in the world a huge tribe of party-hacks and sleek little professors are busy ‘proving’ that Socialism means no more than a planned state-capitalism with the grab-motive left intact. But fortunately there also exists a vision of Socialism quite different from this. The thing that attracts ordinary men to Socialism and makes them willing to risk their skins for it, the ‘mystique’ of Socialism, is the idea of equality; to the vast majority of people Socialism means a classless society, or it means nothing at all. And it was here that those few months in the militia were valuable to me.

For the Spanish militias, while they lasted, were a sort of microcosm of a classless society. In that community where no one was on the make, where there was a shortage of everything but no privilege and no boot-licking, one got, perhaps, a crude forecast of what the opening stages of Socialism might be like. And, after all, instead of disillusioning me it deeply attracted me. The effect was to make my desire to see Socialism established much more actual than it had been before. Partly, perhaps, this was due to the good luck of being among Spaniards, who, with their innate decency and their ever-present Anarchist tinge, would make even the opening stages of Socialism tolerable if they had the chance.



Republican Militia


Monday, November 15, 2004

titan

The sky is a blue veil, and night is when the veil is drawn back upon the real world. Then you can see the hundred thousand million stars shining in the great dark, and understand that truth is big. The universe is greater and huger than anyone suspected. It is where we live, it is our home, and like Gary Crow said, it probably just goes on like that forever. There is a story told about these two Indians hunting one morning on the hills of the Great Plains and standing on top of a hill and contemplating the horizon at the edge of their lands. They say, "that is the edge of the world." They decide to walk to the last hill and look over the edge. They walk for many hours but when they climb the last hill of the horizon they look and see more hills, and the horizon just as far as it had been before. They say to each other in wonder,

"This is (The Great Spirit)."

Out among them stars is Saturn, a giant world composed mostly of hydrogen gas. You could fit about a hundred Earths inside of it, but because Saturn is made of such a lightweight gas, if it were dropped into an ocean big enough to hold it, it would float. I get hung up on that image some days, it makes me want to find a place with an ocean that big and watch Saturn bob around in it.

There is a moon that drifts around Saturn called Titan. Titan is the largest moon in the solar system, bigger than the planet Mercury. It has a thick atmosphere made of shifting orange clouds. No one knows what is on the surface. Thanks to the natural wanderlust and ambition of the Americans, they will drop a probe (Huygens) through the clouds and look around the land of Titan in January, if you're interested click -here-





Titan looks kind of haunted.

Why shoot things into space? Because space is life. There are many things to be learned about this place that we are born into without explanation, and most of them are beautiful. The stars are the raw bones of god, whatever god there is. There are things going on such a huge scale in the universe that the entire history of humanity does not amount to much more than the building of a single spider's web.




civilization


It is said that Titan's atmosphere is very similar to that of early Earth, so one reason for going is to see if anything is crawling around the surface of the moon. Titan's chemistry is such that it is likely that hydrocarbons form there, which are the precursors to biochemical structures, (living things). Discovering other forms of life would not only be profoundly fucking great, but knowledge of other life would tie us closer to the great universe and make us feel less isolated. Another reason is to learn more about how things work, in terms of orangic chemistry and the evolution of planets. It is said that to do these things is a waste of time and energy.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

the eyes of honeybees

Never let anyone tell you that cities are natural. Cities are huge aneurysms of human imagination, spilling out into sprawled tangles of concrete and euclidean geometry. They are beautiful and they spread like cancers, they destroy the sky with a sickly orange air and make the ground pale. But ghostly are lonely smokestack lights blinking at night, ghostly it is to smoke out of a 15th storey window and that weird airy sound of the traffic on your cheeks, ghostly is making out in the alley behind the bar by a dumpster, kicking the broken glass. I would not tell you these things are not Good and Right, but it is the same beauty of the craters on the moon, dead and loveless grey. Quite a sight, yes, grand and all, but let’s not call it paradise.

With such evil grey brains as cities eating the world, can there ever be paradise? Sure, why not. It’s right here now anyway. It's everywhere, it grows in the cracks in the pavement, it bulges against the sides of abandoned lots bearing flowers, the edges of night highways when the bellies of trees are lit up. I’m here to tell you that All Our Countries Will Fall, All Our Religions Fade, Our Parents’ Houses Will Crumble, there will be Golden Ages and Dark Ages, we will learn and then forget, build up and then annihilate and leave a black stain, we are fat now but one day we'll be lean, but the meaning of paradise is not some eternally clean place where you always get what you ordered… ask the eyes of honeybees



You see, you and I are like abused children, we’ve been treated like shit for all our lives so we don't really, sincerely believe there are other ways to be. We vaguely sense Good things sometimes, but we grew into our crutches, and to drop them and just walk feels like madness. But we were raised insane, but its not like it matters, go lie on your floors in the rosy telecommunications dawn, laugh with your friends in the downtown blues, because a bee has got one sting and 50 days to live.

But at the edges of cities are the trees, going on across the land green and heavy with light. The deer and the bear, the fox and the beaver, the grandaddy rocks that gave birth to us and them. Flowers come up in spring and in the fall it explodes into red and yellow.

It took us 10000 years to survive the jungle and now nothing can kill us. But we are afraid of it, and love how steel shines like an angry mother. Maybe it is that humans need to strive, and that cities are too valuable to dismantle. But I think rather it is that we are at war against everything

The flowers are at peace, the war is over. They live until they die and do not build fortresses.



The world of trees and land is far greater than anything humans could invent. It is the world of paradise, it will endure for millions of years, flowers grew where stood the first city, and they will grow atop of the bones of the last.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

america has spoken



abu ghraib


Today, roughly 60 million Americans are celebrating. There will be parties, there will be laughing. Drinks will be served, and televisions watched. For these 60 millions have deliberately chosen a murderer to command at will their nation's vast arsenal of weaponry, every nuclear warhead, every daisy cutter, every depleted-uranium shell. All the death falling from the blue cloudless skies of Fallujah, Najaf and Khandahar has been given a seal of consent, for liberation was always an excuse, and American interests always the priority. We all know that rescuing suffering people was never the cause of these wars: they were wars of fear and revenge.

In doing so these 60 million people have branded themselves as accomplices to murder, for they have said, "you have killed many in cold blood for our benefit, and we reward you." They have finally done what al-Qaeda could never have done: they have justified 9/11.

We will never know how many died or suffered over the last four years because they don't care, but it is at minimum ten times over the number who died on Sept. 11, and could easily be forty times.

For having sanctioned these acts of violence, and sanctioning the violence we all know is to come, these millions will have black oil poured into their bloody mouths like baby birds. Unlike Iraqi or Afghani, (or Haitian) civilians, these 60 millions have chosen their monster, and have done what al-Qaeda could have never done: made themselves legitimate military targets.

It is for us to ask now -if we choose to take up the defense of our people and our earth- if we will take the path of their justice and go to war against these people who have inflicted 9/11 ten times over across the earth and are so obviously begging for another on their own soil, or if we shall listen to our small and ragged conscience, which asks of us, I believe, total nonviolent confrontation of cruelty and aggression.

It seems to me the great failure of the 2004 election was not to persuade 5 or 10 million people to dislike Bush, but the failure to persuade these people to take seriously the suffering of other human beings.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

all things are alive

The honest truth of it is I don't know what life is. All I know is that I live. I know that there is something about being alive that is holy, something that is not a matter of mechanics, the belief that the universe just kind of happened for no reason, and that goes for god too.

Because there is about as much pointlessness in religion as there is in science. There isn't anything much deader than wrapping up the whole thing with a "there's no soul, we're just a bunch of atoms," or, "god is trying to save us." well, how do you explain waking up in the morning?

The point is you can't explain it. You and I, we open our eyes in the morning looking at the world, and the world is looking back at us.

We are living, and when I see a rock or a tree I understand they are living as I am too. I can't talk to them, but I can sense their presence, and their presence, because it is, is holy to me.

They are holy to me because my living is holy, my presence here in this great goddamn mystery is a strange and beautiful thing. It is the fact of now that tells me there is something greater than gods or robots in the living world. Some First Nations called it Great Spirit - that all things living and dead compose as a whole.

As a human being I am graced with the power of empathy, the capacity to sense the life of beings other than myself. I don't know if rocks or trees have empathy because I can't talk to them but I know they are beings. What strikes me as truly incredible is that anything that is, is universal, is a quality of nature. Empathy is not isolated to me, rather I am expression of the empathy of the universe. Like the buddhists say, "as long as there exists even one being who draws breath, there will always be a Buddha of Compassion."

This empathy is fragile, in such an awful way I can't even tell you. Maybe I'll tell you some other day. But it can be burned away, it can be twisted, it is most often stunted in growth, because nature demands that empathy submit to survival. When I hear of a Ghandi, or of the black kids who sat at the lunch counters in the American south, I hear of true courage for their people. It is the bravery to get up not just from the violence of other humans, but from the nerve endings under the skin, hunger, cold, confusion, the loss of childhood.

There is one last thing, and that is to listen. It is such a simple thing, and people are so bad at it that I am impressed they got this far. The mind babbles, it responds to everything, and when it gets tired it wants other people to babble; TV, preachers, drunks. Quietening the mind makes you wise, because you can begin to appreciate things. I'm looking at a tree outside my window, it is a growing giant, it's leaves are yellow from the autumn. It has big, fat branches and the bark is wet from midnight rain. There is a white mist in the sky today.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

the american election

The American presidential election became the most important political ritual for the earth in 1948. The aftermath of the Second World War had left the "Great Powers" crippled, except for the United States. The Soviet Union was the only military and economic power even remotely comparable to the U.S. but was still a distant second, and it's influence on foreign nations was limited. In contrast, the United States held an adrenaline-gorged military and economic presence in every single region of earth, with the exception of the Indian subcontient.

This was not intentional. The Second World War did live up to its name, and both sides literally fought over the planet. Canada, Australia and the United States are the only three nations on earth with populations greater than Iceland who have not been invaded, occupied, carpet bombed, suffered a civil war or a tyrrany in the last 100 years. As Charles Bukowski said of Americans, "The trouble with these people is their cities have never been bombed and their mothers have never been told to shut up." Of course, there is little relationship between suffering and learning compassion, just look at Israel, or Palestine for that matter. But the point about the U.S. is a good one: a bitchy people look uglier the more they exaggerate their relatively few trajedies.

So who was president of the United States came to mean more to the peoples of the world than who was Secretary General of the UN. It could be the difference between war & peace, or prosperity & starvation. And as America presided over the 20th century, the road behind was ever scattered with the bodies of our brothers and sisters. America is not the only one who bears guilt for this truth, but it is far more responsible for it than it can probably imagine.

The election determined the course of world affairs, and you can bet that America wasn't letting that kind of power go. They try to be good, but like every other nation that has ever stood on the edge of imperialism, America saw power and said something very reasonable:

"there is the gun. If I don't pick it up, somebody else will."

Of course, none of these empires even noticed the first time they held the gun and said:

"I think that guy wants my gun." and then,

bang.

the first one is always the hardest. they don't get less troubling, but the hesitation starts to fade. so after awhile they just said:

"hey, you, gimmie that."

bang.

The 2004 election is important to more people on earth than any of the past. I think more people than ever before are paying attention to the outcome. It will be a critical one in the character of the empire during the 21st century, and that is not a small thing.

I don't think democratic ideals or paradise are affected in any essential way by the presidential election, the real work is a long road and if you care about it then you probably aren't overly passionate about which joker gets to sit on the throne. but the election is relevant to the very real worries about how many people are going to die and how much power is going to be lost by the people in the next few years. And of course the really big danger is that Bush-Cheney might be so insane that they will do something so bad that they trigger a global disaster. What do they care right? What's Bush's foreign policy anyway?

Freedom or Death by Fire.

I think what I really want to say about the 2004 election is given how critical it is to so many people, the depth of political debate in that country is pathetic enough to realistically be considered schizophrenic.

But the same is true of most democracies. The great things have been done in spite of these politics, not because of them. Even with the whole earth leaning over the edge, you are justified in laughing at these people.




Palestinian






American

Thursday, October 21, 2004

amoeba proteus

I have a great fondness for amoebas. At school, the biology professor said, "go look at an amoeba proteus under a microscope and take note of its locomotory activities."

And I thought to myself, "ok, I'll go look at the fucking amoeba."

So I put my eye to the lens and saw it glowing in the dark, a bag of stars hanging in the water, and it was strange because it moved with grace, like a god.

I made a funny "heh" sound.

Amoebas don't like to be bothered. If they feel any serious movement in the water they ball up and wait for it to go away. They don't like light either, they will grumpily move off in the opposite direction if shined upon. The fluid inside of them moves in currents in the direction they want to go, and the currents push the skin outwards. They are filled with these little balls, I don't know what they are, that you can see tumble along with the current.

To the naked eye, amoebas look like little white dots, smaller than a grain of salt. So they are the giants of their world. Most other things of that world can't be seen at all. The littler blobs and these weird fishy things called Paramecium kind of scurry around them, afraid of pissing the giants off.

There is something encouraging about amoebas, maybe because there are so many of them. They are found mostly in freshwater, so chances are there are a few in you right now, assuming you drink water. All those little bastards glowing and moving like angels, it kind of takes the edge off.

Amoebas kind of make me snort at the idea that humans are somehow special, or even really that they're special assholes, as some folks might say. There is no real spiritual difference between an amoeba and a person. I admit I would rather hang out with a person than hang out with an amoeba... mostly, like when you've been alone for four days and the sound of a person talking about anything is like fucking music, even if they're talking about their job or tv. People have to stick together whether we like it or not. Amoebas for all their splendor don't have much to add, except to hang there like little fat cherries of light.




And if you want to blow your own mind, watch this -amoeba eating very slowly-

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

satyagraha

"I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him. I am prepared to sacrifice the things dearest to me in pursuit of this quest. Even if the sacrifice demanded my very life, I hope I may be prepared to give it. "
-M.K.Ghandi




The trouble with talking about Satyagraha- the philosophy behind India's nonviolent revolution- is that I feel like I cannot reccomend it unless I myself practise it. I can lie here for days on end tearing into the ugliness of the world or deifying the good and honorable, I could bitch myself into the grave of trajedy and cruelty, but when I lead you to Satyagraha I think I should stop.

Because I am just a little soul, and Satyagraha is a thing of honor. Will this just be more words? Will I sneer at Americans and then move on? My heart is all I am, if this means nothing then I mean nothing, just more television for a sky.

Satyagraha requires one quality only, and it isn't love.

It is courage. This courage is fuelled by conscience, a commitment to become a good person. No one can be expected to love all the time, but Satyagraha requires one to be committed all the time. By its very nature, to relieve myself of that commitment is to betray my conscience.

My understanding of Ahimsa (Nonviolence) is that I must be a good person. I may never submit to violence, and must always confront violence if I meet it. Ahimsa requires suffering the blow not just without retaliation, but without even resentment.

Honor is a living thing. It isn't a code or a reputation. Honor is an emotion. I have seen it in a street kid and I have seen it in an accountant. It is the courage to feel pain for a good thing. For a time, India rose to that kind of honor. Satyagraha in the 20th century has already affected the world powerfully, as we see in South Africa or in the United States. It is not spread as a political ideology but only by example. The propaganda of conscience is truth, and it is something neither Castro nor Bush nor Neitszche could understand.

There is much in war that is heroic, but in the end its just a big bloody mess. It begins as a war of survival against nature- against starvation, disease, climate. I think what ennobles the old nature worshipping religions is that the nature they worshipped was going to kill the lot of them sooner or later. But humanity is emerging from this war unable to wipe the blood from its eyes. It has done too many terrible things as it stumbles towards peace to fully understand itself, that at some point to gain that peace it must shed it's fear of truth.

Maybe I am the same.

Friday, October 15, 2004

letter from damien walker

here is a letter I got from my friend Damien Walker a few years ago:

When I went to a whole new town for schooling, things got a little weird. After a month or so of seeing no one, I began a habit that will eventually lead to my doom.Without really intending to, I'll just wander off. That was the first day I let myself go and drift. It is an odd feeling, since you have no where to go and no intention of when you might come back. I just chose a direction and walked in it.

I had filled my pocket with these stones made of coloured glass, that once lined the bottom of Luc's fish tank. My path led me right across the school campus. I was a sheep among wolves, wearing that funny pork pie hat of Ryckman-Rebick's. There were a bunch of girls washing cars for ten bucks, some had signs to flag down cars off a rode. And a whole gang of students had gathered to hoot and holler at some spectacle or other. A mob can sense you, when you are detached and feeling really weird, the way white blood cells sniff out foreign bacteria. They didn't lynch me. I just walked around and some jocks made a comment or two about my hat. I got the impression it was someone else's hat. I really did. I was convinced that I was myself there and then, but there was also another parallel reality, where things were happening just slightly differently. Everything unpleasant I associated with there and here was pretty much okay, except I had no friends or girls and stuff. This was odd, because I never deduced this situation, I just seemed to become aware of it the night before.

I eventually passed across the campus. I came to places where, later on when I wa feeling more stable and happy, I would come back to and sit quietly. It was funny because that day I seemed to noticed all the most tranquil places; Shane, before he hit puberty and went crazy, used to call those places 'power spots'. In Grade Six he even made a special divining rod to locate them.

I came to a long road. There was a dead fox beside the road. Over the next two years I would see a lot of these. They were redder than you could imagine fur being, they had thick necks that made the otherwise little guy seem more formidable. Again I became acutely aware of the dual universe. In mine there was a fox, its tongue hanging out, just lying there dead. It represented nature taking its course; the way of all earth. Li-Po or Tu Fu might write a poem about it. In the second universe there was a guy with a nice hair cut, a second year computer science student, with his thin girlfriend, using the car his parents bought him, to slam into the foxes wiry frame and bust all its cleverly wrought organs. He never even noticed, over his cell phone call.

The day was hot, I kept walking. All these motorcycles past by me. I couldn't seem to at last get to the country as I really wanted to. Just when you thought the city was behind you, you happened upon another sub-division; like so many ant colonies.
Eventually, I came to farm land. I saw buzzards overhead. In my agitated state I thought that they might be there for me. I past an apple tree. It was September and the apples looked rip and sweet. Some big dog barked at me. I thought of the buzzards as I took off down the road. After maybe six or so miles, I came to a very small hamlet. I stopped to look down from the bridge that spanned a tiny river. Down there was all sorts of round, black stones. I saw some kids, their bikes fallen haphazardly behind them, catching crayfish. A draft from down there coolly met my face.

I can't say why, but I often dream about the little town that I walked through. Most of the houses were really close to the rode. The wood work on the front of the houses made them look like they belonged more to the Annex than out in the country. One gets used to seeing newly built homes, like that subdivision, out in the country. Some people where just sitting out on their porch. I think someone said hello, as I passed. They might have been Mennonites or something. I made my way out of town.

Night was falling. So followed a gully that ran away from the rode. I picked some ears of corn, growing in the adjacent field. It was far to tough to eat though. Then I found a bunch of scrap metal sitting against a big tree. One of the steel pieces had holes cut in it, like the rungs of a ladder. I climbed up into the tree. I once wrote a story in which a guy changed into a tree after a girl kissed him. I would have loved to be that tree. I emptied all the pretty coloured glass stones into a hole in the tree. They are probably there still.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

M31




Look at all them stars. See how the arms of the galaxy are like big trailing clouds? Those are all stars, so many millions it looks like a big snowstorm. you and me are made of those things, we are just pieces of star. our bodies are 100's of millions of years old. our bodies never die, they just go on changing like the curls of smoke off a smoke.

there is no evil, my dear. they just told you that to scare you.

there is no evil but there is cruelty. I think its worse, maybe that's why its so easy to say evildoer. there's only cruelty and it never ends, because its as natural as snow and there's no bad man to kill and end it all. there's only the endurance to be kind and not freeze into a jaded little bunny. here, let me show you the face of cruelty,


jeffrey dahmer


if anyone gets to be called "sick fuck" there he is. and he's human. he even felt bad. near the end of his life, he was confused as to what he had done. the harsh truth in all this is this: there is nothing for the victims. there is no revenge for them, supernatural or otherwise. you can damn him to hell if you want, maybe even I do too, i might have tortured him if i had the chance, but I know more than I know that if there is an afterlife he is in heaven with his victims.

when youre sitting there looking out the window and trying to figure out this:


(and hopefully sometimes you do)

and are trying to trace the long road from stars to wars, of how in human history there is survival and poetry, dogs and emperors, that the future of the world rests in the hands of two bad actors, think that it is for you to make yourself the change you wish to see in the world.

politics are important, but what really makes me think there is hope is that revolution is losing its allure. for me, anyway. the real transformations come in the form of mass movements that build over time from the ground. H.G. Wells said that human history is the story of the conflict between two irreconcilable ideas: the community of obedience and the community of will. The coming century will be one in which the human conscience will fully begin to claim its ownership over civilization from the will to power. there is no way of knowing what the consequences will be. but here's to everyone who tries, whether you vote or no.

little sanctimonius today, no? Its because I'm listening to Verdi, I guess.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

the pivot continued

If you are really interested, if you really, really care,
(because sometimes I don't)
then read the first Pivot entry -here-

In 1789 the French Monarchy crumbled by accident. Louis XVI, the Sun-King... not to be confused with the king sun that hangs like a seed in the ocean pouring light out of itself and is so huge that in comparison the earth is the size of

a grain of sand


but to return to little France in 1789: Louis XVI was a fat, kind man who didn't understand money or the crushing oppression of a monarchy. He spent money until France had none left. He asked some representatives of the nobility, the church and the merchants to meet with him and come to a solution, this was known as the Estates General. He didn't like their ideas, so he told them the council was over.

They refused to leave.

Thus began the French Revolution.

What we see here are several forces building over time (momentum): the economy was strictly controlled and wealth was being spent as if Louis had stolen god's checkbook. For the past two hundred years free inquiry and an increasingly sophisticated educated class had been rising. France had been rolling along as a monarchy for many hundreds of years, with a vast peasantry and working class that lived in continual poverty. Louis invites a council to discuss what to do, accidentally creating a pivotal moment, where the momentum of emerging forces collide and can be manipulated: a sudden change in direction is possible.

Of course, people aren't very good at it when it comes:




Being children, people have a tendency to get frightened when there are no "adults" (read: authorities) around. The Revolution, which began with a constitution more idealistic than those found today, crumbled into an orgy of massacres. While the revolutionary government passed legislation introducing universal manhood suffrage, (and a tense but failed attempt to introduce universal womanhood suffrage), the abolishing of slavery, and the guarantee of universal education in a time when 90% of the human race was illiterate, the same government was executing people daily.

People are strange.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

the fields of paradise

The world was not made for you and me. You and me are here as accidentally as sparrows. No one knows why you and I are here, or why anything is here. All you and I know is that we are. The tree outside my window is tall and old. It has grown gracefully, and its leaves will glow green when the sun rays fall on them. This blue world is up to things that go on above our little heads. That is what storms mean.





You and me and everybody else are kids, playing at being adults. Few of us kids ever grow up for real, I think. After awhile you get worried about survival and then its just pretending. The president pretends he knows what's going on, the warlord, the entrepreneur, the philosopher writes books about what's going on, but the wise know no one knows. The kids have guns, and they all want to be grown ups







None of us understand the world, we just live here. the blood and dirt will never ask for help, but while we wander around pretending and never asking, playing hero and sometimes being human, we are all loved, but too childish to love back. of the things that we lose all we have left is the silence where they were. its alright to be just kids, but none of this will change until you and I grow up. common methods of torture used all over the world:

(a) Blunt trauma, such as a punch, kick, slap, whipping, a beating with wires or truncheons or falling down;(b) Positional torture, using suspension, stretching limbs apart, prolonged constraint of movement, forced positioning;(c) Burns with cigarettes, heated instruments, scalding liquid or a caustic substance;(d) Electric shock;(e) Asphyxiation, such as wet and dry methods, drowning, smothering, choking or use of chemicals;(f) Crush injuries, such as smashing fingers or using a heavy roller to injure the thighs or back;(g) Penetrating injuries, such as stab and gunshot wounds, wires under nails;(h) Chemical exposures to salt, chilli pepper, gasoline, etc. (in wounds or body cavities);(i) Sexual violence to genitals, molestation, instrumentation, rape;(j) Crush injury or traumatic removal of digits and limbs;(k) Medical amputation of digits or limbs, surgical removal of organs;(l) Pharmacological torture using toxic doses of sedatives, neuroleptics, paralytics, etc.;(m) Conditions of detention, such as a small or overcrowded cell, solitary confinement, unhygienic conditions, no access to toilet facilities, irregular or contaminated food and water, exposure to extremes of temperature, denial of privacy and forced nakedness;(n) Deprivation of normal sensory stimulation, such as sound, light, sense of time, isolation, manipulation of brightness of the cell, abuse of physiological needs, restriction of sleep, food, water, toilet facilities, bathing, motor activities, medical care, social contacts, isolation within prison, loss of contact with the outside world (victims often are kept in isolation in order to prevent bonding and mutual identification and to encourage traumatic bonding with the torturer);(o) Humiliations, such as verbal abuse, performance of humiliating acts;(p) Threats of death, harm to family, further torture, imprisonment, mock executions;(q) Threats of attacks by animals, such as dogs, cats, rats or scorpions;(r) Psychological techniques to break down the individual, including forced betrayals, learned helplessness,exposure to ambiguous situations or contradictory messages;(s) Violation of taboos;(t) Behavioural coercion, such as forced engagement in practices against one's religion (e.g. forcing Muslims to eat pork), forced harm to others through torture or other abuses, forced to destroy property, forced to betray someone placing them at risk for harm(u) Forced to witness torture or atrocities being inflicted on others.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

the elephant

I hear the word "balanced" thrown around alot lately with in political reporting. It is used as an antithesis of "biased" or "partisan." The meaning of "balanced" is not objectivity, but rather the presentation of opposing opinions. In politics, this refers to the right and the left.

The value of "balance" in political reporting is almost revered, as if a holy standard in journalism is achieved by its observance. Objectivity is still used by some people as a holy standard, although much less these days since it is so easily ridiculed by a more sophisticated public. Most people are aware that no one is objective, that even someone with a neutral stance interprets and omits evidence and is always ignorant of the whole picture. It is an essential fact of being a mortal that it is not given to any little being to know all. It is a worthy thing to attempt objectivity, and can improve one's perception of an issue, but anyone claiming to be objective can safely be relied upon to be either lying, crazy or stupid.

Balance, therefore, is a substitute for objectivity. While it is critical in a free society to have opposing and unpopular views reported, the concept of balance pits one view against its antithesis, and creates untruth on both sides. Like the analogy of the five blind men and the elephant, each man feeling a different part and each believing it to be an animal that it isn't, (one feels the trunk and believes it is a snake, one feels the ear and believes it is a bird, etc.), opposing views create an absurd sense of truth. No one under these conditions is searching for what is true and what is false, everyone is searching for evidence supporting the view they have sided with.

If you enter into politics, you must stand with some and oppose others. Crisis will not wait for a verdict. But this does not mean that the search for truth must end. Really, it becomes more urgent, because the sharper your sense of truth, the more your sense of what really is good will improve. It becomes easy to believe the crimes of enemies and the virtues of allies.

The search for truth does not mainly occur in debates or politics, does not happen in sorting and discarding claims and facts. It occurs inside, in the struggle to exercise one's conscience, to have the courage to ask painful questions. Or the pain to ask courageous questions.

Balance makes for a clumsy picture of life. We see the snake or the bird, but we don't see the elephant. The left isn't true, the right isn't true, but neither is a synthesis between the left and right.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

on someone i dont know

It's one of the few poems I've written that I think might be alright and that my friend who never says anything when you show him something you did said it was, "very nice." Its about this guy from the poet's scene here in city who killed himself who was older than us. I did not know him but my friend told me stories about him, this one time he was hanging out with his friends drinking and stuff and at 3 in the morning there was a knock at the door. He answered it and there was a naked woman, a stranger. The story is that he expressed no surprise and wrapped a blanket around her and sat her down in the room. He had some problems with pills too.

ON SARO (SACCO? VENZETTI?) AND THE INQUISITION

poetry, devil, monster on chills
the brother of my brother is my friend.

on monsters i um there is no fate
there is no war only murder
or there is no ghandi only love
there is no saro only poetry
there is a saro not only poetry
there was a saro

i forget...

maybe just be good to women

Friday, September 24, 2004

the flow of history

Roughly 8000 years ago, give or take a couple thousand years), the beginnings of human civilization emerged on old earth. Is this where civilization began?

No, it is where we pick up the thread. If I wished, I could take you to the first signs of human culture, the lonely red painted horses on cavern walls, or the garlands of flowers in the early graves of the dead, a 30,000 year old sign of love. Or back further maybe, to the beginnings of cooperation and pack-living among mammals, for it is these characteristics that define the nature of civilization. We could wander back as far as you can go, because at some point it is all the beginning of human civilization. Nothing in life is divided.

But I'll say 8000 years ago, around the time when agriculture was being adopted by different groups of humans around the world. Within a few thousand years, large scale domestication of food crops drastically changed human society from a hunting, migratory culture to a cultivating, settled one. In one of the great mysteries of the world, agriculture arose independently in several places on earth. Food surpluses made possible a class of specialists, people who did not have to get their own food. So craftsmen, laborers, soldiers and kings came into being. Agriculture created the early kingdoms.



The history of human civilization is dominated by the demands of survival. It is as though humanity was born drowning, the only urge was to get to the surface. It appears that way throughout history, the appeals of leaders to fight wars, to withold wealth, to demand obedience. But it is not true. We see from the pieces of the old world that constitute history - the books torn and translated and re-translated, from the broken works of art, the ruins often built with a sense of beauty and grace people do not possess today - that people thought and contemplated, loved and hated, people lived outside the progress of nations.

Survival so dominates human thinking that our dreams sometimes sound empty and stupid.

The progress of civilization is linear and real. generation has built from generation. some times they learned from the old ones, sometimes they destroyed what came before them.

This susceptibility to the survival instinct has not only preserved civilization, it has made it a nightmare for its victims. Hierarchies are the template of all human civilization, and millions of people lived short lives, treated with cruelty and humiliation at the hands of their brothers and sisters.

Between love and poetry, gentle ancient cities, the moon faithfully recorded by Tu Fu drunk by a river - and the lonely endurance of slaves and victims, who saw this paradise the earth as a cold wasteland, Spartacus and Daisy Cutters, is the truth of human history.



lascaux cave paintings, ca. 16000 years ago

Friday, September 17, 2004

pan


THE GREAT GOAT



In a very different age of the earth, some thousands of years ago, when in long-ancient Greece government was conducted under the early-morning sun, the men arguing and sitting lazily on marble blocks, the world was ruled by the forests. Cities were little places where people gathered together in the light against the dark sea of the world.

It's not like that now. A bear might take one of us out now and then, but we can call in an airstrike and take care of them pretty fast. The wilderness is still there, the dark trees still sing, that is where Pan is. Pan was our god of Ancient Greece when people still worshipped wild things. I once collapsed in the forest. Pan stood over me, half-man, half-goat, leaves growing out of his skin, ten feet tall, a barkish quality to his skin. The woods adore me.

Pan is the god of the unknown. So is Socrates. It has been said of Socrates that he had no doctrine, he just asked questions. It is no wonder that Pan was the model for Satan, he is the god that does not stand above and away, he is the symbol of the heart- living in all the dirt and blood of life, the unpretty impurely pure world, who makes sin noble.

The living world is an unbelievably beautiful and merciless thing, it is strange and no one knows why.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

president ralph nader

I was standing outside in the good September night, smoking a smoke and thinking about Ralph Nader and why he's running for president, and I think for more than anything he is running for poetic reasons- Nader is the America that might have been. He campaigns to destroy the myth of democracy. Every four years, America has its pageant, where millions of workers shuffle into elementary schools, press a button, and leave, never really understanding what happened and with a vague sense that they'd just been molested.

Ralph Nader campaigns because someone has to speak for the millions who want their government to act with decency and their country to be good. Someone running for president in one of the oldest democracies in the world has to say that the invasion of Iraq was a twisted and brutal act by a nationalist fanatic.

So Ralph Nader is a poet. He runs with no chance of winning. He is likely destroying whatever voting base he might have had given how unpopular his campaign is. But he runs because somebody has to. The Democractic and Republican parties are like two fat, dirty kids fighting over a popsicle. Somebody has to talk like a human being. Americans can't see that because it's hard to pretend you want to perceive your own weaknesses, Nader sounds like a madman unless you've been a mortal.

Maybe America will decide to elect mortals one day. That'd be a beautiful sight.


President Ralph

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

johnny & luther htoo




THE FALL OF GOD'S ARMY OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN




The last I heard, the rebel leaders Johnny and Luther Htoo lived in a refugee camp on the Thailand side of the Thai-Myanmar border with their mother. When the twin brothers surrendered to Thai authorities in 2001, they claimed that they were 13 years old.

In 1998, the twins became the leaders of God’s Army of the Holy Mountain, an offshoot of the Karen rebel army, an ethnic group persecuted by the government of Myanmar for many years up until the present day. The brothers chain smoked, spoke casually of killing an enemy that in their words, “beat and rape Karen women… steal from us and burn down our homes,” and claimed that God had given them a divine mission to protect their people. Their faces carried a bleak expression, what you’d expect, I guess. They had been raised in a bad place. God’s Army was for the hopeless.

Development, in the sense of vast engineering projects or the conversion of farmers into factory workers, had come to Myanmar. Given how well foreign-initiated industrial development had worked out for indigenous people elsewhere, it must have seemed like a good idea to try it there. With obvious concern for the people of that nation, companies such as BP and Premier Oil had been working with the government to install a shiny new gas pipeline through the country, much of it passing through territory in which the Karen lived. The Army of Myanmar carried out, “Operation Spirit King,” which cleared and protected the route to the pipeline from obstacles, such as the Karen people. The Htoo brothers came from a village that had been cleared to make way for the pipeline.

Johnny and Luther were said to possess supernatural powers; that bullets glanced off of them, landmines would jump up in front of them. They led an army composed mostly of child fighters, with a few older mercenaries in charge. It is important to understand the significance of child soldiers: more than for land or power, people go to war to protect their children. There is no group of people on earth who would use them in this manner, unless there were no longer enough adults able to perform the task.

It kind of reminds me of another set of twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, whose empire of family entertainment and products has a net worth of somewhere around 300 million dollars. I’m not really sure what it is that the Olsen twins do, but I know it involves having their picture taken. To give you an idea of how much money 300 million is, Premier Oil claims that it has provided 1.8 million dollars for, “social development,” for those living in proximity to the Myanmar pipeline. In a vaguely disturbing coincidence, 300 million dollars is also roughly the amount Myanmar earns annually from its exports of natural gas.

Obviously, it would be vulgar and evil of me to compare the lives of the Olsen twins with the lives of Johnny and Luther Htoo. I’m sure the only respectable way to view the Olsen twins is as successful entrepreneurs, who are not responsible for the frantic idiocy that produces, well… them.

Be that as it may, I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch, “How the West Was Fun,” without getting a strange, creepy feeling down the back of my neck and spine. Then again, I most likely would have gotten that feeling anyway. There is something more than a little ugly about preparing the next generation for unending vapidity, just as there’s something unshakably eerie about building huge iron machines. Which is probably what constitutes the connection between industrial development and entertainment: its hardly a stretch to interpret the term, “underdeveloped,” as meaning, “yet to be annihilated by industrialization,” nor is it a stretch to accuse the dominant culture of mass-producing the morbidly inane. Culture tends to reflect the atmosphere that people live in. If people are rewarded for unoriginality, or just for making jokes that aren’t funny to anybody, that might be because the dominant world is afraid of thinking too hard about anything that it really does.

It is for this reason the Htoo twins don’t have the kind of drawing power that the Olsen twins have, except among angry dissidents and missionaries, which is probably for the best. “Drawing power,” is not something you want to use in connection with tragedy. Most likely you won’t hear from the Htoo twins anymore, now that they are no longer God’s warriors and only everyday, run-of-the-mill refugees, two kids among the 100,000 Karen that have claimed political refugee status in Thailand.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

the bristlecone pine

i dreamed about her last weekend for the first time in a couple of years. She was still a hooker, but she was happily alive. She looked older- a rough 25-year old if she were alive today, but she still had the beauty of her when she was 17. I must have dreamed about her being alive 6 or 7 times now. I saw her across the street, an anonymous downtown brokendown street, with powerlines sagging overhead under unmoving grey clouds. She was smoking a cigarette and smiled. i hope i keeping dreaming she is alive. it is good that she is a little alive in me. its a little piece they didn't get.





The Bristlecone Pine



We went out in secret for a month or two. We were crazy about each other. I think I once asked her to come east with me, i don't know if i meant it, but she said no in a wise way anyway. some things that are good only last a little while and aren't meant for ever. She loved her friends. She'd come over and have dinner and joke around. We drifted around under the streetlight glow in the hell someone had fashioned out of paradise. i see that every time i take a walk through the woods. i look out into all the green and yellow and i cant even breathe cause its so beautiful, and theyre just trees. do you think its impossible? i have this picture of her healthy and natural-like out on a farm somewhere. maybe one day people will be strong enough to be natural. The bristlecone pine is the longest-living species of tree on earth. There are some that are over 4,000 years old. They were growing when Caesar crossed the Rubicon, when the guru Nanak said, "there are no muslims, there are no hindus," when men thought powdered wigs looked dignified.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

daisy cutter



A child's brain contains a system of connected cells, (neural networks), that have no purpose. They gradually take on functions through sensory input, (experience). Typically around the age of three children become aware of the emotions of others. Traumatized children tend to re-enact the traumatic event and often ask questions about it repeatedly. Responding to gestures of affection by a traumatized child, such as hugging or kissing, are critical to their recovery.

Social groupings of cattle tend to be hierarchial. By adulthood, social groups are inflexible social orders. Herding cattle relies heavily on directing the leaders, as the rest of the herd will follow their lead. Infant cattle tend to hide for the first few days of life before forming "kindergartens" with other calves and one or two cows.

The four acceptable means of slaughtering cattle in the food processing industry are Carbon Dioxide gas, nail gun, electric shock and stunning and bleeding, (by means of a sledgehammer). Cattle are forced from a waiting stall with electric shocks delivered by cattleprod to the killing room, where they are killed by nailgun shot to the temple. The process of moving the cow from the stall is slow as every cow will resist entering the killing floor.

The Great Plains First Nations relied on bison as their primary source of food. Bands followed bison herds as they moved from water source to water source, which were located at great distances from each other. These peoples hunted the bison with stone spears or bows until the introduction of the gun in the late 17th century. The spears were heavy but could be thrown with incredible accuracy and force.

Originally designed as a jungle-clearing explosive in Vietnam, the Daisy Cutter is used as a antipersonnel bomb in recent actions like Afghanistan. It has an incineration radius of 600 m, (1 mile). The shockwave emanating from the bomb can crush or rupture internal organs. A Daisy Cutter strike during the Gulf War killed an estimated 4,500 Iraqi soldiers.

The 2004 population of Rawanduz, Iraq, is 4,600.

momma earth

When its dawn, the blue brightens and the birds wake up. Everything gets bright in the dawn. Each time of day is its own world, and has its own gods. The world of the dawn.

The earth is the size of a grain of sand in comparison to the sun.

Most of the solar system is empty space, with small planets, little islands in a great ocean, drifting near the sungod. It seems placid and silent, but the truth is its also very violent. Strange how both violence and peace are intertwined. If you listened to people you would never get that impression, If violence and peace are common down here, maybe theyre up in heaven too.

The indignation towards violence pretends there is something special about humans, as if it were a big deal that the kid dies. Momma earth doesn't care, she is busy killing and giving birth to millions of things every day. Its a pretty dance, this creation and destruction.

I'll let you in on something: it only matters to us, because we care. Well... i assume you care. i care, anyway. we have hearts. Momma earth doesn't care only because its all one to her, do you cry for your dead skin? that is why kindness is beautiful, because its unnecessary. cruelty is far more productive.

Monday, August 30, 2004

hand me my knife

In the house alone at night there are summer ghosts that make noises down stairs and watch tv at 3:20 a.m. every morning, so I am inclined to carry my heavy grandpa sword with me. There is nothing like two people.

There is also nothing more disgusting than seeing two people happy when you are alone and palefaced from self-flagellation. one great shining blindness of Capitalism is regards the Great Truth that shit rolls downhill - meaning that when things go bad they tend to go to worse to ugly - easy to forget because of the other Great Truth: the dead are quiet, and everything is just so goddamn loud. The weak are shadows, Ive seen them. They are hard to see without quietness, because they are near inaudible. When you are still they grow realer in form. A gun is loud, an Israeli bulldozer makes a grinding sound, a daisy cutter shockwave is so loud it makes the ears bleed, a national anthem sounds like a big, crazy guy punching you in the face for three minutes, and everybody loves Hitler, I seen probably a hundred times more footage of Hitler screaming than of Ghandi talking, yet they came from the same period and had about the same degree of effect on the world. Why is Satyagraha not taught in school? but i know, i know- for every Israeli bulldozer there is an Israeli soldier rotting in jail for refusing to obey orders, and for every national anthem there are a hundred songs that go:

everybody tries

Saturday, August 28, 2004

the theory of the pivot

There are two primary forces in human events: momentum and pivot. Momentum is described as the building up of energy and events like the snowball into an avalanche analogy, with the spectrum of possible outcomes gradually narrowing. The pivot is a crisis where one or more "avalanche" reach a critical point and a sudden change in momentum is possible.

KIDS AT WAR

World War Two was the most powerful "pivot" that humanity has ever undergone. Varying forces reached a crisis state in the same forty-year period, (1905-1948). Tens of millions of people died, the single most massive death the species has ever witnessed, and the political map of the entire planet underwent the greatest transformation in history.

If every historical event is like a pebble thrown into a pond, and its effects in time and space like ripples moving outwards in concentric circles, then the consequences of this era will be felt for the next two thousand years. For example, the development of the atomic bomb and its use on human beings came about as a direct consequence of the Second World War. Had no catacalysm of this type occurred, the pace and impetus to develop such a weapon would have proceeded at a snail's pace, and its use on human beings an even remoter eventuality. For the atomic weapons program was urged on the United States by a group of scientists and refugees from Germany, most of whom came to carry a deep regret for their actions in later years, (including its most popular advocate, Oppenheimer). Humanity is now living with a gun to its head, and given the attitude of the fuckheads the world refers to as our "leaders" this state of affairs will not be resolved - unless by pulling the trigger - any time soon.

So the momentum resultant from the slaughter of the Second World War will have a greater effect than any other in our history, given its relative power. Only the period that saw the worldwide invention of intensive agriculture, (making possible state-level societies), is comparable in effect on known history, and this era took place over several thousand years, (roughly 6000-1000 bce), not the 40 years of the War.

What characterized this 40-year period that made it so profound? Primarily, it was the culmination of two aspects of human life which had become dominant and superpowerful influences: mechanization and ideology. As it is today, human physical power grossly exceeds its wisdom and, I think it should be obvious, its empathy for other living beings. Human ideology had evolved as well, and it is in this period that "human rights" comes to be regarded as a sacred and practical idea. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights comes from this period and is a document without precedent and without equal in importance in the future of the human species.

...

Where's my wine.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

rainy utopia

The only way to go about this is by pure speculation. mental tourettes. total raving.


OK.

"The Slow Clouds Over Najaf"

Wherever I look everything is intensely beautiful. Some shit is ugly? What are the ugliest things?

suburbia

all television commercials

porn

starvation

but even these things are beautiful. Television commercials appear on the screen and fill the room, and make everyone watching them (silently) look sad and weak. There's a kind of nobility in trajicness, everyone is forced to survive and most of them only for fairly vague and foggy reasons, and you can see their clumsiness when theyre sitting there slack-jawed and cow-eyed watching the tee-vee. Its not much -ok alright- but its real nonetheless.

Aside from these things, (maybe that ugliness itself has a kind of beauty), the point is that the world itself is essentially a stunning and awesome thing. Consider its size and age, the huge oceans, which take up 3/4 of the planet's surface. For every mile you walk there are three miles of water. There are whales down there. The whales sing songs. The ocean goes down and down for miles, dark water. The whales kind of hang there, above the darkness, like fat clouds.

Light rains down from the sun and floods the earth. It is thought of as waves of energy that are caught by plants and eaten. We eat the plants and so can move. Our eyes are the result of the flood of light. They are formed in complex and precise structures to use the waves and perceive subtle and small nuances in change and hue of light.

Its raining in the city today, cities are the most insane of all humanity's children. From far away, they look like stars fallen to earth.

Every person I see was born. Every person opened their eyes once without thinking. Everyone I passed on the street, every one I overheard having a retarded conversation, fighting, drinking, asking, working, singing, lying- alright, I wouldn't bullshit you.

you can go back to war now.