Monthly Archives: November 2013

these guys have a constructive facebook conversation, ha


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UGH, rights?

Gay people don’t deserve rights.

That’s right. I said it. Gay people don’t deserve rights.
But nor do straight people.
Or white people.
Or aboriginal peoples.
And why?

Because they deserve better than the flimsy conception of rights, which are no more than a placeholder for our understandings about the way the world works, and the way our unique (or not) physiologies function within that world, and together, as a social collective. To write down a right makes it too easy to presume as granted. Too easy to forget that our real, active, scary participation is required every day to keep that piece of paper meaningful in a cynical world.

(And would you have read another one of my long-winded, preachy updates withOUT such an inflammatory title?)

It’s not a right. Whatever you think you should be able to do, or be free from, or have given to you is not a magical rule from some god or law of physics. Rights don’t exist least of all pertaining to objects outside you and how your ideas about them are treated.

There are the things & conditions you need to survive, those you need to live comfortably, and those you need to flourish as a human. That’s it.

There’s nothing inherent about you getting them, keeping them, or deserving them. I think people should have them all in abundance, but that’s a recognized opinion, not pretending to be a self-evident fact that I can use violence to enforce on others (as it is that our system does when sufficiently convinced of its “right” to this or that).

Those of my peers who seek redress for the terrible biological, psychological, and environmental have a favourite conception of this redress: namely the declaration of “rights”, signifying the social contracts between ourselves, and our resources, that we’ve recognized fundamentally underscore a high quality of life and hence lower rates of crime, social conflict, and destruction of habitat- either absolutely (like food, water, shelter) or more circumstantially with regards to our technological & scientific development (internet access, what access to “education” could/should mean). Having seemingly understood what is needed to heal our wounds, I feel that rather than apply the medicine, our habit has been to tie pretty bows around the vial (so to speak), and place it in a very ornate cabinet to signify our recognition to all. “We know what people’s rights are!” we proudly sniff, but we woefully miss a step; two if you ask me and George Carlin. Most noticeably is the lacking application: we say it, but don’t do it. We KNOW everyone needs food, water, shelter, education, socialization opportunities, communication tools, and a buffering practice against the stressors of modern, urban life (like meditation, TLC, shinrin yoku…), but we fail, very often, in delivering. And I think the reason lays in how we THINK about and hence act about “rights”. To quote George Carlin:

‘I hate to spoil the fun. But there’s really no such thing as rights. They’re imaginary. We made it up. Like the Boogie-man (…) Rights are just an idea. A cute idea I’ll give you that. But that’s all. Cute. And fictional.”
– George Carlin’

We forget they aren’t real. They a formal recognition of VERY REAL physical referents, but themselves cannot be measured or experimented on or located anywhere in reality. The physical referents are our metabolic processes, our social brains with mirror neurons and process of complex guilt and jealousy, our ever-quickening info-stream and the effects that has on our cultures. We know that we ALL need an equitable access to certain things for our lives to go smoothly on this planet -and this irrespective of who “owns” the food, who powers the grid. It doesn’t matter how we get them per se, or the moralizing we’d like (or not like) to put in the way: People need access to food, or they’ll steal it. People need homes or they’ll always feel unsafe and very likely be dangerous. And to ensure everyone knows what we know, we formalize these understandings into declarations and charters.

Well, I worry about “formalizing” them. Every time we put one down on a big, shiny, laminated piece of paper in a politician’s office, we leave it precisely where it will be cared about least, and with the greatest potential to be glossed-over, overlooked, or even totally ignored. By the time it hits that wall, it’s a token gesture. It’s efficacy has run dry. We transmute the understandings printed upon it, in the same way the primary teacher of a religion or philosophy has their message transmuted when they pass away, and their works are committed to papers and sermons. The inner, social/emotional volition -the direct, reality-touching understanding that sparked initial action- is dimmed, or wholly snuffed, and the lesson becomes rote. Passionate at first, but eventually taken for granted, never questioned, and hence, rarely understood. And impotent, for obviously we have may starving, killing, and dying in the shadows of our charters.

“Oh, it’s a RIGHT, they HAVE to give us those!” we reasonably reason, and forget to do much of the work (or forgetting that we, personally MUST work at all) to uphold these rights; this is the “work” that great economic thinkers have waxed romantically on about- not just breaking rocks and heaving boxes and flipping burgers and commission sales. Without understanding that these “rights” are not metaphysical laws that magically keep us safe, but scientific understandings of what keep humans safe, happy, and sociable, that must be practiced, and lived, and defended when threatened to be effective (and doubly so in the economic system we use, which directly threatens nearly every “right” to which we stake a claim), too many people take their rights for granted, and in doing so, possibly help cost the rest of us ours.

“Too political” they call those who do speak up, not realizing every act -especially silence and complicity- is 100% politically charged and declarative of taking a side. Acknowledging the physical referents of rights is a good thing. Thinking of them as “rights” is not the most functional option. For one must be entirely and consciously political about every act they undertake. All actions will affect the status of what is accepted in your society. Every step is a vote. Calling them “rights” ignores the basis in measurable, verifiable reality that these preconditions for peace and a thriving life are based on for an emotionally-charged rhetorical device. You can’t say “Take away their rights!” in a debate, you’d lose right away. That’s what this word is good for: emotional manipulation of a crowd mentality. Getting our enemies booed in parliament. Framing a tyrant to ignorant, angry crowds. But too easily that conception can be turned on us, for the “rights” of the corporation, or the amoebic jellybean in the womb, or the stockholders, or the assets and interests of those with no understanding or regard for social & environmental sustainability. And this is precisely because of the effect the language of “rights” has on abstracting us away from the understandings they are based on, that many of us may never experience in our lives.

Until you, a presumably “good” person, knows the conflict between being fed, and stealing from your community, or peace and self-preserving violence, or lawfulness and dutiful civil disobedience, you may never know why rights exist. And that may be part of the problem. I do not think we, in the west as a whole, and definitely less so the higher up the income bracket you go, understand on an experiential level, why we have or need or should fight for our rights. Except if it’s the fight (Dun dun!) for our right (dun dun!) to parrrrrrrrrr-tyyyy! (sorry, I’m a ninties kid)

Maybe we could use a little social collapse. Show us what we’re really made of. And what happens to a “right” when you don’t put your heart, mind, and body on the line to defend it.

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Why Don’t We Have Both?

 I’m always told that “people just aren’t good [quality, moral] enough”. Any solution to our problems is in each individual changing themselves, their situation, their community. But they just don’t, so we just can’t. And I believe this ignores a massive half of what’s going on with these nincompoop people. Here’s a commonplace comment of the kind I mean:
What this fails to see is the trick that words are playing on our conception of the reality we’re talking about, partially cause it’s abstract, and not what most people practically need to deal with in deciding their daily life. There is no real-world, physical referent separating of our economic systems, civilizations, and individual behaviours. Each word highlights concepts and process that are interdependent, and arise in symbiosis. One cannot be, or affect, or change without the other.


That the larger systems “flow from” the smaller is true, but not in the sense the average westerner is wont to think. They have this strawman image of a human, where he is a totally free, 100% self-directed, and competently equipped being, with reference to a subjective set of moral imagined to be objective. Nothing is free from anything else. Your choices are as much the choices of the system as they are your own. And the systems you are a part of are constituted BY you. Both views are right. What’s important is the difference in repercussions of each view; a) You are responsible, or b) You and your systems are mutually reinforcing, with certain soecific things arguably originating at different levels of the micro/macro.

The first, a) presumes crime and punishment is an appropriate world-view, and if we jut take offenders to task, and tell people to buck up, and say “it seems so obvious!”, then the desired situation will arise. Nothing is wrong with the system because either the system is presumed the pinnacle of achievement, or it is altogether not considered, brushed off as “Conspiracy stuff” or “pinko cop outs”, etc.

The second, b) recognizes that you must reinforce the behaviour you want in the systems that guide behaviour (ex. media, arts, structures of resource allocation and decision making systems…), as well as USING your behaviour, to create the system that does so (the second step isolated is what the first view tries to do, but while ignoring the systemic whole of which people are subject parts, for emotional/ideological reasons and such peonic buttfrustrations). The ignorance of the fact that behaviour WILL NOT ARISE that is not reinforced by the cultural, procedural, and biological/psychological state of the organism, is ignorance of the key to a better world. The both/and view of nature & nurture.


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drones drones, go away

The drone is not a weapon designed to increase the accuracy, while minimizing impact on the surroundings, and prevent the loss of home land lives.

It is to abstract and remove the act of war to a machine, to offset the psychological difficulty and personal cost by one degree, as the whole military apparatus does in its hierarchical, small group structure.

This makes for an easier military to run, longer lived soldiers (in the short term), and public indifference who are now very removed from the killing, and can ignore its affects to taste. The drone operates on social and emotional realms of experience, not only the ostensible material. And those who design these drone know this.

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If We Can Find Our “Nature”, should we align or transcend, or in doing one, both?

Could it be that we have naturally inborn conflicting tendencies, like that for motherhood and that for war, for survival and suicide, and are just a fundamentally troubled being?

Might some conditions be considered a distortion of an underlying nature, causing the conflict to arise in its disruption of a necessary dynamic?
From where this distortion? I believe our ability as humans to act contrary to our own organism’s health, safety, and even reality can affect these distortions. This ability is our “story creating” ability, or what manifests as the “be an American!” phenomenon, or the “left” and “right” communities, in their various shades and juxtapositions. It’s what varnishes religion with the seal of reality, and what creates “archetypes” or “stereotypes” or our very own preconceived opinions as we encounter other individuals in our daily life. It can be oversimplifying, and reactive, and can create “enemies” and “badness” and “evil” and suffering, if not matured into a human ability, like physically being stronger than others, or socially avoiding the wanton “breaking of others’ hearts”. It’s extremes are what we call cults, elites, and mental illnesses [and what I’ve called distortions].

I find it, as an opinion, unintuitive that the human organism would be an inherently, unwaveringly self-interfering being. That nothing can be done, or that it is the hitherto fully developed state of humans -as a range of potentialities- to behave in self-defeating ways on the macro scale (beyond our lifetimes and localities, etc.) is not intuitive to me given the great creativity of humans, and our survival to date. To be so definitive would also require more proof than simply along history of having corrupt, violent, selfish, contrary, and small-minded individuals amongst those working to expand, to include, to unite, to inform, and to give back to the people and planet that sustained them, in reverence ti a perceived complex, subtle network being the Earth.

I find it no more inherent that we are absolved of conflict inside and out, and that humans are inherently buddhas or some judeo-christian extraction of “moral” and “good” (which would inform my personal cultural ideas of these pseudo-subjects, right and wrong). These are themselves defined by us, and I think for each of our own interests, in some way. In the same manner that calling an animal “smart” or “dumb” on the basis of its ability to perform a task meaningful subjectively to humans (which is what a lot of people do, in fact calling not only uncomprehending, but simply indifferent animals “dumb”; such arrogance), you cannot call someone “bad” on the basis of your good. It does nothing to help the understanding of the situation, except to outline your chosen (and often, unconsciously “unchosen”) preference, and their alignment therewith.

It’s not as good or bad I root my view of the inherent human, but as an array of interrelated biological propensities, many indistinct from the social environment, and their development along certain regulated processes (cell-reproduction, child-through-adult psychology, etc.) in casual concert with the physical and social environments. Or something like that. To say “the human” in the sense of our individual meat person object, is not to refer to enough of the system -both in detail and breadth of the world covered- and I want to keep clear that I think we have both an inherent nature, and an inextricable connection to what we grow up in (social, nutritional, ecological…), and that various definition of “we” would necessarily include these.

Following closely from that picture is a malleable, if too-complex and poorly-understood human being. There are aspects of ourselves that will be around as long as this present physical, genetic constitution, and these socioeconomic processes make up our defined selves, materially speaking. But the manifestation of these (earlier I called them “propensities” to stress their subjective nature) cannot be predicted by any know modelling or prediction. I cannot give you enough information about my DNA, my upbringing, my culture, and biochemistry to have you give me a picture of what I will look like at 30, in all these areas. Epi-genetic changes alter my DNA’s expression along the way. The mores of cultures shift, and today it seems to happen within single generations. And the understanding of all that we are as a physical being, let alone that combined with the compounds of the daily human experience, is not complete, to say the least.

There’s more than a reductionist individualist perspective wants to believe. And I get that, it’s simpler to blame individuals who cannot conform than to account for a system of variable, and perhaps identify the socioeconomic paradigm itself. It’s certainly easier to scare than to inform. And it’s one of those propensities again, if I try to reinforce what I was raised to believe… UNLESS I was raised by people conscious enough to raise me to believe that what I was raised to believe should be questioned, and everything else likewise.

We need to become conscious created beings, in that sense, if we are to persist into the future, and what I’m trying to say is that this is possible. The aspect of our beings in our control (both that selves can control within, and those which we can stimulate and manipulate in each other) are sufficient to create the critically thinking, humble, patient, healthy, tolerant, sober (not like drugs and alcohol… more like accepting hard truths, and being 100% globally transparent in sensitive matters), and good-humoured people that can have the effect necessary on the world of inevitable followers, people of learning (their pretentious counter-parts), and the social institutions and global practices that pervade.

To do this, I think we must both align with and transcend our ‘nature’. The states of our being which reflect contentment, evenness, peace, longevity, vitality, sturdiness, depth… these I think point to a preferable goal, since we must always choose a goal before advancing with beliefs and behaviours, even if we aren’t aware of the process. These experiences are in our nature -in that they are experienceable by theoretically all people- and our nurture -regarding the treatment of each individual (which likely differs between individuals) that is necessary to bring these states about.

The aspects of the biology, the culture, or the environment, or the bio-psycho-social pressures which do not support these states can be treated in a few ways to maintain the beings I’ve proposed as potentially desireable (and I posit this holds, whatever the beings you wish to be among). You may adjust the social pressures:

-Ex. sexual positivism, gender equality, fluid identity norms, etc. can alleviate issues related to repression, abuse, ostrasization, and the social, physical, and structural violence resultant; the malleable social values of people can be consciously changed through information flowing inward from outside the culture, or through various means of self-realization, and cultural mores may be erected with maintain these flexible policies.

You may adjust the environmental pressures:

-Ex. there is not enough food around here, and the group moves on to a location with more abundance sources of sustenance.

Or, as often neglected (or distorted in games of blaming and justifying fear) you may adjust the psychological pressures:

– Ex. Through meditation, and less reactive, more stable emotional being can be achieved, and a sameness of being with regards to  sexual passion, ego/reputation, and excitability of faculties of irritation, pain, or fear. A gradual, incremental, and paradoxical journey, this honing of one’s mind acts to enhance your every ability and perception, slowing and steadying the very quality of your perception, and making peaceful, wide, and wise your consideration of the experience around you. As this happens your language to describe things may change to reflect a new understanding. Your interests, sensitivities, and humour may change. However, the total abolition of reaction may be a difficult task, and I wouldn’t worry about making yourself indifferent to the world through meditation (not so much as through acceptance of a narrow, flat, plastic reality that you can stand to consciously live in, and under which you subvert your authentic expression in exchange for consistency and banality). You go on theoretically forever inwardly, and will at a certain point decide you’re probably good to go with mindfulness anyway.

I don’t think “accept it and enjoy the ride down” is good enough, people. We can create the conditions around ourselves, using forethought, and scientific ingenuity, that inevitably give rise to healthy, whole, updating, creating beings that don’t destroy themselves or their home in the process, with a wild panoply of variation and subjective angle to dig your teeth into during your 150 or so year human super existence. That’s what I see baby, and I’m not the only one.


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Startled Awake by Ford & Radel?

It’s stupid that we only get upset about politics corruption and the personal “failings” of politicians when they’re shoved right in our faces day after day.

We can’t figure for ourselves that politicians fuck and a get high, or that corporate leaders are not concerned with healthy, safety, sustainability, or the world’s populations, or that this war will be just as bad as the last?

If you’re smart, you’re already against the next war.
If you’re smart, you’re against every candidate they could come up with.
If you’re smart, you know that policies and manifestos and charters and rules and law will never touch the power of money, nor those who hold the lion’s share of that power.
And you must have figured out that we need to address the root causes of things like drug abuse, the flow of drugs into North America, the political an corporate corruption you could by now set your watch by, and the apathy and mediocrity of the people tasked with fixing this situation: the many citizens in lazy, numbed dereliction of their democratic duties.

Please don’t go back to sleep.

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Good and Evil?

“Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.”

“There is no evil but want of proportion.”
-The Shape of Things to Come, H. G. Wells

The common way of knowing “evil” where I grew up is by defining it as the enemy, the other, that which you should not be. That darkness, whosoever else it was, was what we are not, and those who lived lives too overflowing with violence, or drug use, or breaking laws, or with the emptiness of the human experience, or other pulse-quickening activity we’re roundly “bad people”. Especially if their darkness was visible in our light. It could never overtake a truly light arena, but don’t tell my parents, siblings, teachers, peers, friends, or local government officials that. Evil was a threat. And the problem with evil was that it existed. Nothing less than malocide should suffice to solve it.

What I always found to be an abominable evil, that I never had much agreement on, was Christmas. All these gooey, uncharacteristically cheery people, lighting everything up and exchanging useless crap to the tune of a tradition of okay music, and too-full wine glasses clinking in the mirth. I hated mirth. It seemed so dishonest. I knew the adults and their miserable, banal glazes staring through the windows of their lives at its customers ringing through, one by one. The actual cashiers, but the cops, the prostitutes, the drug dealers, the broken-spirited iconoclasts all had no particular affinity for their life and situation. And I knew this. So to put that flab of life into a shiny corset at calendar intervals -or to generally live non-employed hours as if impenetrable to world-issues, personal and cultural dysfunction, and unhealthy dominance of consumption everywhere… and prickling every time such “sad things” were brought up… it was all hypocrisy! And it was unhealthy.

We’re right to see a bare dysfunction in the man who takes life out of a boredom, and a desire to feel elevated and powerful. this is depravity, no doubt. But to forget that humans area social organism, and that not only conscious informational message packets (memes), but also unconscious ones (norms), and the effecta of each of our behaviours on unique individuals  (epi-genetic effects) ripple through the grapevine, and this depraved murderer did not congeal in a vacuum, nor did the bio-psycho-social pressures which developed him (which are him?). A great outline of structural and cultural violence is by Mark Vorobej (2008).

And we’re blinded not to act on the evident cold-comfort that is an existence of being overdosed with the uplifting, the stimulating, the engrossing, the placating. Acculturation to this gilded cage -hating the job we do, the people we know, the obligations we have, the very nature of the being we are (hairy, smelly, mortal!), and staying put in it all ’cause it’s comfortable- produced what I’ve called in my life ‘happy terrorists’. Using fear of their melting down, retaliating, lashing, they keep everyone around them “positive”, or affirming their truth. It’s a false positive. It’s livid fear squashed into Pandora’s box, and put in the corner. Just don’t touch it.

The problem, as the opening quotes hinted, is not in the existence of evil, or the ignorance of it, but in measured experience of all that life offers, far be it from me to make it ‘either/or’. When your guide is to do good, or to cast yourself against evil, or to uphold ‘order and justice’, or to destroy them, as your approach outright to life, you use a hammer for every stage of a complex construction. Or, to keep the opening metaphor, apply either strychnine or soda pop to every ailment.

I have a deep suspicion as much of those who would try to remove themselves from indebtedness to the universe, from their place in cycles of birth/death/rebirth (not as in reincarnation…) as those who narrow down to the most emotionally charging, basic elements of cruelty and chance. Those who seemingly never live, and those who only live once. I think I see them roughly peopled out in my life: the happy terrorists in those of my uncultured, poor family when they button up white shirts and pretend at their office jobs; the over-indulgers in the addicts to substance and pain… no real murdering types, though.

I have come to think that some element of what my culture calls ‘evil’ -I’ve preferred ‘darkness’ as a less weaselly word’- is necessary to have present in one’s consciously accepted and created experience (yer life) in concert with the affirmation of what by contrast we’d call the ‘light’ (though this sounds very woo-ey…). This is one of the reasons I”m no longer a vegan. An attempt to cleanse the non-human order of a very basic property (the killing and dying part) runs to extremes among the animal rights crowds I’ve known, and this feels unhealthy. Like trying to not shit, ’cause it’s gross and impolite an dour social values say “no”. You can’t construct social values in the path of nature. No, no one’s defending rape keep you unflattering underwear on straight. I won’t commit to delineating one act that is “too bad”, and one that’s “just bad enough’, ’cause more than anything, that’s not the point (and that’s an intellectually childish game of evo-psych sensationalism, quite friggin’ frankly). The point is that whatever conversation we have needs to talk non-judgementally about the fact that humans produce physical, social, and self-inflicted violence, as well as cultural and social violence on these bases, when should, doesn’t/shouldn’t, does is not satisfied in development. We need a space for the dark to exist without piling more fears on it in the form of social stigma.
This lacking in our personal lives is one of the very things keeping people-powered governance structures in such a piss-poor condition. The rule of not discussing politics or religion so long-dominant exemplifies our not wanting to even acknowledge being involved in the warping of Earth as we know it; corrupt, manipulative governing parties; classism; the value distortion of the monetary/ market system (or the separation paradigm, depending how far you wanna go). How can we attempt any of the issues so horse-blinded?
And though my people give this message off in overwhelming (and surprisingly hypocritical) abundance, I won’t give it much, save to state it for the record: don’t kill, or steal, or destroy, or be too contrary or stubborn, or superstitious, please. It doesn’t fare well for the lot of us.

The cultures I see, far west across my continent and then across the Pacific ocean, have a perspective that seems to align with this point I’m trying to make. The yin and yang show not only the light and dark coexisting, but existing even within each other. Someone has seen the evil of too much good, and the good that might come from what we perceive as a great evil. I’m sure many peoples throughout the world have lived based on this alignment first with what is, drawing social values and ideas of the sacred from what the experiences presently before them demanded. I fantasize about a time before humans were pulled, in the large share of their thought, word, and deed, by the strings of monolithic organized dogmas of a superstitious, or pseudo scientific, or anti-economic nature.
And I want tonight to ask submit not for a critical analysis, but for humble, earnest experimentation with the  paradigm of a social value beyond good and evil.

    “Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
    there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
    doesn’t make sense any more.”

― Rumi

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to diminish the preciousness of “me”

An essay I thought you’d like.
Continue reading

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bertie russell on fuhlosafy.

“The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected.”

-Bertrand Russell, chapter 15 ‘The Value of Philosophy’ from his ‘Problems of Philosophy’