American Douche Bag vs Cecil the lion

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Quote .ren:...This is not intended as a blanket labeling of all religious-minded folks, by any means. Robert Jensen, for instance, (We Are All Apocalyptic Now) self identifies a Unitarian religious-minded person, yet his interpretation of the world tends to fall more along the lines of an if-then hypothesizing scenario-making process. He explains his patterned way of thinking about the world in this talk about "cults," where we can perhaps recognize that in his view, cults are made up of people who would rather follow someone else than possibility-think for themselves: Robert Jensen on Capitalism v. Christianity: A Tale of Two Cults.

Actually, Jensen identifies as an atheist who attends a Presbyterian Church, because that particular church leaves aside supernatural interpretations of the Bible in favor of the more poetic, metaphoric approach to myth and stories, for the meaning, wisdom, values, richness, and enchantment [I assume] he must be finding there. As a long admirer of Jensen, mostly for the fact of his feminism, I find it perplexing, no doubt on account of whatever mind-set I possess, that he would turn to the Presbyterian Church, especially since he is an atheist and a feminist. The Church does not have an especially affirmative position on abortion, for example. http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/101/abortion-issues/

Anyway, I’m wondering what’s to be done for the person who neither practices a fundamentalist-religion bias or a scientific bias. What if you’re neither and come from a unique and original place, perceiving by one’s own, particular mind-set, a perspective one has evolved over many years of living through unique experiences? You might be perceived by others as this or that kind of person, but often as not, people see what they want to see, not what’s real.

Whatever, I can’t resist sharing the following from The Onion:

Quote The Onion:

Following the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, many governments are beginning to question the ethics and fallout of trophy hunting as a sport, while others say the arguments against it are overblown. The Onion breaks down the pros and cons of big-game hunting:

PRO

Gives animal kingdom stern reminder about who’s top dog

Get to be one of very few people to experience raw, primal exhilaration of being reviled by tens of millions of people

Lot of empty wall space in apartment

Killing fun

Chance of being killed by lion drastically reduced once they are extinct

Part of time-honored tradition that dates all the way back to humankind’s earliest assholes

CON

Shoulder pain from recoil of elephant gun

Already hard enough for female lions to find decent mate

Taxidermists often get eyes wrong

Bizarre sexual gratification of murdering large game can only satisfy for so long before you must turn to humans

Lion’s next of kin only get small portion of hunting fee

When people ask “Do you shoot defenseless animals with metal arrows, wait until they bleed out, and then stuff their remains for decoration?” the answer is “Yes”

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Actually, Jensen identifies as an atheist who attends a Presbyterian Church, because that particular church leaves aside supernatural interpretations of the Bible in favor of the more poetic, metaphoric approach to myth and stories, for the meaning, wisdom, values, richness, and enchantment [I assume] he must be finding there. As a long admirer of Jensen, mostly for the fact of his feminism, I find it perplexing, no doubt on account of whatever mind-set I possess, that he would turn to the Presbyterian Church, especially since he is an atheist and a feminist.

His account of religious-minded as I've listened closely to it in a number of his presentations and essays can include both feminism and atheism... or not, depending on what you want it to be in your way of interpreting, of course. But I don't see religion as a blanket label myself with any specific finite definition, so maybe that's not likely to be an issue for me.

Quote Zenzoe:

Anyway, I’m wondering what’s to be done for the person who neither practices a fundamentalist-religion bias or a scientific bias.

Can a scientist practice science, that is employ the rational process of the scientific method, without a "scientific bias" or is practicing the scientific method automatically a bias in your weltanschauung?

What's to be done? By whom?

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

McPherson speaks in vague ("If industrial civilization collapses this year, then we could see an increase of 1.4 degrees celsius.") and unscientific terms. Scott Johnson explains in detail why McPherson is wrong about so much.

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Garrett78
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Quote Scott K. Johnson "I'm a geoscience educator, hydrogeologist, and freelance science writer contributing at Ars Technica. This is my personal blog.":

Recently, a few Ars Technica commenters have been posting references to the work of Guy McPherson on climate articles. McPherson is a retired professor of ecology at the University of Arizona, and he runs a blog called Nature Bats Last. In recent years, he has turned his energies to dire warnings of impending climate catastrophe. Those warnings go far beyond what you’ll find anywhere else: McPherson believes humans will go extinct in as little as two decades.

Does McPherson believe that? I don't know him, I haven't asked him. I don't know what I'd believe no matter what he claims to believe. I don't feel that it matters what I believe. He claims to be speculating, I linked a video where he makes that claim. I have no desire whatsoever to make any claims about what Guy McPherson believes or doesn't believe. That's going into terrirtory I am well aware I can't go into.

Appealing to an "expert" who goes to his blog from his larger internet news forum site to explain how someone else is wrong about something they claim to be speculating about is a bit squishy. I'm sure that's even a logical fallacy of some sort If I cared to track it down. At any rate I find it a waste of my time.

I don't trust Guy Mcpherson or anyone else to know the whole story about what's going on. I don't think any human is capable of that, and I promise to doubt any attempt at proof to the contrary. Apparently he does have a loyal support group. Some folks have identified them as cultists. I'm sure that's objective. I don't believe I could care any less about that. I'm pretty well practiced with the scientific method as a tool, so I go from there on my own.

I'm more interested in the many questions that remain open about our biosphere. When I hear about a looming 6th mass extinction event from many scientific method-based sources, like a compendium analysis from a figure-head representing the eminently reserved Smithsonian Institute and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, now that gets my attention. I want to know more about that. I look, I analyze as best as any objectivity flawed human (that I figure we all are) can, and I must inevitably come to my own conclusions. Please don't follow me.

At this point I don't put climate change at the center of that conjectured extinction event. I'm more of a big picture, evolution of ecological consciousness kind of person. The biology of the earth appears from our science to have been evolving as a biological home creation planet for about 4 billion years -- that's on a planet that's only 4.5 billion years old, you know, if you can believe the science. The majority of that time life's evolution appears to have been in the form of bacteria, which aren't sophisticated enough life forms to amount to being complexity-creating species. Species that begin to become more complex apparently appear in the fossil record about 500 million years ago. Of course I have to trust what I read from science sources about that, so doubt is always a specter in my mind. However, I find it fun to imagine; so I do.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

My point is this: there are those who are scientific (see Johnson's blog post, which points to a mountain of solid evidence). Then there are those who are unscientific (McPherson) or antiscientific (deniers or so-called "skeptics" or those like stwo who seem to suggest that global warming will be a net positive). The latter variations do a disservice, not unlike grand conspiracy theorists who turn self-evident truths (money's influence in politics) into utter nonsense (9-11-01 theories, chemtrail blather, anything Alex Jones goes on about).

Big picture views (e.g., culture of glorified violence vs. focusing on Cecil the Lion) I'm all for, but I do think it's important to recognize that the likes of McPherson don't help the cause--the cause of making the world a more peaceful, just place. I won't say he's doing as much damage as say, Sean Hannity or James Inhofe, but he's still spewing nonsense.

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

You can go after people as you see fit. It's your prerogative.

I try to stick with the science. I'm not into causes. I find that too much opinion is involved in how to manage someone's cause. People can have their opinions.

I have looked extensively into the propaganda industry that manufactures doubt in the uninformed and the too lazy to think for themselves. I haven't yet seen one mention of happy acclaim for the support that Guy offers them with his science-based (however erroneously interpreted on his part) analysis and speculations.

The manufacturer's of doubt seem to go after the science itself in an effort to debunk science as a valid analytical discipline, a mere though highly sophisticated tool to help us understand our part in the biosphere of this planet. They offer a lot of ad hominem-oriented "evidence" related to scientists who are actually doing the science. This seems to be offered as a kind side bar of entertainment, which is a questionable form of propaganda itself to me. They've been effective in dimming the enthusiasm of many of those scientists they go after to continue their pursuit of these matters. I find it rare for a scientist to exhibit a strong appetite for public relations.

I don't see any reason to shut Guy up and even if I did, I wouldn't support any efforts to do so. Otherwise I have no interest in influencing people to believe anything they don't want to think out for themselves. I do try to encourage that.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote Garrett78:...or those like stwo who seem to suggest that global warming will be a net positive). .
I have never made any statement regarding what global warming "will be". I have stated that the effects to date, have been positive.

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stwo
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Quote stwo:
Quote Garrett78:...or those like stwo who seem to suggest that global warming will be a net positive). .
I have never made any statement regarding what global warming "will be". I have stated that the effects to date, have been positive.

This suggests you can accurately isolate and then compare/contrast those effects (which may or may not include an increase in the intensity and occurence of natural disasters such as drought, loss of life that alters the global ecosystem in unforeseen ways, spread of disease, even increased agitation/violence resulting from warmer temps, etc.), which I don't believe you can. It's my understanding that it's still too early to know precisely what the immediate impacts (of AGW) are and how they relate to long-term projections. What is clear is that a multitude of varying entities (from nation states to climate scientists to NASA to the US Pentagon) have expressed significant concern.

Not to mention the causes of said warming that are undeniably unhealthy, such as pollution of various kinds.

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Garrett78
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I guess, Ren, that I'm only "going after" McPherson and his ilk precisely because they aren't sticking to the science--instead, they embellish, twist and mislead. Probably not maliciously, mind you--I imagine there are deep-seated psychological (and fairly innocent) reasons why people are drawn to dystopian or doomsday views/novels/movies (I humbly admit that I've mistakenly succumb to some such views in the past). Some theorize that the appeal has to do with wanting to believe those of us living today are the apex of our species--it can only get worse from here. Others argue it's about excitement. And, as with conspiracy theorists (McPherson certainly comes across as one), it can be about wanting a sense of control. But the likes of McPherson may as well be among the merchants of doubt (or those with a vested interest in denying or not addressing anthropogenic warming) that rightfully concern you, because they provide merchants of doubt with ammunition and serve as a distraction. As Johnson makes clear throughout his point-by-point analysis of McPherson claims, McPherson engages in tactics that parallel those employed by so-called "skeptics."

Quote Scott Johnson:–GM writes “Through late March 2013, global oceans have risen approximately ten millimeters per year during the last two years. This rate of rise is over three times the rate of sea level rise during the time of satellite-based observations from 1993 to the present.” Sounds like it’s accelerating rapidly, doesn’t it? Even his link is to a post showing why this is not a sign of acceleration. The tremendous La Nina of 2011 dumped tons of rain on Australia and the Amazon, adding so much water to continental storage that sea level fell over 5 mm. As that water drained back to the oceans, sea level rise increased. You can see the most up-to-date data here. This is cherry picking. This is what climate “skeptics” do.
Quote Scott Johnson:Here’s where the Arctic methane stuff gets hot and heavy, as one person is quoted as saying, “The world is probably at the start of a runaway Greenhouse Event which will end most human life on Earth before 2040.” There’s simply no evidence for this. You won’t find any published studies to support it. GM goes a step further, citing an “analysis” on the “Arctic News” blog, predicting a 20C warming by 2050. What is this prediction based on? Curves drawn on a chart. If you fit the right polynomial (a dangerous activity) to the Arctic temperature data that shows roughly 2C warming from 1980 to 2010, you can get it to skyrocket to 20C by 2050. (Well, actually you can’t quite, so a steeper line is simply drawn on.) No climate model. No physics. Just a line. This isn’t science. This is the kind of thing that lazy climate “skeptics” do (the smarter ones won’t).

Of course nobody can know for certain what any individual truly believes, but we can determine if expressed opinions are based on sound evidence. In this regard, McPherson fails time and time again.

Quote Scott Johnson:I’ve discovered some interesting comments on GM’s post. A poster named Eric took issue with some of GM’s claims, and pointed out a few of the same errors I’ve outlined above (like reports not saying what GM claims they say). To make sure his criticism came across correctly, Eric noted, “I’m not saying climate change is a non issue- In fact I happen to think that it is humanities BIGGEST issue. However hyperbole and exaggerated threats serve no purpose but too slow down the response and make people lose hope. I appreciate your time and I hope I have contributed to the discussion in a meaningful way.”

After another poster asked if GM was going to respond, he wrote, “I will not take time to deal with Eric the denier. No amount of evidence will convince deniers of anything, so I’ll not waste my time. If you’re interested in evidence, there’s plenty in this post to support all I’ve written and said.” This appears to be a representative exchange.

This is an especially disturbing response by McPherson, as Eric made it clear that labeling him a "denier" is quite ridiculous. It's sad that Eric even had to preface his remarks the way he did, not unlike how I prefaced post #99 of this thread with "Anthropogenic climate change is real and environmental degradation is a serious concern, but..."

McPherson is like the boy who cried wolf. No, the boy's pranks shouldn't mean concerns over wolves eating sheep cease to be valid, but those valid concerns get disregarded nonetheless. I'm not excusing the merchants of doubt by any means, or the deniers who post at this site. I'm merely making the case that the likes of McPherson make it easier for those who wish to obfuscate or distract. The "likes of McPherson," for it should be noted that McPherson has plenty of company. McPherson, though, was specifically mentioned in this thread and he provides a prime example of someone who does not 'stick to the science'. Therefore, I really am addressing a big picture concern: obfuscation (be it authored by merchants of doubt or unscientific doomsdayers).

Quote Scott Johnson:Here’s a hum-dinger I mentioned way up above. “As one little-discussed example, atmospheric oxygen levels are dropping to levels considered dangerous for humans, particularly in cities.” Yes, that link goes to a survivalist blog. No, we’re not going to suffocate because burning fossil fuels is using up all the oxygen in the atmosphere. It’s true that fossil fuel combustion has sightly lowered the concentration— this is one way we know humans are responsible for rising CO2— but it’s not even remotely close to a significant decrease. Between 1990 and 2005, the proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere decreased about 0.0002%.
Quote Scott Johnson:“Arctic News” returns, along with a YouTube video, to claim that “Arctic methane release and rapid global temperature rise are interlinked — including a temperature rise up to about 1 C per year over a decade,according to data from ice cores“. The “analysis” is someone looking at data from a Greenland ice core, deciding that methane looks more important than CO2 (physics need not apply), and noting the abrupt warming at the end of the Younger Dryas, an interesting period about 12,000 years ago and is thought to have been brought about by a disruption of ocean circulation. (Questions remain.) First, temperatures calculated from Greenland ice cores are local temperatures, not the global average, and the change during the remarkable event was less elsewhere. Second, the methane increase in the ice cores they point to as the cause of the warming is from about 450 to 750 ppb— a difference of 300 ppb. Remember that the global average today is about 1,800 ppb. Methane has increased about 150 ppb since 1985. Has that had a similar effect to what they’re proposing? The first link in GM’s statement contains this ludicrous extrapolation: “The atmospheric temperature increase in Australia this year (0.22C) indicates that in 10 years it will exceed 2.2C and in 30 to 40 years, 6.6C to 8.8C.” I’m not sure you can get more unscientific than that. Australia, by the way, has warmed about 1C since 1950.

And on and on and on. I can't help but think McPherson and his ilk (and those who help spread his unscientific views) do a serious disservice, unintentional though it may be.

It's probably best that we not worry too much about my use of "cause" or prediction vs. scenario (utterly unrealistic, unscientific 'scenarios' serve no purpose) if we wish to focus on what we're referring to as "the big picture."

Again, I'm all for big picture views. Far too much time is spent dwelling on minutia, if you ask me. This message board, other websites and the media at large is populated with thousands of threads about thousands of "news" bits, but I'd say virtually all of them can fit into one or more of just a handful of categories (violence, bigotry of one kind or another, greed, commodification, nationalism or us vs. them/"the other"). A failure on the part of societies as a whole to delve into those broader categories is, I think, devastating. That said, there's no simple solution. Try getting several dozen or even 10 message board posters to maintain focus on big picture matters, much less an entire society, and you come to grasp why the proverbial "arc of the moral universe" is so incredibly long. None of which is to say people shouldn't express anger or upset over specific events, but causes of such events will go unaddressed without a collective discussion of the big picture. Bearing in mind that different people will have different opinions about what constitutes the big picture (in the case of Cecil the Lion: glorification of violence, disturbing notions of what it means to be "manly," commodification of nature, etc.). And that's fine--that dialogue is important. Suffice it to say, the big picture regarding the event featured in this thread goes far beyond the killing of a particular lion by a particular individual. To suggest otherwise is to suggest this event (killing for sport) was an isolated incident with no relation to an overarching culture (nurture) or human trait (nature). I think we can agree that such a view is patently false. That said, it would understandably be considered insensitive (even cruel) to minimize the pain suffered by a loved one, to insist on focusing solely on the overarching causes (poverty, poor nutrition, sexism and misogyny, etc.) of an epidemic such as the frequent death of children worldwide. But separate from empathizing with the individual (which could be you and not some "other") there must be a discussion about identifying and addressing causes.

Today, more minutia will be bandied about without a collective realization or acknowledgment that the root cause(s) match those of the minutia that was discussed and debated yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. What forest? All I see are trees. Perhaps we're afraid to explore and address our collective nature and nurture, which could alter the collective consciousness or conscience, which could spark a leap to the next rung on the evolutionary ladder. Or maybe it's intellectual laziness. Or a way to pretend we're nothing like those featured by the media as perpetrators (it's tempting to believe delineation between "good" and "evil" is straightforward and absent of gray area; it's tempting to believe oneself never has and never would perpetrate such acts regardless of circumstance). I'm not sure the precise reasons for not wanting to address overarching causes. But I do find it disconcerting and rarely bother anymore with message boards (or the infotainment industry) as a result (it's too easy to get lost in the details/specifics or enraged by dehumanizing acts - including those committed by the so-called "progressive" media - such as referring to fellow human beings as "illegal"). I appreciate that you, Ren, wish to focus on the big picture. A greater degree of deep, critical (and scientific) thinking is sorely needed.

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

Quote .ren:

Quote Zenzoe:

Actually, Jensen identifies as an atheist who attends a Presbyterian Church, because that particular church leaves aside supernatural interpretations of the Bible in favor of the more poetic, metaphoric approach to myth and stories, for the meaning, wisdom, values, richness, and enchantment [I assume] he must be finding there. As a long admirer of Jensen, mostly for the fact of his feminism, I find it perplexing, no doubt on account of whatever mind-set I possess, that he would turn to the Presbyterian Church, especially since he is an atheist and a feminist.

His account of religious-minded as I've listened closely to it in a number of his presentations and essays can include both feminism and atheism... or not, depending on what you want it to be in your way of interpreting, of course. But I don't see religion as a blanket label myself with any specific finite definition, so maybe that's not likely to be an issue for me.


Of course, if you like, any word can mean anything at all, depending on context and one’s willingness to define words as one goes along; I am all for poetic license. But at a certain point I begin to ask myself if words have meaning at all and whether, or not, the language has been corrupted by sloppy usage. I tend to want to pick le mot juste, as some words work for the meaning I wish to convey, and some simply aren’t appropriate, or, if I wish to be clear and preserve the language, a more specific word might do the job of communication much more effectively.

As I read Jensen’s essay Why I Am a Christian (Sort Of), I get the impression he isn’t so much religious as he is community-minded. His reasons for joining a Christian church, as he admits, are political rather than theological: “...my decision to join a church was more a political than a theological act. As a political organizer interested in a variety of social-justice issues, I look for places to engage people in discussion. In a depoliticized society such as the United States -- where ordinary people in everyday spaces do not routinely talk about politics and underlying values -- churches are one of the few places where such engagement is possible. Even though many ministers and churchgoers shy away from making church a place for discussion of specific political issues, people there expect to engage fundamental questions about what it means to be human and the obligations we owe each other -- questions that are always at the core of politics...”

As I see it, his “Christianity” is a strategic choice: he seeks to widen the conversation about social and political issues outside the realm of the university and his personal office where he spends most of his time. I can understand that, and I don’t wish to imply a criticism. I think he’s as serious and sincere a man as any of the others we admire. In fact, it’s quite refreshing to imagine the mind-set of an atheist and feminist commingling with that of the religious set. Let’s just hope he influences them, rather than the other way around.

Btw, Ren, are you familiar (probably) with Eliza Gilkyson, singer-songwriter and Jensen’s wife? One of her best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs4ZqWwZNJM

Quote .ren:

Quote Zenzoe:

Anyway, I’m wondering what’s to be done for the person who neither practices a fundamentalist-religion bias or a scientific bias.

Can a scientist practice science, that is employ the rational process of the scientific method, without a "scientific bias" or is practicing the scientific method automatically a bias in your weltanschauung?


Well, that’s an instance of my sloppy memory of your words, or sloppy word choice. I should have looked back to see how you framed it. Looking back now, I see you wrote, “science-minded” person. That, yes, differs quite a bit from “scientific bias.”

However, scientists can and do sometimes exhibit bias, which often as not derives less from the science aspect than it does from the social aspect. Scientists are human and subject to all the same human foibles as the rest of us. For example, the masculinist bias has corrupted science in the past. The scientific method makes no progress at all, when sexism, for example, corrupts the vision of those doing the research, suggesting scenarios, or telling the story.

Quote .ren:

What's to be done? By whom?

That was my code for “How do you deal with the fact of people who don’t fall into your dual category scenario?” I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that people fall into only two mind-set categories. I meant only to ask, to verify your understanding that we cannot do that to people, because, according to my “weltanschauung” (and thanks for the new word), the safer claim defines each human being as unique. Yes, tendencies exist, similarities between people, but an intimate look at any one person will discover differences in style, personality and sensibility compared to others in his or her tribe.

Having said as much, I reserve the right to condemn according to type any time I like. ;-)

Aldous Huxley’s little book, Literature and Science, meanders over the subject of the two types who fall under those two categories. Such an interesting read. He was the literary artist; his brother was the scientist.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Garrett78:
Quote stwo:
Quote Garrett78:...or those like stwo who seem to suggest that global warming will be a net positive). .
I have never made any statement regarding what global warming "will be". I have stated that the effects to date, have been positive.
This suggests you can accurately isolate and then compare/contrast those effects (which may or may not include an increase in the intensity and occurence of natural disasters such as drought, loss of life that alters the global ecosystem in unforeseen ways, spread of disease, even increased agitation/violence resulting from warmer temps, etc.), which I don't believe you can. It's my understanding that it's still too early to know precisely what the immediate impacts (of AGW) are and how they relate to long-term projections. What is clear is that a multitude of varying entities (from nation states to climate scientists to NASA to the US Pentagon) have expressed significant concern.

Not to mention the causes of said warming that are undeniably unhealthy, such as pollution of various kinds.

No, it suggests that by all objective MEASUREMENTS, weather has been on a neutral to more more benign trend since global warming became an issue. I should have worded it, " I believe the effects to date, if any, have been positive." I haven't seen any research asserting that any specific weather changes can be attributed to the miniscule warming we've experienced so far.; only that if it keeps warming then things "could" get worse. And by god Garrett78- you are right- I too have seen expressions of Concern! We should all be concerned.

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stwo
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I appreciate everything that you're saying there, Garrett. I ask we back up a bit and put my McPherson link that brought him to this thread in perspective. And maybe if we do, we can see that your one person (Scott Johnson) critical attack on Guy's use or misuse of the science might be a slight overreaction to the only point I brought him in (post #63) to make, which did not refer to any of his work on global warming. I only used it to put a big picture view into the concerns for the killing of the lion. Clearly his views are not popular with a lot of folks, even when he compares the dentist to The Bomber In Chief.

All he does in that video is scold Americans for making an issue of one person, one killing while he sees that so much is being ignored that may in fact relate to your larger picture concerns.

I'm just trying to put out metaphorical grass fire. I'd much rather see your passion on some of my threads that have to do with my big picture concerns than with someone who I seldom reference. I think your thoughts would go well to show where bioregional thinking and permaculture design is needed for those very serious concerns not being addressed by our current industrial civilization's strategy for survival on this planed.

I did look at your source and I do see flaws in all sorts of things. For the most part young Scott seems well-intentioned and the science he cites is not bad science, and I applaud him for his efforts. I do not want to make an issue of him or any of this about Guy, it's not part of the topic of this thread. And this thread is something I've spent a lot of what I call "gummy bear chewing time" on, which is not somthing I like doing nor think is worth doing. I chewed gummy bears as a child to get them off my teeth and then I wised up and didn't bite into another. For me, the sweetness was not worth the bother.

I felt that the uproar over the killing Cecil the lion might be worth talking about in the sense that people can get so worked up over a single issue. As you too suggest, the psychology of that might be worth thinking about for a moment or two. I do agree with your points in that respect, the psychology of the reaction to the dentist and the lion has a big picture aspect in relating to how the individual imagines the violence she or he gets to hear about in the world. And that's all I brought in Guy to say in that 2 minute 43 second message I linked. He may be wrong in many ways but I do agree with his point in that message when he talks about the violence that's being spread by the U.S. and the military industrial complex that allows the US to continue its wasteful ways, or as he puts it, to turn on our lights and computers and type these words. I can relate to that bigger picture. He calls that bigger picture the "Lion's Share of the Blame."

Because I hear so many responding to that scolding with, 'we have to keep going with industrial civilization or go back to the stone age', and then turn to scold those of us who criticize these decisions while saying it's only those binary opposites, I try to point out that's constructing a false dilemma.

We do have other choices. People are working on them. The results are speaking for themselves. I've linked so many, though I have no way of measuring how many who argue on this thread have bothered to look.

So I post what I have explored as a real alternative choice that continues in an intentionally evolutionary positive manner with all we have learned through the scientific method about the 4 billion year evoulutionary biology of this planet instead of continuing violently in so many respects working against it.

Interesting to see how little interest there is in discussing that possibility as yet.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Yes, I'm familiar with Eliza Gilkyson. I have listened to and deeply appreciated many of her songs. I didn't know she and Jensen were married. I've thought how lucky someone would be to have an intimate relationship with someone like her.

My perspective on language is probably not that different from yours. I don't, (and maybe this is different or maybe its picking out something in the context that you might think differently about if you weren't trying to construct an argument) see language as a thing, a done deal, ediface kind of thing. I see language as a universal capability we all share. I think Chomsky is onto something when he suggests that the 'universal' is in the potential to create all sorts of grammatical constructions from something given in our brains at this point, something that's evolved to be there in all of us. But, he cautions, the meanings -- he uses the term "semantics" -- is not part of that given.

Realizing the depths of Chomsky's insight and the implications to my own creative existence simply as an ordinary human being may have been one of the most liberating moments of my life. We do not inherent meaning with language. Therefore, we must create it in context. Which brings up a side thought on word definition. Definition is a handy historical reference of sorts, but definitions change with the structural changes of context as well. And that too is evolutionary in vision. Because we can step back now and see that the world is in a ongoing process of dynamic change at all times. So context, and our relationship to and with each other in context, is changing in an ever changing dynamic, and we need to be flexible when we try to communicate within that dynamic flux of change.

Sometimes we are, and sometimes we aren't flexible in context, and it's not hard to identify the authoritarian forces, both within and without, that resist our urge to be flexible. That dichotomy is also there as part of the process. But all process is far more dynamic than any of the structural and sometimes rigid dichotomies within. And out of that comes a potential for creativity.

That's where our free will and our creativity to create these grammatical constructions in the ever changing processes of our lives come together with our language creating abilities. That's the becoming of context we try to communicate within come to play out with our capacity to create language. Take that away with rules and regulating about what we can and can't say within our social arrangements (like the hierarchical institutions where rules can be made and enforced about what we are allowed to say) and we cut off our creative language wings and never get off the ground to see and communicate with each other in the many realms where our imaginations can soar.

Quote Zenzoe:

That was my code for “How do you deal with the fact of people who don’t fall into your dual category scenario?” I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that people fall into only two mind-set categories. I meant only to ask, to verify your understanding that we cannot do that to people, because, according to my “weltanschauung” (and thanks for the new word), the safer claim defines each human being as unique. Yes, tendencies exist, similarities between people, but an intimate look at any one person will discover differences in style, personality and sensibility compared to others in his or her tribe.

Have I adequately communicated my position on that yet? I mean, what I just unraveled about grammar and meaning is related to my unwillingness to trap myself in these sorts of straight jacket dualistic assumptions. That code you used, by the way, has authoritarian implications to my way of hearing. And so I asked "by whom" to clarify. The clarification is for me a realization that each of us must be the "by whom." Whether we can agree on the "what's to be done" and do it in agreement rather than as a constant conflicting process is another matter. And that will be the result of each of the individual's decisions coming together dynamically.

I have used the concept "binary opposition" many times to show the limitations of the many efforts to trap me in the false-choice logical fallacy dilemma when I first came to this board in 2004. It's not a new concept to me. It goes way back in my intellectual explorations. The concept "dialectic" that I first became acquainted with back in high school when I was reading about Socrates in Plato's works is related. That was the earliest conscious encounter I can remember. I used 'binary opposition' mostly in discussions with posters who turned out eventually to be categorizable as trolls. It did seem to stump them momentarily but then eventually they'd go on blissfully ignoring my point. They never did seem to grasp the point, nor the futility of their efforts. That may have been intentional, so I created a term for that: 'studied stupidity'.

I see language as a creative medium, not a fixed thing in and of itself. But people can certainly try to make it that. They'll always have problems getting me to obey their rules though. That I promise them.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

From this quarter it's not so much a lack of interest as it is a matter of speed in putting a series of thoughts together in words that may be coherent to any readers, usually by the time I get something written somewhat maybe intelligible yuz guys have moved along considerably down the line. For instance these few lines between having to rearrange wording and spelling has found about 20 minutes gone.

Perhaps one of my problems on that front have to do with not practicing enough over the years and being content with feeling and internalizing the big picture rather than the intellectual exercise. But please don't think no one else follows threads like this. For anyone else interested in where the basis for this discussion of the larger picture is grounded I'd encourage them to go to the Conscious Apocalypse thread and read it through. For the moment I'm rereading and still musing on a poster named Bamboo at page three.

Nough rambling, back to the people that can write.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Bamboo is one of my oldest friends on this board, r.s. We were both at the same demonstrations at Michigan State after 'Nam. I was standing between the cops and the kids with some other vets. Don't know where he was. He might have been standing right next to me. I didn't know Bamboo at the time. But we have an odd parallel in our life events. We love dogs. We each lost dear dog friends at about the same time and shared our grief through email. We've both studied Buddhism and Tai Chi. I feel strongly that he's worth your time to puzzle through those words he creates. He doesn't spew a lot like I do. But he's deep.

I can move slower if it helps. Also if you come up with something, time is not linear for me.

Gotta go chop some wood.

"Some government gambler with his mouth full of steak,

saying, "If you can't eat the fish, fish in some other lake."

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote .ren:

Yes, I'm familiar with Eliza Gilkyson. I have listened to and deeply appreciated many of her songs. I didn't know she and Jensen were married. I've thought how lucky someone would be to have an intimate relationship with someone like her.

My perspective on language is probably not that different from yours. I don't, (and maybe this is different or maybe its picking out something in the context that you might think differently about if you weren't trying to construct an argument) see language as a thing, a done deal, ediface kind of thing. I see language as a universal capability we all share. I think Chomsky is onto something when he suggests that the 'universal' is in the potential to create all sorts of grammatical constructions from something given in our brains at this point, something that's evolved to be there in all of us. But, he cautions, the meanings -- he uses the term "semantics" -- is not part of that given.

Realizing the depths of Chomsky's insight and the implications to my own creative existence simply as an ordinary human being may have been one of the most liberating moments of my life. We do not inherent meaning with language. Therefore, we must create it in context. Which brings up a side thought on word definition. Definition is a handy historical reference of sorts, but definitions change with the structural changes of context as well. And that too is evolutionary in vision. Because we can step back now and see that the world is in a ongoing process of dynamic change at all times. So context, and our relationship to and with each other in context, is changing in an ever changing dynamic, and we need to be flexible when we try to communicate within that dynamic flux of change.

Sometimes we are, and sometimes we aren't flexible in context, and it's not hard to identify the authoritarian forces, both within and without, that resist our urge to be flexible. That dichotomy is also there as part of the process. But all process is far more dynamic than any of the structural and sometimes rigid dichotomies within. And out of that comes a potential for creativity.

That's where our free will and our creativity to create these grammatical constructions in the ever changing processes of our lives come together with our language creating abilities. That's the becoming of context we try to communicate within come to play out with our capacity to create language. Take that away with rules and regulating about what we can and can't say within our social arrangements (like the hierarchical institutions where rules can be made and enforced about what we are allowed to say) and we cut off our creative language wings and never get off the ground to see and communicate with each other in the many realms where our imaginations can soar.

Quote Zenzoe:

That was my code for “How do you deal with the fact of people who don’t fall into your dual category scenario?” I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that people fall into only two mind-set categories. I meant only to ask, to verify your understanding that we cannot do that to people, because, according to my “weltanschauung” (and thanks for the new word), the safer claim defines each human being as unique. Yes, tendencies exist, similarities between people, but an intimate look at any one person will discover differences in style, personality and sensibility compared to others in his or her tribe.

Have I adequately communicated my position on that yet? I mean, what I just unraveled about grammar and meaning is related to my unwillingness to trap myself in these sorts of straight jacket dualistic assumptions. That code you used, by the way, has authoritarian implications to my way of hearing. And so I asked "by whom" to clarify. The clarification is for me a realization that each of us must be the "by whom." Whether we can agree on the "what's to be done" and do it in agreement rather than as a constant conflicting process is another matter. And that will be the result of each of the individual's decisions coming together dynamically.

I have used the concept "binary opposition" many times to show the limitations of the many efforts to trap me in the false-choice logical fallacy dilemma when I first came to this board in 2004. It's not a new concept to me. It goes way back in my intellectual explorations. The concept "dialectic" that I first became acquainted with back in high school when I was reading about Socrates in Plato's works is related. That was the earliest conscious encounter I can remember. I used 'binary opposition' mostly in discussions with posters who turned out eventually to be categorizable as trolls. It did seem to stump them momentarily but then eventually they'd go on blissfully ignoring my point. They never did seem to grasp the point, nor the futility of their efforts. That may have been intentional, so I created a term for that: 'studied stupidity'.

I see language as a creative medium, not a fixed thing in and of itself. But people can certainly try to make it that. They'll always have problems getting me to obey their rules though. That I promise them.

Not much there for me to be argumentative about, darn it. ;-)

I could not agree more with the notion of language as a living thing, nor with allowing for the freedom to be creative with one’s use of words. (Hello, Wm. Shakespeare, couldn’t you just have behaved yourself for once?!)

I still, however, like to be careful in my choice of words. I am always and forever editing myself, editing out the numerous vague and sloppy things I do with language, at least the ones I can see. Often, it’s something as simple as noticing where I haven’t been “creative,” which is really another word for specific in that context. For example, where I wrote, “I find it perplexing…” (re Jensen’s Christianity), I had a choice: other words, other than perplexing might have also worked —odd, weird, troubling, ridiculous, silly, unforgivable, confusing, bewildering, or just plain interesting, though that would have been the weakest choice of all, since interesting is the coward’s choice, in that it hides an emotional reality. Not that you don’t know what I’m getting at here, but perplexing worked for me, ‘cause, though it might be too strong a word, it revealed how I felt— confused by the incongruity of that situation.

Anyway, as for the “big picture” Garrett would like folks to discuss, whenever I feel like boiling it down, I come up with the imbalance between the Masculine and Feminine principle, as that seems to be the fundamental problem driving most of the injustices and horrors in the world, with masculinist imperatives at the top of the hierarchy. And that’s one of the reasons I am so big on women’s issues: until the status of women equals that of men (not surpasses), we’re not going to fix a damn thing (I also realize I'm not the only one, nor first one, to point it out).

Speaking of which, another Eliza Gilkyson lyric (Glad you know and like her, Ren; I have three of her albums):

Quote Eliza Gilkyson/"Tender Mercies":


"Across the world she tapes explosives to her chest
Steps into a shopping mall
A life devoid of all of mercy's tenderness
Really isn't any life at all

Tender mercies, tender mercies, come before despair
Shine down all your tender mercies
It's every mother's prayer

Down below the factory along the riverside
Children swimming in a poison pool
Playful afternoon of unintended suicide
Gone before they ever knew

Tender mercies, tender mercies, come before despair
Shine down all your tender mercies
It's every mother's prayer

Across the world she holds her loved ones to her chest
Lays them down and listens at the door
Everybody safe and warm among the truly blessed
How can we even dare to ask for more

Tender mercies, tender mercies, come before despair
Shine down all your tender mercies
It's every mother's prayer"

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote stwo:
Quote Garrett78:
Quote stwo:
Quote Garrett78:...or those like stwo who seem to suggest that global warming will be a net positive). .
I have never made any statement regarding what global warming "will be". I have stated that the effects to date, have been positive.
This suggests you can accurately isolate and then compare/contrast those effects (which may or may not include an increase in the intensity and occurence of natural disasters such as drought, loss of life that alters the global ecosystem in unforeseen ways, spread of disease, even increased agitation/violence resulting from warmer temps, etc.), which I don't believe you can. It's my understanding that it's still too early to know precisely what the immediate impacts (of AGW) are and how they relate to long-term projections. What is clear is that a multitude of varying entities (from nation states to climate scientists to NASA to the US Pentagon) have expressed significant concern.

Not to mention the causes of said warming that are undeniably unhealthy, such as pollution of various kinds.

No, it suggests that by all objective MEASUREMENTS, weather has been on a neutral to more more benign trend since global warming became an issue. I should have worded it, " I believe the effects to date, if any, have been positive." I haven't seen any research asserting that any specific weather changes can be attributed to the miniscule warming we've experienced so far.; only that if it keeps warming then things "could" get worse. And by god Garrett78- you are right- I too have seen expressions of Concern! We should all be concerned.

Firstly, weather is not climate. Climate change is much more complex than you seem to believe. You don't know the precise nature of the effects of AGW to date, yet you're willing to state your belief that they've been positive. That's as antiscientific and nonsensical as claims made by deniers or so-called "skeptics."

A book I'd recommend everyone read: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/304577/whats-the-worst-that-could-happen-by-greg-craven/

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

I've been a Robert Jensen admirer for many years now and we've exchanged a few emails. He wrote the most thorough deconstruction, if you will, of "patriotism" that I've ever read: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/CoEPatriotism.pdf

If you read that and still don't grasp the absurdity of patriotism, I reckon something's amiss.

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

More relevant to this thread, perhaps, I'll share 2 excerpts from a book I greatly enjoyed. The main character, a young woman with autism who goes by "Me," is heir to a tuna fishing business. She has the following to say about Descartes's famous quote:

"What follows on from that is even worse: that since humans live that way, thinking that first they think and then they exist, they also think that anything that doesn't think, also doesn't fully exist.

Trees, the sea, the fish in the sea, the sun, the moon, a hill or a whole mountain range. None of that exists all the way; it exists on a second plane of existence, a lesser existence. Therefore, it deserves to be merchandise or food or background for humans and nothing more.

And what makes humans so sure that thinking is the most important activity in the universe? Who told them that thought is the 1 activity that distinguishes the superior from the inferior?

Ah, thought."

In a different section of Me Who Dove Into the Heart of the World, she says the following about her aunt:

"...she thinks that words are things in the world, whereas I know that they are simply pieces of sound and that the things of the world exist with no need for words."

That reminded me of what Charles Eisenstein wrote about labels. Though no more a fan of Eisenstein than McPherson (for similar reasons), I can appreciate this particular point:

Quote Eisenstein:

The destructive potential of language is contained within the very nature of representation. Words, particularly nouns, force an infinity of unique objects and processes into a finite number of categories. Words deny the uniqueness of each moment and each experience, reducing it to a "this" or a "that". They grant us the power to manipulate and control (with logic) the things they refer to, but at the price of immediacy. Something is lost, the essence of a thing. By generalizing particulars into categories, words render invisible the differences among them. By labeling both A and B a tree, and conditioning ourselves to that label, we become blind to the differences between A and B. The label affects our perception of reality and the way we interact with it.

Hunter-gatherers, who were closer to a time before generic labels, were animists who believed in the unique sacred spirit of each animal, plant, object, and process. I can imagine a time when a tree was not a tree, but a distinct individual. If it is just a tree, one among a whole forest of trees, it is no great matter to chop it down. Nothing unique is being removed from the world. But if we see it as a unique individual, sacred and irreplaceable, then we would chop it down only with great circumspection. We might, as many indigenous peoples do, meditate and pray before committing an act of such enormity. It would be an occasion for solemn ritual. Only a very worthy purpose would justify it. Now, having converted all of these unique, divine beings into just so many trees, we level entire forests with hardly a second thought.

The same goes, of course, for human beings. The distancing effect of language facilitates exploitation, cruelty, murder, and genocide. When the other party to a relationship is a mere member of a generic category, be it "customer", "terrorist", or "employee", exploitation or murder comes much more easily. Racial epithets serve the same purpose: we call it "dehumanizing the victim". Yet the dehumanization begins with any categorization, even the word "human". This is not to advocate the abolition of nouns, only to be mindful of their relative unreality. It is when we get lost in the manmade realm of abstractions—statistics, names of countries, figures in accounting ledgers—and believe them to be real that we end up perpetrating violence.

Not unlike Korzybski's remark that, "The map is not the territory." Considering abstractions to be real is probably another one of those broad categories that society should delve into.

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Garrett78
Joined:
Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am
Quote Garrett78:
Quote stwo:
Quote Garrett78:
Quote stwo:
Quote Garrett78:...or those like stwo who seem to suggest that global warming will be a net positive). .
I have never made any statement regarding what global warming "will be". I have stated that the effects to date, have been positive.
This suggests you can accurately isolate and then compare/contrast those effects (which may or may not include an increase in the intensity and occurence of natural disasters such as drought, loss of life that alters the global ecosystem in unforeseen ways, spread of disease, even increased agitation/violence resulting from warmer temps, etc.), which I don't believe you can. It's my understanding that it's still too early to know precisely what the immediate impacts (of AGW) are and how they relate to long-term projections. What is clear is that a multitude of varying entities (from nation states to climate scientists to NASA to the US Pentagon) have expressed significant concern.

Not to mention the causes of said warming that are undeniably unhealthy, such as pollution of various kinds.

No, it suggests that by all objective MEASUREMENTS, weather has been on a neutral to more more benign trend since global warming became an issue. I should have worded it, " I believe the effects to date, if any, have been positive." I haven't seen any research asserting that any specific weather changes can be attributed to the miniscule warming we've experienced so far.; only that if it keeps warming then things "could" get worse. And by god Garrett78- you are right- I too have seen expressions of Concern! We should all be concerned.

Firstly, weather is not climate. Climate change is much more complex than you seem to believe. You don't know the precise nature of the effects of AGW to date, yet you're willing to state your belief that they've been positive. That's as antiscientific and nonsensical as claims made by deniers or so-called "skeptics."

A book I'd recommend everyone read: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/304577/whats-the-worst-that-could-happen-by-greg-craven/

weather is not climate- Damn! that's good. can I use that? fucking brilliant!!

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stwo
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I've been feeling reserved about expanding a conversation on this thread, but it seems to be happening anyway. So I'll ignore what bothers me about doug's sometimes crude and insensitive word choices, a couple of which I find in the title... for now.

Zenzoe, post #117: You stimulate a lot of thoughts, but I'm suspect they won't be contrary enough to get your argument going. And anyway, I don't do argument anymore. I used to say I don't do debate when I first came to these Internet writing exchange forums, but now I've expanded that to 'argument'.

Most of what goes on in my mind as I read your post are personal 'I do that' sort of things. For instance, lots of words come into my head as I'm writing and I'm not always sure if they even fit, sometimes I don't know the definitions. So I look up definitions and I find out a little more about how my subconscious works with the language I've been creating for myself since I was born. Sometimes I get very impressed with my subconscious. It seems to know a lot that I'm not paying attention to most of the time! Anyway, the words that appear in my posts are not random intrusions from another universe called my subconscious, and are usually carefully combed over before I post them -- although I've been working on being more spontaneous so don't take that for some form of gospel.

Writing has never been easy for me. But I've been practicing doing these little 45 minute essays I try to post without doing much editing. And that's helped loosen me up a little. But I love to edit. Editing my own writing is where I learn so much. It's often like opening one of those jack in the box toys we had when I was a child (do they still have those?) or one of those things that just spew out and uncoil all over the place. Can't remember what those are called. I do try to remember to click on the far right icon at the top of these comment boxes and enable SCAYT before I post. This time I managed to do it before I got too far (I did it just now) and now my lousy spelling is being checked as I go. 'What ever happened to that kid who won all those spelling bees in grade school?' I wonder to myself every now and then. That darned subconscious!... that's the culprit, and all those big words it keeps throwing up like some ethereal vomit into the mix of my thoughts.

I have a similar reaction to the one you describe about Robert Jensen and puzzlement over his willingness to sully himself by associating with Unitarian sect of the Presbyterians (I think that's what I've gathered he's associated himself with so far and I'm not even sure what that means. Please forgive my lack of discipline in looking deeply into these organizations. What little I can speak of is extremely superficial and undoubtedly full of ignorance).

My own puzzlement comes from my various confusions about the meaning of 'feminism' and feminists' generally proclaimed interest in the concept of equality combined with their willingness to work within the hierarchies of our modern civilized systems of institutions.

For instance, is getting a woman into a CEO position an expression of equality for all women? Is getting Hillary into the Oval Office an expression of equality for all women? I know a number of women who align themselves with feminism, one was head of the International Relations Department at Berkeley for a few years, who argue that it is. But for me, any form of archism, matriarchism, patriarchism, etc., is in my mind an anathema to equality. Hierarchy begets all forms of archism. Hierarchical social organization acceptance by any individual as a valid way to relate with each other stimulates those involved to measure and rank each other; measuring and ranking begets inequality.

So... in my little simple mind I cannot grasp how anyone gets equality for all when someone associated with some sort of human created classification that people agree is a classification -- women, black people, Asians, Irish, Caucasians, etc., -- is in a position of power. So. Since for me, equality is respect, and mutual respect is how I operate with people, I end up being somewhat against all forms of archy that people will associate with and judge me by as a kind of blanket point of view.

You see, I had the same issue when Obama was elected. How will putting a black person in a position of institutionalized authority create equality for a whole class of people? The system is already set up to be unequal even if everyone is one huge homogenized class. Maybe you can see that my question is still very relevant after 8 years, maybe you can't. But I'm puzzled about that. Or to use your word, perplexed. Puzzled and perplexed are in my mind states of unknowing about something that doesn't quit fit together, and I don't have any particular affinity for one or the other word at the moment. My brow furrows with whatever state of mind is associated with either.

To elaborate with some personal experience... I got my first face to face with the anything but free and equal version of hierarchy that I could not ignore and go off into the woods or fields with my horse and my dogs and do my own thing when I was in boot camp. These are the exact words I still remember in my perpetually horrified state of mind when the DI told us how we were supposed to think about taking orders: "You must respect the rank, not the person. That's what the UCMJ will be judging when you disobey an order." He was explaining the Uniform Code of Military Justice to us ignorant boots at the time while we sat obediently in a classroom in rows of desks that looked and felt very much like the tortuous concoctions we had in the high school I barely attended. I mean, I was physically there in high school, as much as I had to be, but otherwise absent.

I should also mention that at that point in my life I was mostly working off an idea my father had planted in me by throwing me into the deep end of farming while he went off to work to earn money to support the farm. That idea goes like this: you figure things out for yourself; you make your own decisions; and you act on them; and then you don't go crying to someone for help (because there is no one), and you work with the consequences after that. The more you fuck up, the better you get at not fucking up... if you survive. I had a few close calls with the machinery. I actually had experienced that "idea" as a territory of experience. Numerous times. So I also began to wonder what the term "justice" was supposed to mean when they casually toss it into the title of a book of rules (I was paging through the book while the DI was talking to us in the classroom; we each got one of our very own to study) where you'll find yourself in a court room someday having this justice meted out on your behavior (which happened, actually). Are they going to be as just with me as I am with myself? (I tend to be very forgiving when I screw up. I learn rather than punish myself.)

Like I said, nothing really. Just a few personal thoughts.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Garrett #119: I read that deconstruction of patriotism awhile back. That's when I felt some confirmation that Robert and I had a tacit understanding about a lot of basic features of our society. I did a very similar deconstruction while I was serving in the military. When I came home from Vietnam I was no longer identifying myself as a "proud" American. There weren't many people, vets or otherwise, I could share that with. I did find some sense of camaraderie with some of the Vietnam Veterans Against The War I got to know in demonstrations at Michigan State in those early years of the seventies, but it was not a given across the board with everyone who identified themselves with that group. Look at John Kerry today, for instance.

Tacit understanding goes a long way in making sense of what someone is trying to say. Claiming our humanity does not have a specific road map, does not come from a specific territory. We who want to have something tacit, unspoken in common, is all. We have to forgive whatever mis speaking we do to express our common concern. We can do that if we can recognize what is tacit between us. Words like well-intentioned come to mind to express that. Words like that help me to be more forgiving and less argumentative. They also help me to ignore those who seemingly aren't. Anyway, arguing with them only creates endless gummy bear minutiae.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Garrett #120:

Thanks for the heads up on that book. I'd already heard of it, but now I may take the trouble to add yet more reading to the mountain.

Really, this conversation should be taking place on this thread: Thought +Language. It's getting harder and harder to connect this to the murder of Cecil. You'll find me saying something about this there:

Quote Garrett78:

Not unlike Korzybski's remark that, "The map is not the territory." Considering abstractions to be real is probably another one of those broad categories that society should delve into.

I ran into Korzybski's General Semantics many years ago while I was delving into philosophy, specifically phenomenology, which attempts to examine the "phenomenon" of our inner perceptions. It also relates to anything we want to imagine about thought, language, and how we make up the territory of our own individual minds, which each of us has to do on our own, even if we attempt to deny our own responsibility for this act. This is how the explorations in phenomenology relate to the French existentialists like Sartre. It is that very personal and self responsible fact (as in the act of making our minds up for ourselves) of our phenomenological existence that Sartre is referring to when he talks about bad faith (from French, mauvaise foi) in Being and Nothingness.

So you see, this conversation might be better suited to a different thread.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Quote .ren:

I've been feeling reserved about expanding a conversation on this thread, but it seems to be happening anyway. So I'll ignore what bothers me about doug's sometimes crude and insensitive word choices, a couple of which I find in the title... for now.


Not to be argumentative, because I very much enjoyed reading this post of yours at #122, but I can’t find any thing to complain about in Doug. He loves words and is a sane, sensible person, as I know you know. “Douche bag” may not be my favorite noun either, but I won’t object to its use here, considering the cowardly dentist it refers to, and considering that its use in the title made me laugh. I forgive practically anything that makes me laugh. I am just that shallow. ;-)

Btw, where is Douglaslee? I’ve noticed his absence lately. I certainly hope he hasn’t gone the way of Drc2, whom I miss as well.

Quote .ren:

Zenzoe, post #117: You stimulate a lot of thoughts, but I'm suspect they won't be contrary enough to get your argument going. And anyway, I don't do argument anymore. I used to say I don't do debate when I first came to these Internet writing exchange forums, but now I've expanded that to 'argument'.


I do argument, as you know full well, but that wasn’t an example of it. Didn’t I say, “Not much there for me to be argumentative about…” and “I could not agree more…”? Those represent white-flag-waving, or peace signs, don’t you think? But I quibble...

Anyway, I do think the words argument, or debate, or dispute, put a pejorative spin on a process we ought to accept as normal human stuff, if not savor it, which I do often as not, or why else would I show up here on this forum? That is to say, borrowing your expression that appears somewhere in your #122, folks face each other in “states of unknowing” about each other, and via exchanges of differing opinions, or even confrontations, begin to enter states of knowing, whether that knowing is of the other person or of a subject. It can be a process of discovery. Or, yes, it can be a painful process toward alienation, that is, unless individuals realize that conflict is normal and “this too shall pass.”

The frustration comes when you carefully post your thoughts to these pages, and people insist on misinterpreting them.

“Is a puzzlement!

As for your puzzlement over a feminism that claims to foster equality while remaining attached to an unequal social and political system, well, it’s a puzzlement I see as absolutely fair, one I also think about from time to time, though I welcome your bringing it up as a sort of non-confrontational challenge.

My continuing to use the word feminism, and to identify as a feminist —despite its near-meaninglessness of late, since everyone who uses the word seems to have a different thing in mind when they use it— probably stems from a strong desire to rescue the word from doom, maybe to spite those who would stigmatize it, shame feminists and feminism, and silence its righteous mission. I do, however, often add the prefix, eco, to it, because my best feminist heroes happen to be ecofeminists, heroes such as Vandana Shiva.

Bear with me, while I post a fairly long quote:


From Shiva’s perspective, women’s liberation cannot be achieved without a simultaneous struggle for the preservation and liberation of all life on this planet from the dominant patriarchal/capitalist worldview (Mies and Shiva, 16). Ecofeminism distinguishes itself from other theories of feminism, which maintain the hierarchical worldview of the Western world. “Rather than attempting to overcome this hierarchical dichotomy many women have simply up-ended it, and thus women are seen as superior to men, nature to culture, and so on” (Mies and Shiva, 5).

Shiva and other ecofeminists are explicitly anti-war and anti-capitalist, because both war and capitalism are seen as patriarchal structures. “The capitalist patriarchy perspective interprets difference as hierarchical and uniformity as a prerequisite for equality” (Mies and Shiva, 2). For Shiva there is connection between the escalation of war, “musclemen” culture, and rape and other violence against women. “It is no coincidence that the gruesome game of war—in which the greater part of the male sex seems to delight—passes through the same stages as the traditional sexual relationship: aggression, conquest, possession, control. Of a woman or a land, it makes little difference” (Mies and Shiva, 15).

The historical context that radicalized Vandana Shiva and many others was the Green Revolution and the vast globalization of the mid to late twentieth century. Shiva refers to this model of economic development as maldevelopment. “Maldevelopment militates against equality in diversity, and superimposes the ideologically constructed category of western technological man as the uniform measure of the worth of classes, cultures and genders” (Shiva, Staying Alive, 5).


To my mind, feminism also goes to the longing for a balance, that is, as in yin-yang (I won’t post the symbol; you know it). We have to keep reminding the dominant paradigm that the Feminine Principle must be honored and be in balance with the Masculine Principle, so that the masculine imperative, which is a learned mind-set not a genetic force, doesn’t turn toxic and ruin everything, which it is in the process of doing right now, as I’m sure you know. It’s a matter of recovering care and empathy as aspects of wholeness.

Anyway, feminism, for me, is not about women adopting masculine ways and trying to out-bully the guys in power. It’s also not about acquiescing to neoliberal values that dehumanize everything, especially women; it’s not about finding power in one’s “sexy,” plasticized appearance, or competing against other women in the race to be Queen Bee at the office, boardroom or in the Oval Office. That’s for “feminists” of the left-wing of neoliberalism. I hope you would not confuse those with my kind of feminist.

We do, however, have to work with what we’ve got. We, whether we like it or not, must allow for an ethical way for individuals to pursue their talents and potentials within this highly complex environment, as one’s livelihood can provide happiness and sometimes contributes to a happier society. I certainly want my granddaughters to find meaningful work, and I sure as hell don’t want some sexist boss or institution to stand in their way. I would also want them to train in martial arts, to be safe from rapists, another reality of the hierarchical kind. Birth control and reproductive rights too— all of it.

I think of feminism as a subset of egalitarianism, I suppose. The concept of feminism —its spirit— contains and embraces all social and political movements that would free all living persons and things from the abuses and death-lusts of oppressors of all kinds, whether those oppressors feel entitlements by their gender, class, race or their species. And here’s where feminism meets Cecil the lion: I have to believe that a spirit of love for nature and nature’s creatures —a consciousness, and conscience, that tells us we cannot abuse nature— underlies the near-universal upset over his murder. It’s a good sign.

Finally, there’s this: You had your DI. I had my stepfather who was a lieutenant straight out of WWII, who insisted there would be no “ifs, ands or buts” around “his” house. Well, he was mostly bluster, with a big heart underneath it all, but I’m quite certain that’s where my “question authority” stance began. He was usually wrong, no matter the subject. He used to call me “the great dissenter.” He did buy me a beautiful horse, when I was ten —realizing my most fervent dream as a girl— and supported Salute until I married at twenty-four. Anyway, I used to go on long, solitary rides into the rough country adjacent to the plot of land where we boarded my horse. I miss that, though I sometimes wonder how I lived through it at the time. More than once, he took off under a low branch, wiping me off his back. Ouch!

Yeah, this stuff belongs on some other thread. Oh well. Thanks for your thoughts and for reading mine. :-)

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I'm not complaining about doug. We've been communicating on an off this board since about 2005. He probably knows who I know and how I know them better than anyone. I have mentioned to him that some people may not be getting his humor at times. But he does his own thing and I'm fine with that.

For my part I like my humor extremely subtle, that is, not in your face visible. 'In your face visible' would be like The Three Stooges. Or Monty Python. I like humor to be some subtle feeling that passes deep and I have to be listening inwardly to feel it. It's not that I don't get the Monty Python humor, I just don't laugh while everyone around me is laughing. I'd never watch it on my own. It's just a preference. In searching for 'why such a preference?'... somehow reading way over my head when I started reading popped into my thoughts.

I began at around age four thanks to my mother who had her schizophrenic break less than a year later. Thankfully she helped me learn to read before those drugs and the shock treatments were applied that practically destroyed her mind in one fell swoop. I was pretty much on my own in that department after that.

When I began reading I had to school myself to wait and listen and hope eventually things would make some sense. That, I imagine, is a lot like the baby who was listening to all the noise babbling around him in his crib four years earlier. Will it ever make sense the little guy wondered? Sure enough, eventually it did begin to, a little at a time. Things began to fit together. And magically he began to join in and talk, all by himself.

Thus when I began to read, I did not demand the words I was reading make sense. I would just try to get into the flow and hear the rhythm like a song or poetry where words are kind of a handy, sometimes even entertaining addition. Meaning was kind of like, Ok, yeah... I'm still like that. I do not run to a dictionary over and over while I'm reading. I try to get into the flow of though and hope that flow will reveal something about what the person is saying.

Kind of the same goes while I'm writing. I don't know where this crap comes from a lot of the time.

Ok, there's that.

About this:

Quote .ren:

You stimulate a lot of thoughts, but I'm suspect they won't be contrary enough to get your argument going.

I was thinking that in the sense of "get your game going." I was not thinking that you were being argumentative with what you'd written. In fact I was responding to what you went on to explain which I'd already imagined. I think you may have already got that at some level because you then went on to explain your "doing argument" pretty much as I meant it. A little out of synch, but not too badly.

As far as how we are different about that, I don't think that matters very much. I am very good at keeping my balance. People used to call me laid back when that was a popular term. There's probably a new popular term these days for people who stay calm most of the time.

I like my heart beat to remain at about 55 beats per minute. That's where I feel really good, really connected and at peace.

I discovered that defending my opinions not only raises my heart beat but it makes enemies I don't need. Does anyone need enemies? I don't know. Seems like many do. they go out of their way to create them. But I don't know. That's just an observation.

So I've learned to steer clear of arguments of the sort that result from defending opinions. The thing is, the older I got, the closer I looked at what's going on around me, the more I realized that everything human beings say is out of their own self constructed minds. I ask this: can anyone actually place thoughts in my mind in some magical way, like ESP? I really don't believe that's possible. I can find no evidence that has ever happened to me. And believe me, I've looked. When you have a living paranoid schizophrenic example right in front of you talking to other beings you can't see, you tend to look very closely at the thoughts that emerge in your own mind -- or maybe 'you', whoever 'you' may be, don't; I do. Anyway, if the things people say about the way of the world around them is their own version of what they think is the truth outside themselves, I don't see how that's not an opinion. I'm still waiting for the falsity of that to emerge. Would that be a double negative?

So I find that I don't want to do argument anymore.

I know what you mean about the frustration when carefully constructed thoughts are carelessly misconstrued. Another moment when the heartbeat goes up I have to attend to. Breathe. Ohhhmmm. A Zen moment. Ok, they have a screen. They are reading through a screen and not listening. Ok, what's that screen? Ahhh, I see! It's a weird kind of communication, but if I listen I get what they are saying. Not much of a dialogue but I at least am getting what they are saying if not the other way around. 55 beats a minute again.

My paranoid schizophrenic mother dragged me off to see Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr in The King and I when it came out in 1956. I still remember it, though that's the only time I saw it. Despite the heavy drugs and the shock treatments and all that she would periodically receive to keep her moderated and within the bounds of this society, she was able to appreciate the music and the poetry, the story and all about The King and I. I suppose even that song, A Puzzlement, is buried somewhere in my happy little playful subconscious where it comes up as a preference when I need a word for, well...

You named your horse Salute?...!! No wonder you like to argue.

I named my horse Amigo. He was a big guy, finally, though I got him as a gawky yearling, half Tennessee Walker and half Quarter Horse. He could go all day at this very fast "walk" where it was like I was riding on a magic carpet. Didn't really need a saddle but it helped to have one when boarding. His magic carpet pace was not exactly the same as a trot, but about the same speed. Tennessee Walkers were bred to do that so the master could ride all over his plantation in comfort. One good thing came from all that human horror, I suppose.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Quote .ren:

I'm not complaining about doug. We've been communicating on an off this board since about 2005. He probably knows who I know and how I know them better than anyone. I have mentioned to him that some people may not be getting his humor at times. But he does his own thing and I'm fine with that.


Yes, that’s the impression I had before seeing your comment about his “insensitive” wording, so I was surprised and felt defensive for him, which I’m sure now was unnecessary. He can take care of himself pretty well. (I’m always uncomfortable talking about others here, but there it is…)

Quote .ren:

For my part I like my humor extremely subtle, that is, not in your face visible. 'In your face visible' would be like The Three Stooges. Or Monty Python. I like humor to be some subtle feeling that passes deep and I have to be listening inwardly to feel it. It's not that I don't get the Monty Python humor, I just don't laugh while everyone around me is laughing. I'd never watch it on my own. It's just a preference. In searching for 'why such a preference?'... somehow reading way over my head when I started reading popped into my thoughts.


Can’t stand the Stooges; love Monty Python. But I understand the “reading way over my head” thing —my own take— which is how I feel sometimes watching certain fast-talking, glib stand-up comedians of today. It’s as if I’m tracking way behind wherever they are, and it takes me awhile to catch up. I need a rewind feature in my head. Perhaps it’s age. Often as not, though, once I get it, I don’t like the point they’re making, and I scoff instead of laugh.

Anyway, I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of Jon Stewart— much preferred Stephen Colbert on Colbert Report. I would laugh out loud at Stephen’s goofy and true satires. So that’s the thing: I prefer satire to simple ridicule, which I think is the difference there.

Do you not laugh out loud sometimes? It’s very very good for the heart. And I’d like to see an example of “extremely subtle” humor that you like. I’m so crude, I even love George Carlin’s humor.

Quote .ren:

I began at around age four thanks to my mother who had her schizophrenic break less than a year later. Thankfully she helped me learn to read before those drugs and the shock treatments were applied that practically destroyed her mind in one fell swoop. I was pretty much on my own in that department after that.


That’s such a heavy load for a child to bear. I can’t imagine. Shock treatment ought to be outlawed—barbaric!

I have a niece who has a touch, I do believe, of that mental disorder. My poem, God’s Teacup, is about her. The most amazing thing of all, though, is that she raised two beautiful children as a single mom, a boy and a girl. Her daughter, still in high school, is a scholar and president of her class; her son does cool auto repair tutorials for YouTube that look quite sane and intelligent. The way I see it, if I ignore her disordered ways, I see a kind of saint, for she —and this is true— has nothing but kindness to her personality, no matter what happens to her. She has always been all about love and treated her children lovingly, if neglectfully at times.

Quote .ren:

When I began reading I had to school myself to wait and listen and hope eventually things would make some sense. That, I imagine, is a lot like the baby who was listening to all the noise babbling around him in his crib four years earlier. Will it ever make sense the little guy wondered? Sure enough, eventually it did begin to, a little at a time. Things began to fit together. And magically he began to join in and talk, all by himself.

Thus when I began to read, I did not demand the words I was reading make sense. I would just try to get into the flow and hear the rhythm like a song or poetry where words are kind of a handy, sometimes even entertaining addition. Meaning was kind of like, Ok, yeah... I'm still like that. I do not run to a dictionary over and over while I'm reading. I try to get into the flow of though and hope that flow will reveal something about what the person is saying.

Kind of the same goes while I'm writing. I don't know where this crap comes from a lot of the time.

Ok, there's that.


The unconscious is a marvelous thing, isn’t it? I can see how it would work to trust your unconscious to sort things out then bubble something up later that you can use in a meaningful way. In my case, I only do that when I’m reading something written by a scholar whose style has no intention of being intelligible to lay persons outside their field. Not that I respect obfuscation, nor assume it signifies great depth. I don’t.

But if I’m reading something written for public consumption, I demand clarity. I’ll look words up, just to increase my vocabulary, but otherwise, I’m not going to fill up my unconscious with a lot of garbage, nor waste my time on writers who can’t write clearly.

As for my doing argument, or “liking to argue,” I don’t actually enjoy arguing in person, or even watching others argue. I avoid it these days, because, like you, I don’t enjoy the stress of it. That’s why I don’t watch the debates Thom hosts on his Big Picture show. I find it incredibly annoying.

On a forum like this, however, I enjoy a discussion, a point-counterpoint process, where differing perspectives have their say. I’m certainly not going to sit here and read some dufus opinion, without pushing back! ;D

Which reminds me: I noticed some person who calls himself “Equus” left a comment on my abortion thread. That’s a new one. I’ll have to think about his perspective for while before answering, though.

I like the name Amigo for a horse. I knew one named Paco, another good name for a horse, or a dog, or a cat, or a human… Well, I named my horse after a horse character in a book I loved as a child. He was a colt who could fly, had wings and magical powers. But if you want to infer an authoritarian streak in me (?) from my naming choice, that’s okay. In a way, the name fit well— he stood beautifully to attention, and you’d be tempted to salute him. Actually, he too was five-gaited, but not by training, only naturally. I found out about that when he was four years old and had sired a foal, to our surprise, since we thought he was a gelding. The day the vet came out to geld him (he had become dangerous to handle, when they put another stud in the same field with him and his mares and geldings. Not that gelding did much good by that time; his spirit was already set for life.), he put Salute through his paces, then told me he was naturally five-gaited. I knew he was a comfortable ride, but wouldn't have known why. I can’t remember which gait it is that is the “magic carpet” ride; maybe the rack? Or is it the slow-gait? Anyway, yes, it’s amazing.

Cecil is a terrible name for a lion. What were they thinking?!

Quote .ren:
About this:

You stimulate a lot of thoughts, but I'm suspect they won't be contrary enough to get your argument going.

I was thinking that in the sense of "get your game going." I was not thinking that you were being argumentative with what you'd written. In fact I was responding to what you went on to explain which I'd already imagined. I think you may have already got that at some level because you then went on to explain your "doing argument" pretty much as I meant it. A little out of synch, but not too badly.

As far as how we are different about that, I don't think that matters very much. I am very good at keeping my balance. People used to call me laid back when that was a popular term. There's probably a new popular term these days for people who stay calm most of the time.

I like my heart beat to remain at about 55 beats per minute. That's where I feel really good, really connected and at peace.

I discovered that defending my opinions not only raises my heart beat but it makes enemies I don't need. Does anyone need enemies? I don't know. Seems like many do. they go out of their way to create them. But I don't know. That's just an observation.

So I've learned to steer clear of arguments of the sort that result from defending opinions. The thing is, the older I got, the closer I looked at what's going on around me, the more I realized that everything human beings say is out of their own self constructed minds. I ask this: can anyone actually place thoughts in my mind in some magical way, like ESP? I really don't believe that's possible. I can find no evidence that has ever happened to me. And believe me, I've looked. When you have a living paranoid schizophrenic example right in front of you talking to other beings you can't see, you tend to look very closely at the thoughts that emerge in your own mind -- or maybe 'you', whoever 'you' may be, don't; I do. Anyway, if the things people say about the way of the world around them is their own version of what they think is the truth outside themselves, I don't see how that's not an opinion. I'm still waiting for the falsity of that to emerge. Would that be a double negative?

So I find that I don't want to do argument anymore.

I know what you mean about the frustration when carefully constructed thoughts are carelessly misconstrued. Another moment when the heartbeat goes up I have to attend to. Breathe. Ohhhmmm. A Zen moment. Ok, they have a screen. They are reading through a screen and not listening. Ok, what's that screen? Ahhh, I see! It's a weird kind of communication, but if I listen I get what they are saying. Not much of a dialogue but I at least am getting what they are saying if not the other way around. 55 beats a minute again.

My paranoid schizophrenic mother dragged me off to see Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr in The King and I when it came out in 1956. I still remember it, though that's the only time I saw it. Despite the heavy drugs and the shock treatments and all that she would periodically receive to keep her moderated and within the bounds of this society, she was able to appreciate the music and the poetry, the story and all about The King and I. I suppose even that song, A Puzzlement, is buried somewhere in my happy little playful subconscious where it comes up as a preference when I need a word for, well...

You named your horse Salute?...!! No wonder you like to argue.

I named my horse Amigo. He was a big guy, finally, though I got him as a gawky yearling, half Tennessee Walker and half Quarter Horse. He could go all day at this very fast "walk" where it was like I was riding on a magic carpet. Didn't really need a saddle but it helped to have one when boarding. His magic carpet pace was not exactly the same as a trot, but about the same speed. Tennessee Walkers were bred to do that so the master could ride all over his plantation in comfort. One good thing came from all that human horror, I suppose.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Just a few quick thoughts because I gotta go do things.

Quote Zenzoe:

That’s such a heavy load for a child to bear. I can’t imagine. Shock treatment ought to be outlawed—barbaric!

I was pretty upset they tell me, but I adapted. The worst was for her and her life that followed; eventually Tardive Dyskinesia from the anti psychotic drugs of that era.

She was an extremely sensitive soulful person. (Your poem sort of fits though she was never raped to my knowledge.) I don't know if I'd have been quite so intently interested in studying other societies through cultural anthropology.... I don't know if I'd have become so sensitive to our own society's inhumanity that I simply cannot pretend I don't notice, or would now so intently watch that inhumanity being so pervasively and unconsciously practiced each and every day, not without having had that rare opportunity to watch what she went through. I hope I would have become this way, but I'll never know. First time I visited her at the Catholic-run private sanitarium my grandparents chose and paid for, drugged, fully shock-treated so we could now be safe to be in her presence, I noticed the brown rings that seemed like die in her skin around her wrists, and I stared, wondering what they were. No one bothered to explain it then. I see from a quick look at WikI they haven't outlawed shock treatments yet. They've got a fancier name now, I see, that includes the more humane sounding 'therapy' over 'treatment'. I hear Orwell rolling in his grave again.

It probably all goes into my cherished view of civilization, I suppose. So you can take that into account when you read it, as well, as I busily deconstruct the general hubristic notion people carry that we are not, as a rule, "barbaric" with this highly evolved form of civilized adaptation to this planet. "Bomber in Chief" jumps to mind, with those drones piloted from some high tech military installation, probably near Las Vegas. Now there's a fine example of 21st Century human intellectual/technological achievement... Las Vegas.

I never got into the technicalities of gaitedness of horses. I was just a farm kid who was lucky enough to have a Series E Defense Bond bought by my grandparents at my birth that was finally mature, and by cashing it in I could pay $75 for a colt that a nearby Quarter Horse breeder wanted to get rid of because the neighbor's Tennessee Walker had jumped the fence for a romantic evening with his prize-winning Quarter Horse mare, thereby wasting one year's worth of horse breeding. By morning the mare was no longer in heat, as they say.

Enjoyed the rest. Nothing much to add at the moment.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Quote .ren:
Quote Zenzoe:

That’s such a heavy load for a child to bear. I can’t imagine. Shock treatment ought to be outlawed—barbaric!

I was pretty upset they tell me, but I adapted. The worst was for her and her life that followed; eventually Tardive Dyskinesia from the anti psychotic drugs of that era.

She was an extremely sensitive soulful person. (Your poem sort of fits though she was never raped to my knowledge.) I don't know if I'd have been quite so intently interested in studying other societies through cultural anthropology.... I don't know if I'd have become so sensitive to our own society's inhumanity that I simply cannot pretend I don't notice, or would now so intently watch that inhumanity being so pervasively and unconsciously practiced each and every day, not without having had that rare opportunity to watch what she went through. I hope I would have become this way, but I'll never know. First time I visited her at the Catholic-run private sanitarium my grandparents chose and paid for, drugged, fully shock-treated so we could now be safe to be in her presence, I noticed the brown rings that seemed like die in her skin around her wrists, and I stared, wondering what they were. No one bothered to explain it then. I see from a quick look at WikI they haven't outlawed shock treatments yet. They've got a fancier name now, I see, that includes the more humane sounding 'therapy' over 'treatment'. I hear Orwell rolling in his grave again.


Damn. That’s so painful. Heartbreaking.

ECT, the perfect authoritarian tool— how to render your citizens into helpless and malleable children. Disgusting. (I’m sure you remember One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, book & film)

I wonder if you noticed this, from your Wikipedia link: “Throughout the history of ECT, women have received it two to three times as often as men, and continue to do so irrespective of diagnosis. A 1974 study of ECT in Massachusetts reported that women made up 69 per cent of those given ECT. The Ministry of Health in Canada reported that from 1999 until 2000 in Ontario, women were 71 per cent of those given ECT in provincial psychiatric institutions, and 75 per cent of the total ECT given was given to women. However, as of 1995 approximately 95 per cent of all doctors who administer ECT are men.”

That tells us something, yes?

Quote .ren:

It probably all goes into my cherished view of civilization, I suppose. So you can take that into account when you read it, as well, as I busily deconstruct the general hubristic notion people carry that we are not, as a rule, "barbaric" with this highly evolved form of civilized adaptation to this planet. "Bomber in Chief" jumps to mind, with those drones piloted from some high tech military installation, probably near Las Vegas. Now there's a fine example of 21st Century human intellectual/technological achievement... Las Vegas.


Right. I hate that place. But, yes, I can see how you arrived at your view of modern “civilization.” It’s acutely associated with the trauma you experienced and witnessed as a child and young person. I find it interesting to note the different ways trauma affects different individuals. For some, childhood trauma means growing into a sociopath or psychopath. For you, it meant growing into a deeply empathetic, ethical, sane and conscious person. I don’t know what makes the difference.

In my case, to witness —live with— a dominating authority figure who had so many wrong-headed views about politics and people, despite his intelligence —my best friend’s father, for example, was dismissed as a “kike,” for one small example— was to grow to understand just how wrong authority can be. I don’t question authority now; I interrogate it, until I’m sure it’s worthy of my respect. I’m quite sure that attitude has saved my life on occasion too.

Quote .ren:

I never got into the technicalities of gaitedness of horses. I was just a farm kid who was lucky enough to have a Series E Defense Bond bought by my grandparents at my birth that was finally mature, and by cashing it in I could pay $75 for a colt that a nearby Quarter Horse breeder wanted to get rid of because the neighbor's Tennessee Walker had jumped the fence for a romantic evening with his prize-winning Quarter Horse mare, thereby wasting one year's worth of horse breeding. By morning the mare was no longer in heat, as they say.


Chuckle.
Quote .ren:

Enjoyed the rest. Nothing much to add at the moment.

Same here, except this: I’m eager to know if my explanation about feminism made any sense to you. Just wondering...and it can remain as such, if you prefer. We've certainly gotton off the beaten path here. Poor Cecil. And I'm still wondering where Douglaslee went.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

I wonder if you noticed this, from your Wikipedia link: “Throughout the history of ECT, women have received it two to three times as often as men, and continue to do so irrespective of diagnosis. A 1974 study of ECT in Massachusetts reported that women made up 69 per cent of those given ECT. The Ministry of Health in Canada reported that from 1999 until 2000 in Ontario, women were 71 per cent of those given ECT in provincial psychiatric institutions, and 75 per cent of the total ECT given was given to women. However, as of 1995 approximately 95 per cent of all doctors who administer ECT are men.”

That tells us something, yes?

Yes. And yes, I notice those things. I will not do one of my rants on the institutution of psychology. I suspect you could anticipate where it might go. It's all part of my institutional critiques. So with this in mind: Zenzoe: "I’m eager to know if my explanation about feminism made any sense to you. Just wondering..." I'll just mention that I felt aligned with what I felt to be your version of feminism while meandering around campus, basking in the glory of my new freedom of movement, talking with radical feminists, hippies and all sorts of fascinating young people like I'd come back to a different planet after I got out of the military. I read a bunch of feminist literature that was offered; Mary Daly's name still sticks out. Patriarchy and military hierarchy and war and male aggression... all that fit into the way I was already deconstructing civilization. I could talk to the feminists about my insights and concerns at least. I could see we were struggling together against some invisible structure, like a deep cultural grammar, that all too many were insensitive to, and reconstructed their ways of life with, unconsciously, mindlessly.

I read Daly's Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism when it came out in 1978. I could see where a lot of guy's and many women can't read that book. My ex, a feminist who struggled for equality in the work place, couldn't read it. She eventually became part of that puzzlement factor for me. Me? I get the rage. Daly's writing in that book (and others) relates directly to what you pulled from Wiki on shock treatment. Some fundamental truths are more than people will face. That's a syndrome that just goes on and on relentlessly. Yes, it's frustrating.

I was lucky. I did not have an authoritarian father. I could have evolved differently if I had. I have a stubbornness to authority that came out early. My father is/was non violent in his bones, and my own tendency is to instinctively avoid violence and all forms of violating. I don't know if I'd have got stuck in some repetitive track of overt reactionary rebellious behavior I see so many males working through like they've been caught in a net if he were the kind of petty authoritarian you had to deal with, and the kind I see so in many stories written where damaged children play out lives of stochastic rebellion rather than living well and lovingly; themes played out as well as in popular movies and TV shows.

I think: Wake up, folks! Can't you see? This is not (just) Oedipus, this is the mythical social form 'Archy' you are dealing with! And the men who are the little petty dictators in their households are just weak and afraid down deep, hiding behind the bluster that a patriarchally organized society provides for men -- programs into them from birth -- as a cookie cutter ranked facade for them to copy. Cut and paste, don't think. And so many come out of the childhood oven of institutionalized education baked into a rigid form and go marching off into the military where that form fits so well. I'd like to be able to feel sorry for them, but they do so much damage. And it's systemic, and it's self reinforcing. The whole of civilization is out of balance as a result, staggering masculine head strong towards a cliff.

And anyway, I'm a Libra, so how could I not want balance? (C'mon, do I sound like I'm into Astrology?)

I'll ask Doug where. He comes and goes. Drc... I don't know. He did not come and go all the time he was here. His sudden absence has an ominous feel.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Oye, the gaps in my education! Mary Daly. Never heard of her, nor the book you listed.

In my reading of the first pages at Amazon, I am loving the enthusiasm, her words: “cognitive minority of one...Positively Revolting Hag...phallocentric babble…” Funny! But then she seemed wildly [what we label today as] bi-polar, highly creative but, I mean, all those capitalizations and “spinnings” and “swirlings, exorcism and ecstasy.” No problem, because then I come to a footnote in the introduction that speaks to me in my own language:

Quote Mary Daly:

“Since Gyn/Ecology was published, the agents of patriarchal evil [some 15 years later] have invaded women and nature with more and more virulent attacks....

To list a few of these "developments": A ten-billion-dollar pornography industry has developed and continues to escalate; its images of the torture, murder, and dismemberment of women and girls are everywhere, "inspiring" more and more rapists and sex murderers to copy these images. Women battering and incest are alarmingly widespread. The reality of these horrors has always existed under patriarchy, but in recent years there has been an increase not only of information about them but also of the "practices" themselves. There has been an upsurge of international trafficking in women. Women of color are the primary victims of this atrocity as well as all other crimes. The demand for child prostitutes is enormous, especially around military bases and as "tourist attractions." The new reproductive technologies have developed at an alarming rate, taking on new forms that reduce women to subhuman "subjects" of experimentation. The torture of animals in laboratories and in agribusiness beggars description. And the Life-killers continue to kill the earth and its inhabitants.

And so now I have a feeling I am going to like that book and find much simpatico resonance there. I have hopes for it, at least. Knowing me, though, I’ll find something to quibble about. Anyway, thank you for bringing it up. And, truth be told, I now have the feeling you’re more literate on the subject of feminism than I, and that’s okay. I begin to see the contexts underneath some of your commentaries, which makes me feel a little less lonesome here on the feminism issue.

Okay. Re this: “...I don't know if I'd have got stuck in some repetitive track of overt reactionary rebellious behavior I see so many males working through like they've been caught in a net if he were the kind of petty authoritarian you had to deal with, and the kind I see so in many stories written where damaged children play out lives of stochastic rebellion rather than living well and lovingly; themes played out as well as in popular movies and TV shows.

I think: Wake up, folks! Can't you see? This is not (just) Oedipus, this is the mythical social form 'Archy' you are dealing with! And the men who are the little petty dictators in their households are just weak and afraid down deep, hiding behind the bluster that a patriarchally organized society provides for men -- programs into them from birth -- as a cookie cutter ranked facade for them to copy. Cut and paste, don't think. And so many come out of the childhood oven of institutionalized education baked into a rigid form and go marching off into the military where that form fits so well. I'd like to be able to feel sorry for them, but they do so much damage. And it's systemic, and it's self reinforcing. The whole of civilization is out of balance as a result, staggering masculine head strong towards a cliff.

Absolutely! But I see this too: the deep-down reality inside my stepfather contained a whole lot of unhealed wounds, some of them inflicted by his father who used to beat him with a whip far into his teens, but also the fact of his own beloved mother’s death when he was only sixteen. Add to that ingredient the pressure to make a living, when you’ve got a wife and three daughters to support, and all within the context of that “patriarchally organized society,” the Archy, you mentioned, and you’re going to see some overcompensation, some acting out. At least he never touched us physically. He was a good man. I think of what Derrick Jensen went through with his father, and I feel blessed with good luck for the father I had.

Seems to me the strict, abusive father exists as a metaphor for that egregiously “phallocentric” aspect of civilization, the aspect we’re concerned about. He's a big-bellied, murderous asshole, stomping around the globe, putting his cigar out in the faces of multitudes. It's not the whole picture of civilization, though, but the alternative commentary will have to wait for another time.

Quote .ren:
And anyway, I'm a Libra, so how could I not want balance? (C'mon, do I sound like I'm into Astrology?)

Right. Balance. So sorely needed.

But no, I’m not into astrology, either. Far from it. But I still like my sign’s descriptions— the “crab,” “moon child,” emotionally sensitive, homebody...plus it’s supposedly a “water sign.” Works for me. My nickname in my family by some is “L’eau.” If you think of French pronunciation of l’eau rit (water laughs), that’s how the French would pronounce my real name. (My silly aside for the day.)

Cecil was a cat. Cats are free spirits; even when domesticated, the wild is in their eyes, when they look at you. Dogs are pack animals, social creatures (live in packs). :-)

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Lions are pack animals though not like wolves and dogs.

Dogs can be free spirits and still care about the good of the pack.

They make good friends.

Cats are more like Ayn Rand.

The Virtue of Selfishness.

Humans are pack animals.

Some like cats, some like dogs.

I like both.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote .ren:

Cats are more like Ayn Rand.


Ee-ee-ckkk! Them's fightin' words. ;D

When I say cats are free spirits, I mean that in the sense that if you treat them badly, they'll leave you. Dogs put up with all sorts of crap. Of course, I'm talking domestic cats and dogs. My cats, while free spirits at heart, only stay with me, because I'm nice to them. And, believe me, they love me and are very much attached to me.

I'm surprised you would associate cats with Ayn Rand, though I suspect you're just trying to get my goat. ;-)

Still, you might not want to approve so much of pack animal types, given your allergy to hierarchy.

I will borrow from an essay I wrote long ago: pack animals are about power, which means what happens in a pack has a lot to do with dominance and submission—who’s on top, who’s on the bottom, and who tries to keep a low profile. That IS, as you know, hierarchy. I mean, isn't that how it works on the micro level?— how those who lack the will and energy for power struggles are considered weak; how the weak are subjected to abuse and used by the strong to establish status; how top dogs manage to enforce the hierarchy via innumerable tactics—killing, battering, biting, snarling, snubbing, hovering, firing your ass, both literal and symbolic; then there are the more creative, passive tactics, like what we used to call killing with kindness, or damning with faint praise, or playing games, such as complimenting a bald guy’s bald spot for its shine, and then, when he says, “Huh?” asking him why he can’t take a compliment. That kind of thing. There’s no end to it. The strong, ever lusting after power, work overtime pecking at others.

This is the most important thing: to the human pack animal, power is more respectable than virtue. In fact, whatever your power, whether it is the power of wealth, fame, strength, beauty, or success, like maybe you’re the best-selling author of a book entitled, “The Cannibal’s Dilemma,” your name is Virtue, no matter that you love to insult your wife in public. But if you lack that kind of power, and you are neither rich nor famous nor strong nor beautiful nor successful, and maybe one of your front teeth is a little bit crooked, well, forget it, don’t expect to be treated as a virtuous person. No matter your true virtue, your good character, whether it’s that you are kind, or gentle, honest, or humbly non-competitive—it matters not a jot: you’re a “loser;” you are a shameful and bad person. Don’t hold your breath waiting for your family or co-workers to treat you with respect. It isn’t coming.

Well, domestic cats are free agents, and, while they do enjoy your company, they would like you to know they can do without you very well, thank you very much. They couldn’t care less. Don’t bother them with your antics—they’re not in the mood. Go ahead, do what you will, they aren’t looking.

That’s because there’s no notion of top dog among cats. Yes, on the surface they may seem to go along with you—especially if you please them in some sense, say if, when you call them to your lap, you pet them for fifteen or twenty minutes. But their hearts are free: the choice was always theirs, and only if you’re nice will they honor you with their presence.

Only if you’re nice... This means that virtue is the highest value to cats, i.e., free spirits. It isn’t your size that impresses them; it’s your heart.

As we know, a dog will tolerate anything. Pack animals call this loyalty. That’s because they value power over nice behavior, whereas free spirits would call it dumb— “I should suffer for this jerk? Better to be loyal to a nice person.”

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be free spirits. Despite the noise made by conservatives about the value of rugged individualism, when it comes down to it, they tend to be easily led by the nose toward whatever dim room their leaders would like them to dwell in. But trying to organize Democrats, you may have heard, is like trying to load frogs into a wheelbarrow (Jim Hightower quote)—or herd cats.

Quote .ren:

I like both.


Me too, truth be told. Of course, you can't divide people into two categories. Still, it's fun to play with such notions.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I suspect you know somewhat less about the canid then you think you know Zoe. Within the wild the pack structure is a lot more complicated then just who is the biggest or strongest. In fact quite often it a female that is the actual leader, but depending on what is going on at any particular time another within the pack may well assume that roll and not necessarily the normal Alpha.

In domesticated dogs, as social pack animals they bond at a young time of their life with humans. As a pack animal they know the strength is in numbers. So we become their pack, then they are forced or coerced into following orders by learning language they don't speak. Because some (many) dogs are brutally subjugated doesn't mean they are not or will not be independent in their own right given their rathers. Much like horses. Or people. It's called learned helplessness. Or put more kindly, training.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Yes, of course I was jesting. Just a little impromptu poem off the top of my head.

I know it's fun to do, to categorize animals and make metaphors of them. I've done it. And I see your essay as play.

But really, when I look more closely at animals, I'm not sure I see animals the way many people do. I just kind of see them.

I've always been able to get close to animals. We seem drawn to each other. I get a lot strays for some reason. Broken animals come near me and I feed them and we have sort of communion together, whatever that might be.

I have noticed that contrary to popular myth, dogs will leave if they are abused... if they can leave, and have not been deeply conditioned the way humans can also be conditioned to live in an S&M relationship. Plenty of stray dogs are running around today that have voluntarily left.

There were a number of abused or otherwise uncared for dogs running free in West Oakland while I lived there, and they often ended up in my yard.

Sometimes they'd pack up. There were three that came by on a regular basis. If the back door was open, one would come in the house, plop down on the couch and go to sleep with his legs sticking straight up into the air. They always knew they could get a hand out from me. Same with some of the stray cats that wouldn't go near anyone else.

However, if you were to go up into the hills above Berkeley where I did a lot of remodeling work in order to pay for my laid back artistic existence, into the wealthy neighborhoods, you would not get a chance to experience these animals in this way. The rich don't want them around. So you'd see some uniformed automatons in trucks with little cages in the back coming around to make certain they aren't.

I know people who have declawed their cats and then keep them indoors at all times. I can't think of anything more abusive than that to a cat's nature. I get that they don't want them killing the birds or whatever. Those cats don't leave this abuse. Of course, they can't, probably would if they could, minus their important claws of course. Well, that's what cat's do... go after birds and small rodents, even when they aren't hungry.

I have a pair of robins that come by and raise their young here every year. The neighbors have about four cats that live outside; they spend much of their time strategically trying to get those robins every year, all summer long. I think they've got a few of their young over the years, but the adults are smarter. I'm pretty sure its the same pair that returns, first the male, then the female a few weeks later. I hear they're known to do that.

It's well understood from the anthropological literature that Gather/Hunters are not hierarchical groups. All that we know are very egalitarian in their associations with each other, and mutually engaged in aiding one another. They don't tend to make up many rules about how to go about it, either. You could call them pack animals, I suppose, but common notions of pack animal rules based on 10,000 years of practicing civilization may not be so easily ascribed to their packishness.

Though perhaps logically flawed in some ways when applied directly to the biology of Darwin's Origin of the Species, I kinda like the anarchist Peter Kropotkin's take on the evolutionary advantages of mutual aid: Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution. I mean, there you have the anarchist's spirit with someone who influenced many of today's free spirited anarchists, and you have voluntary mutual aid.

I think what Kropotkin does best is undermine Hobbes' modern day legacy, a fundamental human nature theory running strongly through modern industrial civilization, especially the economic sector, and most clearly expressed in those who most desperately want to conserve it. A theory that envisions that all humans are fundamentally in deadly competition with each other for the resources of this planet. Perhaps that's how we get that bizarre contradiction you found between power, independence of mind, with that willingness to submit to authority you find in our dear Republicans.

The emptiness of feelings, emotions and empathy from that vision is just so very, very sad to me.

And when I finally read Ayn Rand's Virtue of Selfishness, I found no clearer expression of it. In... whoa!... what turns out to be one of the most diabolically revered tomes I've ever come across.

Quote Amazon Blurb from the above link:

Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds human life--the life proper to a rational being--as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with man's nature, with the creative requirements of his survival, and with a free society.

And, as I understand it, she died as she wrote. A heroine on her own terms. Filled with that virtue... and completely alone. How valiant! How heroic!

...Who is John Galt?

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Quote rs allen:

I suspect you know somewhat less about the canid then you think you know Zoe.

Actually, I’m quite sure I know next to nothing about the “canid,” rs. I’m also quite sure you know way more than I do, and therefore love them better than I. I love them as far as it goes, enough to pat a friendly one on the head, or notice what a splendid example of its kind it might be, adoring from afar, but as for knowing them intimately, well, I haven’t had much experience with that.

In fact, I’ve only lived with three dogs in my life. The first was an Airedale, a horrible dog my step-father brought into our household. Sorry, but there’s no love lost between him and me. He once attacked a horse from behind and properly got his head kicked in. The second dog was an incredibly brilliant sheep dog who looked like this and deserved a much better human than I, at least a better human than the distracted one trying to raise toddler humans. It pains me now to think of him. The third dog was a black labrador whom I loved— the sweetest dog ever. Problem was, one 4th of July somebody left the gate to our place open, and TJ got out. He was the kind of dog who would be happy just following his nose and was friendly to everyone. I searched for him everywhere but never saw him again. So that’s my guilty dog history.

Quote rs allen:
Within the wild the pack structure is a lot more complicated then just who is the biggest or strongest. In fact quite often it a female that is the actual leader, but depending on what is going on at any particular time another within the pack may well assume that roll and not necessarily the normal Alpha.

In domesticated dogs, as social pack animals they bond at a young time of their life with humans. As a pack animal they know the strength is in numbers. So we become their pack, then they are forced or coerced into following orders by learning language they don't speak. Because some (many) dogs are brutally subjugated doesn't mean they are not or will not be independent in their own right given their rathers. Much like horses. Or people. It's called learned helplessness. Or put more kindly, training.

Ren, though your comment about not being able to “think of anything more abusive than” keeping a cat indoors singes my conscience —I have one indoor cat (with claws; I’d never declaw a cat!) and two indoor/outdoor cats (I bring them in at night; coyotes in my area after dark)— I have to agree. I’ve been struggling with the issue, trying to work up the energy to acclimate my incredibly neurotic, territorial, scaredy cat, Zephyr, to the outdoors, but by this time she’s “institutionalized” (think Shawshank Redemption) and gets frightened when I take her outdoors. I know. It’s disgusting of me. The thing is, I made a promise to the person who gave her to me to keep her indoors. Somehow that promise kept me stupid.

Jasmine adopted me as a stray cat, and she’s a gem—the most sane, wise cat ever. I found Sophie in the rain under a board next to my place, when she was teeny-tiny. She’s a crack-up, a true wild-child, the happiest lizard-eater you ever saw. At first I raised her indoors, but then I decided to acclimate her to the outdoors when she was about six months old, and did so, little by little, teaching her to remember where home was. Problem is, she hates to come in at night. I’ve tried all sorts of strategies to catch her, but she does. not. have. a. flat. learning. curve, and most things I try only work once. After that she’s on to me. So now I lure her in with canned fish for cats, which represents a real ethical dilemma for me too, since I’m thinking fish farms and all the politics surrounding ocean life issues. Talk about puzzlements!

If you guys have any ideas, let me know.

I don’t know how anybody can read more than two sentences of Ayn Rand’s novels, without tossing them in the trash. Pure schlock. She writes, “Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.” Then she accepts Social Security and Medicare toward the end of her life. Hello?

Now you’ve gone and mentioned another book I must add to my list: Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution.

Here ya’ go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g Any quibbles? Not for me.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Horses and dogs, two natural enemies. It's best not to try and put them together without at least one of them being used to and friendly with the other and preferably both on friendly terms with the other. But almost always it'll be the dog that's the instigator if it's a question of who's at fault when one of them gets hurt.

Cats and dogs? I kept dogs that could care less about them, I've kept dogs I had to teach to leave them alone and I've kept dogs take hated cats from the day they were born and I couldn't teach them to even ignore them much less leave them alone.

Aren't horses something of a pack critter themselves if I'm not mistaken.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm
Quote .ren:I think what Kropotkin does best is undermine Hobbes' modern day legacy, a fundamental human nature theory running strongly through modern industrial civilization, especially the economic sector, and most clearly expressed in those who most desperately want to conserve it. A theory that envisions that all humans are fundamentally in deadly competition with each other for the resources of this planet. Perhaps that's how we get that bizarre contradiction you found between power, independence of mind, with that willingness to submit to authority you find in our dear Republicans.

The emptiness of feelings, emotions and empathy from that vision is just so very, very sad to me.

Human nature is a sticky wicket. On the one hand, you have the new agey types who flat-out deny that there is such a thing as human nature (in spite of what evolutionary biologists, geneticists and neuroscientists, as well as Noam Chomsky, have to say). On the other hand, you have the libertarian types who insist on a supposed norm of self-interest. I've often thought they're just extremely selfish and greedy people (perhaps sociopaths in some cases) who are engaging in self-justification. Speaking of which, I recommend Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me). But I digress...

when social scientists perform studies outside of Western Civ, results can be eye-opening.

Even within the dominant western culture, however, it would seem the "norm of self-interest" isn't all it's purported to be.

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
Joined:
Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

To posts 136, 137, 138...

This is all related to other discussions. How about this thread: Thought +Language? We discussed a bit about Kropotkin and Hobbes on page two starting here: #63.

By the way, Zenzoe, here's a link to a pdf copy of Kropotkin's Mutual Aid you can download and read at your leisure, or read on line at your leisure. Amazon offers a free Kindle version if anyone has a Kindle or wants to install Amazon's free app on their computer: Mutual Aid.

Right that, r.s. horses are prey, dogs are predators. And that sort of speaks to your question about horses being pack critters. Yes, when domesticated they've been used to pack things around. But in their own natural habitant I would look to the distinction between herd critters and pack critters that seems to revolve around the distinction between predator and prey:

If predator, and the predators work together to get the prey, they are doing so in packs; If prey, and the prey sort of bands together for protection and a kind of mass defense against predators, then they are herds. Something like that, anyway.

Again, Kropotkin notices these complex species' behaviors in a number of species evolved beyond the bacteria stage of evolution, which dominated about four billion years of evolution. Contrary to the Virtue of Selfishness crowd's rendition of Darwin's survival of the fittest through competition hypothesis, in his Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, Kropotkin came out with that mutual aid thesis in 1902, during the still flowering of Robber Baron selfishness phase of the rise of industrial civilization. The very idea underlying that pinko-stinko commie mutuality idea can be observed in its socialization-embedded contrary, the still knee-jerk reaction of the Virtue of Selfishness programmed average American to the word 'socialism' that will probably take Bernie out of the Presidential race eventually. I believe that's the brief phase in evolution that writers like Ayn Rand seemed so enamored of, and distressed at leaving behind, as mutual aid factors (from Social Security to Civil Rights) were coming to the common person's rescue. However, the Virtue of Selfishness phase may not be over with yet.

My dog Jacques, who was a hundred pound half lab, half wolf mix, and could clear a six foot fence by simply standing next to it and leaping, was humbled to discover that a single dog going after a herd of elk was a very bad strategy. He fortunately survived but never tried that one again. Now if there were about six of him working together.... He was also wise enough not to go after a bear and her two cubs we came across about ten miles back into the forest behind my house. Which I was very happy about and we managed to back out of that situation and leave the area before she took it into her head we were a threat.

Zenzoe, I've done a few creative things with cat doors to help more timid cats find a route out of the house with aids to avoid certain bully cats who wait hiding just outside ready to pounce when the cat door opens. But they are situational and individual cat personality-related. I don't have anything general to offer your situation.

Sheep dogs are working dogs and selected for their sharp attention spans and interest in doing just about any kind of interactive activity. It's great to give them a herd of cats, a herd of sheep, herd of goats, or a herd of just about anything to keep rounded up. Keeps 'em busy and out of your hair. They wake up turned on (if they happen to bother to sleep at all) and they are very on, so it takes a lot of attention just to keep up with them.

I couldn't agree more about Ayn Rand. I was required by my tenth grade male English teacher -- who was enamored by Ayn Rand's ideas and would probably be among today's tea party crowd -- to read Atlas Shrugged. While I skimmed most of it, I picked up enough to write the required analysis. He did not appreciate my essay criticizing her sub adolescent writing style. I doubt he'd majored in literature or even English in college. Perhaps phys ed. I'd, unfortunately for Ayn Rand, been reading classic literature writers like Shakespeare, Bacon, Chekov and such since I was 12, and she just does not measure up.

The Virtue of Selfishness is Ayn Rand's version of a philosophical tome, not a novel, in case you understandably didn't bother to look at it. It's a collection of essays both she and her pet lover Nathaniel Brandon wrote in the early sixties, about the time she was getting that cult together that Greeenspan was part of. Like her "depth" and "breadth" of philosophical understanding, there's not much there to read in something less than 170 pages, so in a very brief evening's exercise I grasped enough of her concepts to understand the gist of any arguments employing them -- just in case I ever needed to know them. Never really did. Anyway, it's all around us, most everyone is objectifying themselves, selling themselves off as commodities, systematically compromising their humanity as if it were nothing more than a dirty handkerchief. That's her version of morality and ethics. She's just speaking for Hobbes and his philosophical heirs who are running the world's economy and the rest of us over a cliff at the same time.

And yes, Even though I'm not a particularly huge fan of Rifkin's general approach to topics, I've recommended Rifkin's The Empathic Civilization to a number of friends who I felt would appreciate it. He does appeal to the scholarly set who have to introduce ideas to young minds. I am very interested in the human nature implied by the discovery of those mirror neurons, because I have felt their effects so deeply myself. I am very secure in believing that my horrified response to much of what I see in the world comes from my response to what those neurons trigger in my mind. Thanks for that RSA video, good to put in my collection on this topic.

Garrett,

In this post (#114) and many others scattered around this board over the years, I've exposed my debt to Chomsky and his universal grammar concept that also lies somewhere deep in his discussion on human nature that you linked.

In developing my very own understanding of culture that emerges from my studies of culture through anthropologists and through that very notion Chomsky inductively reasoned we come with, I too have induced that we probably come with a set of biological tools that can be modified at our discretion to work with a variety of circumstances as we see fit (implying both a potential for creativity and free will). Our very potential to create cultural systems together is a result of that potential in my humble opinion.

Culture is very much like language and the distinction Chomsky makes between our inherited capacities with grammar and semantics. Per Chomsky, we come into this world through that birth canal with a basic universal grammar set out of which all our languages can be created by any individual exposed to any one or more of them. But meaning must be created after we get here. Meaning itself is not inherited. That's critical because meaning and certainty are correlated. I would suggest that culture, too, works on that principle. Thus the anthropologist who may go into another culture, expecting to find the same meanings that (s)he's internalized in her/hus own culture, is likely to be surprised that something isn't quite right about the way those mysterious "others" are responding to the meaning based tests (s)he brings along (for scientific purposes, of course).

Once I grasped that principle, and that's been over forty years now, I have had this kind of on going principled difference of opinion about human nature with both cerrtain members of the psychology crowd and their group-held biases, and certain members of the sociology crowd and their group-held biases; because for me, culture-creation as a human potential is a kind of grammatical pattern creation potential. Potential is the key word. No grammar and no culture must follow any pre-set pattern.

So I see what Chomsky means: "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." That's a grammatical construction. We can create grammatical constructions of various sorts out of this grammar creating potential. They don't automatically appear meaningful.

Semantics, or meaning, now that involves something else we humans have capacity to create. Context, all sorts of factors can come to play in that creation. And therefore we have the ability as well as the moment to moment opportunity to make our own meaning with this basic feature: grammar creation. We are not impelled by the grammar of language or the grammar of culture to knee-jerk assume a certain meaning out of the pre-determined biology of our human nature, our brain itself.

Determinism relies on that biologically based misperception to persuade its philosophical followers of its logical ontology. There is a degree of that behavioral determinism in the blank slate vision of the human mind that brought about Skinner's version of behaviorism. I.e., Skinner argued that if we have no inherent human nature then we are utterly determined by our response to the determining factors of our environment. We are utterly programmed. We are Beyond Freedom and (the) Dignity of our freedom of the will.

Quote Amazon blurb:

Basing his arguments on the massive results of the experimental analysis of behavior he pioneered, Skinner rejects traditional explanations of behavior in terms of states of mind, feelings, and other mental attributes in favor of explanations to be sought in the interaction between genetic endowment and personal history. He argues that instead of promoting freedom and dignity as personal attributes, we should direct our attention to the physical and social environments in which people live. It is the environment rather than humankind itself that must be changed if the traditional goals of the struggle for freedom and dignity are to be reached.

Beyond Freedom and Dignity urges us to reexamine the ideals we have taken for granted and to consider the possibility of a radically behaviorist approach to human problems--one that has appeared to some incompatible with those ideals, but which envisions the building of a world in which humankind can attain its greatest possible achievements.

Fortunately Chomsky took him to task by using his inductive insights into language acquisition that appeared in his early tomes based on his PhD thesis, Syntactic Structures, Aspects of a Theory of Syntax (both excellent to have near your bed in case you're having trouble getting to sleep), he changed the course of the then dominating theory in psychology, behaviorism, and helped bring about its decline.

Quote Wiki on Chomsky:

In 1955 he began work at MIT, soon becoming a significant figure in the field of linguistics for his publications and lectures on the subject. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, the Chomsky–Schützenberger representation theorem, and the Chomsky–Schützenberger enumeration theorem. Chomsky also played a major role in the decline of behaviorism, and was especially critical of the work of B.F. Skinner.[30][31]

Certainty, then, would not be a necessary part of any of that, or, likely, anything we can construct with our minds. Facts are as manufactured by the mind as much as are product manufactured by factories. As much as those true believers in certainty (who generally follow religious fundamentalists beliefs) wish it were originated elsewhere and otherwise, certainty is inevitably a product of the mind. And for those who revel in our freedom, that bases us in our freedom of the will with very little that an authoritarian can do about it without their guns, their whips and their chains. A gift of our nature, then, or for some a curse.

Meaning is not set in our genes and we are not determined by inherited meaning. Our ability to make meaning is also the foundation of such philosophical speculations on our phenomenological mental beingness we may find in Sartre's existential exercises about Being and Nothingness.

This was a little more work than I intended to do. I fear this needs a lot of editing.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Rs, I’m thinking human influence on the evolution of dogs —breeding— caused our Airedale’s crazy behavior. I say “crazy,” because he would attack any creature that moved, including my first cat, Murphy, who ran away after a meet-up with Buck the Airedale puppy when he first arrived on the scene. A poor little Cocker Spaniel across the street got the brunt of his aggressions later on, though, even one day having to defend itself under the dining room table where it lived. Buck, the Airedale TERROR-ier.

Ren, I installed a cat door in my bedroom door but had to close it, when Jazzy and Sophie arrived. Zephyr freaks out if they invade “her space.” But then, I remember when I first met her— little grey and white kitten, sitting apart from all the other kittens, looking lost. Naturally, I had to pick her. Anyway, Zeph does roam the other rooms of the house, but only when the other two go outside.

I don’t have a cat door to the outside for a number of reasons, for one because I am not fond of finding live, large alligator lizards hiding between the sheets on my bed, a surprise that did happen once, back when I lived in Solana Beach and always left a window slightly open for the cats (one of which had apparently brought the damn reptile in— yes, I caught it and put it outside). Mostly, in this neighborhood, the other cats don’t pose a threat to mine, since they, my female cats, are spayed. One big bruiser of a Tom does visit every other day, whom mine aren’t crazy for; but he’s only moderately annoying, marking territory with his spray, which Sophie and Jazzy choose to ignore. He’s blue-gray, has an over-sized head with one-and-a-quarter ears and has a look of weary monsterhood. I call him “Lurch.”

A radio program I listened to on NPR yesterday came to mind as I read your and Garrett's discussion re human nature, mirror neurons, the human capacity for creativity and free will, determinism, selfishness, the empathic civilization, etc., etc. Given what I heard there, I have to wonder if any of that matters. Not that I wish to discourage good thoughts about possibilities for a positive future for humanity and the planet, but it sounds to me like the technological train speeds way faster than we ever imagined it could, and we just may have been left behind already.

Alan Grayson said, “If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: ‘Die quickly.’" I’m thinking, by the same token, the powers-that-be expect those who can’t keep up with the brave new world of robotics and the elimination of jobs, to just die. That is to say, it sure feels like the selfish set will win in the end, after all.

Quote NPR:

China's Robot Revolution and the Future of our Workforce

From Chinese factories to America's white-collar middle class, robots may soon be replacing more and more people. We look at what the future might hold as machines get smarter than we are.

[NPR Intro]: "The robots are coming! Is your job safe? ...Millions of factory workers in China face technological unemployment as robots are replacing people faster than ever. In the US and other developed countries, fast-food workers, office staffs and sales personnel may soon be shouldered aside; and robots are teaching classes, researching legal cases, even writing news stories, without demanding vacations or time off. As robots become more creative, will guaranteed incomes be needed to sustain an unemployed middle class?..."

Regardless, Ren, I am reading your Kropotkin.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

A radio program I listened to on NPR yesterday came to mind as I read your and Garrett's discussion re human nature, mirror neurons, the human capacity for creativity and free will, determinism, selfishness, the empathic civilization, etc., etc. Given what I heard there, I have to wonder if any of that matters. Not that I wish to discourage good thoughts about possibilities for a positive future for humanity and the planet, but it sounds to me like the technological train speeds way faster than we ever imagined it could, and we just may have been left behind already.

I sit back and think peaceful and positive thoughts about the human species. I could write stories with those thoughts. I doubt I could sell any, so I don't. I just think them. And I am at peace.

Same goes for the notion that humans will voluntarily face what our creation called industrial civilization is doing to the planet, and together, all 7 point some billion of us, will choose to change this very possibly suicidal behavior en masse.

One possible option for change would be the science-inspired, ecology-based vision suggested in this video by sustainable (perma) culture designer Andrew Faust:

The Evolution of Ecological Consciousness.

We might do it if everyone (or more accurately, enough of us) believed there was a real threat on the same order that enough Americans were willing to believe there was a real threat that al-Qaeda or Saddam Hussein had the ability to deliver nuclear weapons and explode them in or on our cities.

Quote The One Percent Doctrine:

Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine as
stated by Ron Suskind in his book,
The One Percent Doctrine

"Even if there's just a one percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty. It's not about 'our analysis,' as Cheney said. It's about 'our response.' … Justified or not, fact-based or not, 'our response' is what matters. As to 'evidence,' the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn't apply."

The One Percent Doctrine as stated by
Dick Cheney
(from Wikipedia)

The title comes from an excerpted story from the book itself, in which Vice President Dick Cheney describes the Bush administration's doctrine on dealing with terrorism:

“If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response.”

And so, to the American people, it was worth the risk of agreeing to send our military to Afghanistan and Iraq at the still counting cost of billions of dollars, many lives, and much suffering to take out any potential aspect of that "threat." Or at least enough Americans didn't feel it was worth the trouble to stop the Bush Administration. Unimportantly, I was one of those who did try to stop it. Then a little later I came to write on Thom Hartmann's board in early 2004. Yet another relatively unimportant action on my part -- my life is filled with them, pretty much 100 percent -- but I like to write and nobody's banned me lately. A few people like to read, probably not very many.

I have thought your above thoughts in different ways on a number of occasions. I have also thought even more dire thoughts than yours about humans. I'll let Chomsky, from Garrett's link, express one I've had. I was a little surprised to read it. I don't often hear or read him being quite this forthcoming about his own assessment of the human species:

Quote Chomsky Interview on Human Nature:

QUESTION: Right. Can I ask you about your position on the possibility of ecological constraints on the realization of human needs? Do you think -- even if there were the political will to achieve it -- that it might be impossible, for ecological reasons, to provide the necessary conditions for continued human flourishing?

CHOMSKY: Humans may well be a nonviable organism.

QUESTION: Do you think they are?

CHOMSKY: It's very likely. From an evolutionary point of view, higher intelligence seems to be maladaptive rather than adaptive. Biologically successful organisms have a rigid character and are well adapted to a certain environmental niche. If higher intelligence helped adaptation you would expect it to have arisen over and over again. However, it didn't. It arose in a single, not particularly successful organism, Homo Sapiens. And while the human population exploded, human societies developed in a way that has caused enormous damage to the environment. The human race could destroy itself and much organic life as a result.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I think Jensen's next book is one several of us would enjoy, and is probably relevant to this thread.

He spoke about the backstory in this talk.

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
Joined:
Sep. 3, 2010 8:20 am

From Garrett's link:

Quote Robert Jensen:

(at about 3:00 minutes)

I would recommend taking a look at any measure of the health of the ecosphere that makes our own lives possible. That is, the data about the intensifying negative effects of human activity on the water, on the soil and on the climate of the planet.

And I think when you do that, an unpleasant fact is unavoidable: that an ongoing, large scale human presence on the planet is impossible if we accept the assumptions and give in to the demands of existing economic and political systems in the United States.

(He repeats the last for emphasis)

Put slightly more bluntly, contemporary America's conception of the good life is now clearly inconsistent with life.

And then back to Chomsky on human nature:

Quote Chomsky Interview on Human Nature:

QUESTION: Right. Can I ask you about your position on the possibility of ecological constraints on the realization of human needs? Do you think -- even if there were the political will to achieve it -- that it might be impossible, for ecological reasons, to provide the necessary conditions for continued human flourishing?

CHOMSKY: Humans may well be a nonviable organism.

QUESTION: Do you think they are?

CHOMSKY: It's very likely. From an evolutionary point of view, higher intelligence seems to be maladaptive rather than adaptive. Biologically successful organisms have a rigid character and are well adapted to a certain environmental niche. If higher intelligence helped adaptation you would expect it to have arisen over and over again. However, it didn't. It arose in a single, not particularly successful organism, Homo Sapiens. And while the human population exploded, human societies developed in a way that has caused enormous damage to the environment. The human race could destroy itself and much organic life as a result.

I have found only a small percentage of people even willing to contemplate the possibility.

Yet, we rise to the absurdity of some American dentist, living the good life, luring Cecil the Lion from the safety of his preserve, "proving his manhood" by first shooting Cecil with an arrow, then tracking, murdering and beheading him for the purpose of mounting that head in his trophy room. Is this just that insanity of lying to ourselves in yet another form, to get in a national snit about this act?

Jensen goes on and talks about what we as a people have yet to muster. That is, "the intellectual resources, the political will or the moral courage to, not only save ourselves, but to minimize the damage to other living beings."

Not only was Cecil the lion another fellow living being in these increasingly ecologically troubled times, but his murderer, who clearly lacks the moral courage to face his inadequacy as a human being, and a male human being at that, and could not go just a little further and minimize the damage we humans cause to other living beings, this murderer is the model of one of "us" -- that is, a contemporary American living the good life.

The dentist couldn't even have the decency to help us all to maintain that lie that we are honorable, life-loving humans minding our own business, not really participating in the global forces that put a protective preserve around Cecil and his family in the first place. No, the "douche bag," as douglaslee so eloquently labels him, had to emerge in the news and expose us all. He had to go to Africa, probably by jet, and with the help of his "good life" money-paid guides, lure this majestic living being out of the preserve he should never have needed in the first place and murder him.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Thanks, Ren, for bringing the subject full-circle. Very heartfully well said, and what I offer, below isn't so much that, so I wouldn't mind if you were to edit yours at #143 to put our comments in order. —and I know you don't need thanks and compliments, but sometimes I need to express them. :-)

For what it's worth:

Quote .ren:

Quote Zenzoe:

A radio program I listened to on NPR yesterday came to mind as I read your and Garrett's discussion re human nature, mirror neurons, the human capacity for creativity and free will, determinism, selfishness, the empathic civilization, etc., etc. Given what I heard there, I have to wonder if any of that matters. Not that I wish to discourage good thoughts about possibilities for a positive future for humanity and the planet, but it sounds to me like the technological train speeds way faster than we ever imagined it could, and we just may have been left behind already.


I sit back and think peaceful and positive thoughts about the human species. I could write stories with those thoughts. I doubt I could sell any, so I don't. I just think them. And I am at peace.

Same goes for the notion that humans will voluntarily face what our creation called industrial civilization is doing to the planet, and together, all 7 point some billion of us, will choose to change this very possibly suicidal behavior en masse.

One possible option for change would be the science-inspired, ecology-based vision suggested in this video by sustainable (perma) culture designer Andrew Faust:

The Evolution of Ecological Consciousness.

We might do it if everyone (or more accurately, enough of us) believed there was a real threat on the same order that enough Americans were willing to believe there was a real threat that al-Qaeda or Saddam Hussein had the ability to deliver nuclear weapons and explode them in or on our cities...

...I have thought your above thoughts in different ways on a number of occasions. I have also thought even more dire thoughts than yours about humans. I'll let Chomsky, from Garrett's link, express one I've had. I was a little surprised to read it. I don't often hear or read him being quite this forthcoming about his own assessment of the human species:

Quote Chomsky Interview on Human Nature:

QUESTION: Right. Can I ask you about your position on the possibility of ecological constraints on the realization of human needs? Do you think -- even if there were the political will to achieve it -- that it might be impossible, for ecological reasons, to provide the necessary conditions for continued human flourishing?

CHOMSKY: Humans may well be a nonviable organism.

QUESTION: Do you think they are?

CHOMSKY: It's very likely. From an evolutionary point of view, higher intelligence seems to be maladaptive rather than adaptive. Biologically successful organisms have a rigid character and are well adapted to a certain environmental niche. If higher intelligence helped adaptation you would expect it to have arisen over and over again. However, it didn't. It arose in a single, not particularly successful organism, Homo Sapiens. And while the human population exploded, human societies developed in a way that has caused enormous damage to the environment. The human race could destroy itself and much organic life as a result.

If you’re a human being, you’re a part of the problem, I sometimes think. Not so, according to the old lady at the market the other day, the sweet old thing who stood behind me in line at the check-out counter and engaged me in conversation. She first asked about my oranges, but then seemed bent on advocating for the position that “everyone seems to be becoming more aware about healthy food…” and blah blah blah. I said, “Oh really? I notice an awful lot of people with junk filling their carts in this store…” to which the check out lady added, nodding and rolling her eyes, “Don’t get me started…” But my elder friend insisted, “No, people care about their health,” and then she gave me a printout of her list of safe produce and toxic produce (pesticide-laden).

Regardless, I remain skeptical. In line at that local discount food store I see the sad reality offered to poor people— it’s a store that offers nothing in the way of organic produce, has an aisle jam-packed with sugary cereals and, well, you know. If I go over to Sprouts, where I buy my organic produce, it’s a different story. But everything costs more there. Our little town’s farmer’s market offers loads of good, healthy food/produce and is always busy, but its produce is wildly expensive. The city promotes the farmer’s market vigorously, so that’s a good thing. It also imposes water-rationing for citizens, even while you see traffic islands with lawns that the city must water. Oye.

My Google search for “permaculture” in my city found some very interesting possibilities, for example: http://www.skymountain.org/html/current_ecoed_programs.html
I guess we ain’t dead yet. ;-)

Thanks for the Robert Jensen talk, Garrett. One thing he said reminded me of a question I have concerning the anti-hierarchy sensibility. I consider myself a member of the anti-hierarchy tribe, if you will, but I will be confused, when others in the same group deny the natural appearance of rank in practically every human community we wish to look at. In his talk, Jensen mentioned —and I can’t remember his exact wording— “leadership” in a pejorative sense, even while he, himself, is a leader simply by virtue of all the writing and advocacy he engages in. I look up to him for guidance, or, I suppose you could say, for support of my own sensibility about a number of issues, and I don’t know what to call that but his leadership.

He may think he engages his students in “conversation,” but the reality is, he out ranks them. He says (elsewhere than in the talk), “How do we move from a society built on a foundation of hierarchy, control and domination, to a society rooted in equality, love and conversation,” even while he stands before an audience as an authority figure of sorts. And I don’t know how to uncouple the inevitability of rank from hierarchy, except by depending on Robert Fuller’s insights, which might say that hierarchy is the same thing as rankism, an ideology, while rank can be a practical and innocuous aspect of human community, as long as rank includes respect and love for everyone involved.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

PS to my #144: I forgot about something I wanted to say in response to this, from .ren: “I sit back and think peaceful and positive thoughts about the human species. I could write stories with those thoughts. I doubt I could sell any, so I don't. I just think them. And I am at peace.” [my bolds]

May I assume that if I were to interpret that comment to mean you don’t believe in doing art, unless there’s a possibility of selling it, that I would be wrong? Surely, you don’t believe that the end point of doing art has to be selling it. Or, more extremely, “selling one’s art confers legitimacy and validation on the art and artist,” as our culture teaches us to believe.

Allow me to offer the following poem by Marge Percy:

For the young who want to

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

____

I take that to mean “for the middle-aged and old who want to” too.

Really, if I were to refrain from doing art —writing or painting— based on an expectation that I might not sell it, I’d not have grown in all the ways I have, just because I love doing it more than I like being loved. And I am the only person qualified to call my art, art.

I have sold paintings, but I always regret it, and I continue to miss those paintings, nearly like one misses one's child.

Here's another question: Is there room in the conscious community for the solitary artist doing art strictly based on intimate, personal expression?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

If you can bear it:

Orlando Von Einsiedel: Saving the world’s last mountain gorillas

"If a picture says a thousand words, then maybe a documentary can truly make a difference. That’s Orlando Von Einsiedel’s hope.

"Professional snowboarder turned film-maker, Einsiedel’s documentary “Virunga” shares the story of a team of park rangers devoted to saving the world’s last mountain gorillas and their home in the Congo’s Virunga National Park.

"The gorillas are an integral part of Virunga’s vast biodiversity and these park rangers, Einsiedel says, risk their own lives to protect the park and to ensure the mountain gorillas’ survival.

"Orlando Von Einsiedel sits down with Mike Walter to discuss the dire costs of human greed.”

Quote Orlando Von Einsiedel:

...This is a story that I do believe is relevant for everyone...Virunga’s a world heritage site, and only a tiny portion of our planet has been designated these incredibly important areas that need to be protected. Humanity has decided that we should not explore for oil there; we should not drill for coal...so important. And if somewhere as iconic as Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park, falls in the face of illegal oil exploration— if that place falls, what can be protected from human greed?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hazTfo5c9n4

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

May I assume that if I were to interpret that comment to mean you don’t believe in doing art, unless there’s a possibility of selling it, that I would be wrong? Surely, you don’t believe that the end point of doing art has to be selling it. Or, more extremely, “selling one’s art confers legitimacy and validation on the art and artist,” as our culture teaches us to believe.

Well, at least you are telling me I'm not communicating very well. I would answer by saying it would be wrong if you were to interpret what I said to mean that. No, I do not mean that the end point of art should be selling it.

I consider my life itself to be an art form. I consider being at peace to be part of my art.

My statement was more an indictment of the system you go on to describe after your proposed assumption of what my words might be interpreted to mean.

All that was in my mind when those words came to me was a kind of awareness that if I write happy stories of the sort that bring me peace, nobody really wants to hear them.

I mean, intellectually I'm aware that an aspect of being a human being is to have a desire to share. So I'm acutely aware that the art I do is for me even if I want in some way to share. What I would really like to share, I keep discovering throughout my life, with subtle efforts here and there, is unwelcome as a general rule in this society. So I am speaking from experience.

The sad truth keeps coming to the surface: that everything in this society must be commodified and objectified so that it can be measured and valued in some way in order to be shared. And that is why selling art has become the grotesque distortion of what artists do as creative beings that it has. The other sad truth is that violence and violation of our very humanity is also part of a society that measures, compares, judges and makes with that rational process some things better than others ,and puts prices on those measurements. That is the structural outcome of a rational hierarchical organization and the abstraction of thought that goes with it.

Ranking as a verb (to rank) is working out of that structure, and transmitting it upon the world, as I see it. I remember first being measured with a bevy of tests in grade school and it was determined I was supposed to achieve certain things. Without that structure there would be no need to measure, evaluate, judge and rank at all.

I only ask for mutual respect. I ask not to be elevated because I've gone deeply into something and can share something other's haven't yet looked at. Just as I ask not to be denigrated and talked down to by some expert or designated authority. I am very sensitive to all the judging going on around me. It's a kind of raucous noise going on all the time. Raucous in that it's both impositional and unnecessary. Everything, commercials, television shows, radio talk shows, it's all made up of this teeth grating process of measurement and judgment that's so integral with ranking each other at some level. It makes me cringe and want to crawl into a hole and get away whenever I can. It's one of the reasons I spend so much time alone, I suppose. And that's part of my art of life too.

My very small local community of friends almost always end up at my home for evening events like movie nights, where we share food, talk and sometimes a movie. My home's a bit like an art gallery. My counters in my kitchen and bath are like sculptures. I've made them myself out of concrete and the forms are curved and very free form. I have art all over the walls. My shelves are hand made from wood. The place is still in the process of becoming. It probably will be until I die. I've never not done that with any home I've lived in. With this one I began with a tear down no one had been living in for several years, a hundred and some year old house that many people would have removed. Some people around me have removed theirs and replaced them with manufactured homes. To me it's like a crime's been committed. Mine's completely paid for, never had a mortgage. That's part of the art of living for me. It was rotting in some places, especially the support structures. You fix that or someday it falls down on you. It's all part of my art of living and that's how I share. I could go on to describe all parts of my life with all that.

Like I also have said. I like to write. Writing/thinking are not separate from each other. So if I say I sit back and just think thoughts that put me at peace, that includes writing. I have many things I sit back and think about that are also written while I'm sitting back. Written with no thought of sharing. In this society, sharing is sullied by the need for some sort of measured exchange value. How utterly crude to reduce it to that.

I have a pretty good idea of what's marketable in pop culture. Professors will tell you in the top MBA writing programs that you will need to learn to write formula fiction if you want to survive. My brother's partner is a literary agent. She confirms that. She would not make a living if writers didn't formulize their writing, especially once they've hit the jackpot, so to speak, with a novel. Many writers have hit a wall at that point, much to her frustration.

I have two different friends in the Bay Area that teach at two different art schools, and they each have courses to teach artists how to market their art. And artists take those courses. One of them has used her own marketing methods to get some of her art in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many other places.

It's not something I would do. But I don't judge what the need to survive in this society impels people to do with their art.

To your last question, the art communities welcome people like me, oddly enough. Most everybody in the community understands what we all are dealing with. That's also part of art.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote .ren:
Quote Zenzoe:

May I assume that if I were to interpret that comment to mean you don’t believe in doing art, unless there’s a possibility of selling it, that I would be wrong? Surely, you don’t believe that the end point of doing art has to be selling it. Or, more extremely, “selling one’s art confers legitimacy and validation on the art and artist,” as our culture teaches us to believe.

Well, at least you are telling me I'm not communicating very well. I would answer by saying it would be wrong if you were to interpret what I said to mean that. No, I do not mean that the end point of art should be selling it.

I consider my life itself to be an art form. I consider being at peace to be part of my art.

My statement was more an indictment of the system you go on to describe after your proposed assumption of what my words might be interpreted to mean.

All that was in my mind when those words came to me was a kind of awareness that if I write happy stories of the sort that bring me peace, nobody really wants to hear them.

I mean, intellectually I'm aware that an aspect of being a human being is to have a desire to share. So I'm acutely aware that the art I do is for me even if I want in some way to share. What I would really like to share, I keep discovering throughout my life, with subtle efforts here and there, is unwelcome as a general rule in this society. So I am speaking from experience.

The sad truth keeps coming to the surface: that everything in this society must be commodified and objectified so that it can be measured and valued in some way in order to be shared. And that is why selling art has become the grotesque distortion of what artists do as creative beings that it has. The other sad truth is that violence and violation of our very humanity is also part of a society that measures, compares, judges and makes with that rational process some things better than others ,and puts prices on those measurements. That is the structural outcome of a rational hierarchical organization and the abstraction of thought that goes with it.

Ranking as a verb (to rank) is working out of that structure, and transmitting it upon the world, as I see it. I remember first being measured with a bevy of tests in grade school and it was determined I was supposed to achieve certain things. Without that structure there would be no need to measure, evaluate, judge and rank at all.

I only ask for mutual respect. I ask not to be elevated because I've gone deeply into something and can share something other's haven't yet looked at. Just as I ask not to be denigrated and talked down to by some expert or designated authority. I am very sensitive to all the judging going on around me. It's a kind of raucous noise going on all the time. Raucous in that it's both impositional and unnecessary. Everything, commercials, television shows, radio talk shows, it's all made up of this teeth grating process of measurement and judgment that's so integral with ranking each other at some level. It makes me cringe and want to crawl into a hole and get away whenever I can. It's one of the reasons I spend so much time alone, I suppose. And that's part of my art of life too.

My very small local community of friends almost always end up at my home for evening events like movie nights, where we share food, talk and sometimes a movie. My home's a bit like an art gallery. My counters in my kitchen and bath are like sculptures. I've made them myself out of concrete and the forms are curved and very free form. I have art all over the walls. My shelves are hand made from wood. The place is still in the process of becoming. It probably will be until I die. I've never not done that with any home I've lived in. With this one I began with a tear down no one had been living in for several years, a hundred and some year old house that many people would have removed. Some people around me have removed theirs and replaced them with manufactured homes. To me it's like a crime's been committed. Mine's completely paid for, never had a mortgage. That's part of the art of living for me. It was rotting in some places, especially the support structures. You fix that or someday it falls down on you. It's all part of my art of living and that's how I share. I could go on to describe all parts of my life with all that.

Like I also have said. I like to write. Writing/thinking are not separate from each other. So if I say I sit back and just think thoughts that put me at peace, that includes writing. I have many things I sit back and think about that are also written while I'm sitting back. Written with no thought of sharing. In this society, sharing is sullied by the need for some sort of measured exchange value. How utterly crude to reduce it to that.

I have a pretty good idea of what's marketable in pop culture. Professors will tell you in the top MBA writing programs that you will need to learn to write formula fiction if you want to survive. My brother's partner is a literary agent. She confirms that. She would not make a living if writers didn't formulize their writing, especially once they've hit the jackpot, so to speak, with a novel. Many writers have hit a wall at that point, much to her frustration.

I have two different friends in the Bay Area that teach at two different art schools, and they each have courses to teach artists how to market their art. And artists take those courses. One of them has used her own marketing methods to get some of her art in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many other places.

It's not something I would do. But I don't judge what the need to survive in this society impels people to do with their art.

To your last question, the art communities welcome people like me, oddly enough. Most everybody in the community understands what we all are dealing with. That's also part of art.


Well, I suspected as much. ;-) Yes, it sounds like you’re living well, in peace with yourself, living your life with integrity and creativity, according to your good values.

When you say, “I consider my life itself to be an art form. I consider being at peace to be a part of my art,” I believe you. It has a specific meaning to you, and it’s yours. And I feel somewhat embarrassed to offer a response, revealing a take on the subject that might be judged as missing the point, or trivializing yours. It isn’t meant that way; it’s just what came to mind for me, that is, what follows next:

I don’t think I can consider my life itself an art form and maintain any integrity or truth in doing so. Perhaps I attach too grand a meaning to the term “art form,” imposing more responsibility for gravitas than it requires. I could decide that enough small things exist as art forms to allow the myriad small moments of my life to qualify as art. And yet, I tend to think living my life as an art form would place way more pressure on me to be an “artsy” character than I would want to maintain, let alone endure.

I admire people whose lives have artistic integrity, which yours seems to have, but my take on the subject allows me to feel no compunction to live my life in constant attentiveness to my identity as an artist (not that you have such a compunction). I remember the advice of one of my painting instructors to the whole class one day: “Never feel you have to play the role of the artist.” He then went on to list famous artists you could meet on the street and never realize they were artists, their dress and manners being so very conventional, even conservative-looking.

Not that I am accusing you of “playing the role!” Please, not at all. I’m just saying that for me “art form” or “artist” is but one aspect of identity. I like to let it go, forget it, just as I like to forget about my appearance, self-consciousness being so painful, so very damaging to my experience of the present.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Zenzoe #148

I imagine you'll find various folks playing the role of artist in cities where art sells. It seems more likely it will be part of the culture of social fragmentation and hierarchies that cities inspired, as Jane Jacobs was first to hypothesize in The Economy of Cities.

Quote Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times:

"The Economy of Cities is an astonishing book. It blows cobwebs from the mind, and challenges assumptions one hadn't even realized one had made. It should prove of major importance."

Jacobs was that rare kind of self-educated city planning genius who, because she wasn't formed by the confinement of instruction put forth as education in a city planning university department, took a different look at cities, and then turned the way the status quo thought about the origins of civilization -- with the invention of agriculture -- on its head. Many still haven't caught on to the genius of her disruption of that linear way of thinking, thus have not yet had the cobwebs blown from their minds.

Intricate minglings of different uses in cities are not a form of chaos. On the contrary, they represent a complex and highly developed form of order.” - Jane Jacobs

Within that highly developed form of order will be a wide variety of roles for humans to play in "order" to keep it all orderly, including roles of anti structure, an ongoing dance with the confinement of order and creativity. So we may see as part of that dance the Bush Administration creating corrals for the anti structuralist role players who were protesting the Iraq War, for instance. Corraling and containing would be the role of order-keeping that arises as hierarchies come to be, in "order" to keep the whole throbbing mass of a city from descending into chaos -- as we see with failing cities like Detroit -- ever working at keeping the forces of chaos and creativity in line. Another anti stucturalist role, no doubt, would be "the artist." Doers and players of art. Cartoons have given us a fair share of images of artists playing at being artists.

Quote James Baldwin:

We are very cruelly trapped between what we would like to be and what we actually are. And we cannot possibly become what we would like to be until we are willing to ask ourselves just why the lives we lead on this continent are mainly so empty, so tame, and so ugly.

This is a job for the creative artist—who does not really have much to do with mass culture, no matter how many of us may be interviewed on TV. Perhaps life is not the black, unutterably beautiful, mysterious, and lonely thing the creative artist tends to think of it as being; but it is certainly not the sunlit playpen in which so many Americans lose first their identities and then their minds.

Baldwin, James (2010-08-24). The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings (pp. 5-6). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

#146... Virunga. Looks to be a good additional context for this thread: "Showcasing the best and the worst in human nature, von Einsiedel’s “Virunga” wrenches a startlingly lucid narrative from a sickening web of bribery, corruption and violence." NEW YORK TIMES, CRITIC'S PICK

Garrett78, #142

Forgot to mention... thanks for the heads up: Plain Radical: Living, Loving and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully Paperback – October 13, 2015 by Robert Jensen (Author) I hope to see more of this (from the talk): Jensen on Baldwin:

"The task of a writer was 'to tell as much of the truth as one can bear and then a little more.'"

I actually remember reading that essay back when I was reading Baldwin almost as fast as he was writing: "As Much Truth As One Can Bear."

Here's the full context of that quote (my emphasis on those lines):

Quote James Baldwin:

It is useful, furthermore, to remember in the case of Hemingway that his reputation began to be unassailable at the very instant that his work began that decline from which it never recovered—at about the time of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hindsight allows us to say that this boyish and romantic and inflated book marks Hemingway’s abdication from the effort to understand the many-sided evil that is in the world. This is exactly the same thing as saying that he somehow gave up the effort to become a great novelist.

I myself believe that this is the effort every novelist must make, in spite of the fact that the odds are ludicrously against him, and that he can never, after all, know. In my mind, the effort to become a great novelist simply involves attempting to tell as much of the truth as one can bear, and then a little more. It is an effort which, by its very nature—remembering that men write the books, that time passes and energy flags, and safety beckons—is obviously doomed to failure. “Success” is an American word which cannot conceivably, unless it is defined in an extremely severe, ironical, and painful way, have any place in the vocabulary of any artist.

Baldwin, James (2010-08-24). The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings (p. 29). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Ren, just catching up— I meant to respond to this of yours: “...My counters in my kitchen and bath are like sculptures. I've made them myself out of concrete and the forms are curved and very free form. I have art all over the walls. My shelves are hand made from wood. The place is still in the process of becoming. It probably will be until I die...”

It brings to mind a few passages from a book I loved eons ago, The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard. For example, “...one must live to build one’s house, and not build one’s house to live in." That, the “mollusk’s motto,” seemed to me a lovely metaphor for us all. And then later in the book he writes, “We know perfectly well that to inhabit a shell we must be alone. By living this image, one knows that one has accepted solitude.

To live alone; there’s the great dream! The most lifeless, the most physically absurd image, such as that of living in a shell, can serve as origin of such a dream. For it is a dream that, in life’s moments of great sadness, is shared by everybody, both weak and strong, in revolt against the injustices of men and of fate.”

Also, this of yours from the same post: “The sad truth keeps coming to the surface: that everything in this society must be commodified and objectified so that it can be measured and valued in some way in order to be shared. And that is why selling art has become the grotesque distortion of what artists do as creative beings that it has. The other sad truth is that violence and violation of our very humanity is also part of a society that measures, compares, judges and makes with that rational process some things better than others ,and puts prices on those measurements. That is the structural outcome of a rational hierarchical organization and the abstraction of thought that goes with it.

I have struggled against that very imperative, the one that some of my relatives seem to have internalized, implying I have wasted my “talent” by being so “unambitious.” But I find peace in a reminder: Selling one’s art means nothing; look at Thomas Kinkade— would you prefer I be a master of kitsch and marketing like him? I certainly hope not.

I absolutely pity “artists” who work to compete in the marketplace, to please others rather than tell their truth —"as much as they can bear to tell, then more"— according to their personal sensibilities. I’ve posted the following quotation before, by one, well, “successful artist” I admire, but it’s worthy of a repeat:

Quote Ran Ortner:

Art is not a skill contest, nor an innovation contest. Art is an honesty contest. If we can be precisely who we are, in the most intimate and candid and courageous way, we will start to connect to the universal. Our job as artists is to become powerfully personal in our work, and if we touch the source, the most central wound, the deepest of wells, then we actually touch the universal. In the compression of the intensely personal, heat is generated, and at a certain point it becomes expansive. The work goes from the intimately personal to what’s personal to all of us. http://thesunmagazine.org/issues/438/water_water_everywhere

I’ll have to catch up on more later. Right now I have to go water my veggies, before the heat of the day gets to them. Yesterday and the day before they had to endure 100 degree heat, and today it's supposed to reach 93.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Random stuff: “The notion that someday nature could swallow whole something so colossal and concrete as a modern city doesn’t slide easily into our imaginations. The sheer titanic presence of a New York City resists efforts to picture it wasting away. The events of September 2001 showed only what human beings with explosive hardware can do, not crude processes like erosion or rot. The breathtaking, swift collapse of the World Trade Center towers suggested more to us about their attackers than about mortal vulnerabilities that could doom our entire infrastructure. And even that once-inconceivable calamity was confined to just a few buildings. Nevertheless, the time it would take nature to rid itself of what urbanity has wrought may be less than we might suspect.” —from The World Without Us by Alan Weisman.

In the meantime, until nature has its way with us and as globalization renders big cities into job deserts and “civilization” disappears, people make do. Apparently, an urban farming movement has sprouted all over Detroit, even while the city’s powers-that-be resist, siding with big over little, making life even more difficult for urbanites to thrive and develop independent of “the system.”

Quote occupy.com:
Why Is Michigan Trying to Derail Detroit's Urban Farming Movement?

Michiganders who raise chickens, goats and ​honey ​bees on their residential property have had their right to keep livestock stripped away by the state’s Agriculture and Rural Development Commission, which says they are not protected by the same laws as commercial farms. Urban parts of Michigan, particularly Detroit, have been enjoying a renaissance of small-scale farming in recent years. Much of it has been in the form of community farms, residents providing food for themselves, and small entrepreneurs who sell fresh eggs, dairy, honey, and produce to their neighbors, sometimes off the books.

Commission Chair Diane Hanson said that the state’s previous agricultural management rules were not suitable for livestock in urban and suburban areas.” Now, properties not zoned for agricultural use with 13 or more residences within an eighth of a mile or another residence within 250 feet may be required to cease keeping livestock if asked by local authorities…

http://www.occupy.com/article/why-michigan-trying-derail-detroits-urban-farming-movement

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

We Know How Far Trump Will Go - How Far Will Republicans Go?

Thom plus logo Colonel Vindman's testimony pretty much proves that Trump was trying to shake down Ukraine for information on Biden, and that the Republicans are doing everything they can to cover up this extortion attempt.
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