Thursday, August 31, 2006
I've been trying to reconcile this to myself....
I posted a little bit ago about the thing where the billionaires are buying boats, and brought it up with a fellow seminarian, who naturally challenged me on it. These billionaires, the ones with all of the economic power available to them, that could be put toward the common good, are not the enemy.
They are in effect a representative scapegoat for all of us who are getting by okay, or perhaps a little better, while others in the world suffer and starve. I may only be a thousandaire, but still I've got something.
In any case, my friend brought up the dead-on concept that a bunch of liberal care-for-the-poor types whining about and pointing at the rich isn't going to help them want to join our cause. But them joining us is necessary, if we're going to get anywhere without a whole bunch of blood.
And there I go again saying "them" joining "us." From a real perspective, if I say "We are going to do thus-and-such...", who does that "We" encompass? According to the roots of my theology, at the end of the day, that "We" has to encompass everyone. According to set theory, of course, there are always going to be ways to divide into "within the set" and "outside of the set," but the one universal set of everyone/everything riding on this big ol sphere, is a "We" that's incontrovertible.
So, given that, I still say that the resources "We" have been given to play with during our time here on Earth have been arrogated/unjustly claimed, and are being misappropriated, and those who should be governing, legislating, and enforcing are not up to the task.
Today, I was thinking about my policy of giving a buck to any of the spare-changers I come across and what other people might think of that. Lots of people would say that my money would be better spent given to a shelter or foodbank, and I don't disagree with that. But to those people who say "Oh, those bums aren't going to buy food or put it toward anything good - they're just going to spend it on cigarettes or alcohol," I wonder. I wonder if there's not a corresponding response one could give to those who say we need to make sure that the corporations (and their investors) are making good profits, so that they can help the economy and give their employees a paycheck. That response would be "Oh, those bums aren't going to spend it on healthcare benefits or decent wages for their factory workers - they're going to spend it on their boats." It hurts to say that, because I believe it to be true. I hear about our oil companies (and other corporations) with record profits, and the part of the "We" who compose the American elite class with their ever-widening income gap, which come as a result of government tax-breaks, subsidies, and no-bid contracts, and I see all the suffering people (and important elements of the commonwealth structure) that neither our government nor the corporations "We" make up are taking care of. I see that, and have to say that.
I don't want to be a part of that, and I think that's what keeps me going back to "Us" and "Them" thinking. "We" can only become a universal "Us" when that desire to make a "They" in our minds dissolves. That's hard work.
Did I ever mention the little bit about the defn of "Satan"? Yep, in some old book or another, someone said that Satan is the adversary of God. But then with all that wrestling betwen good and evil, etc, it gets a little difficult for some folk to sort out which is which. So in the interest of expedience (lest we stay trapped in the infinite loop of "You're the Great Satan." "No, YOU'RE the Great Satan," etc...) let's simply define Satan as The Adversary.
SATAN == THE ADVERSARY
Eliminate the "them." Satan disappears, or at the very least suffers a big ugly gash on the forehead, perhaps a mortally wounding one. The problem up until now is that people try to eliminate the "them" by means of actually eliminating those they consider as other, rather than eliminating the very concept of "them."
OK, enough of that fun, here's some Jesus Lizard lyrics for a different (and IMHO more fun) kind of fun.
Jesus and Mary Chain: Good for My Soul
Jesus Lizard: American BB
colors: blue and white
mood: sleepy? not really..
chant/prayer/mantra: tra la la
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Here is a picture of it:
music: Jane's Addiction - Ted, Just Admit It
colors: grey 1, grey 2, grey 3
chant/prayer/mantra: on the journey toward wholeness
Monday, August 28, 2006
On what information are people searching for?
Oh, also, the top court in a country in North America has approved a conservative leader, after the "left-leaning" candidates cried foul when the presidential election in that country was *very* close, and there were rumours of vote fraud.
Am I missing something, or is this becoming a habit?
music: R.E.M. Low
mood: la la
chant/prayer/mantra: unscatter the darkness in the light
Who is most likely to steal? CEO's
On the first post: "In the book 'Freakonomics' there is a study about a man who used to drop off muffin baskets with a box to put a dollar in for each muffin that was taken. He kept very precise statistics for years in different white-collar offices about where he put the basket, how much money went in and so forth. The results are basically that the lower down in the office rank someone is, the less likely they are to steal and the higher up, the more theft occurs with CEOs and other top-floor executives being by far the worst. They put it down to a sense of entitlement in the execs and the invisibility of the crime relative to stealing from a muffin shop amongst other reasons."
Another post: "there's a correlation between how much someone gets paid and how unlikely he is to return work items like phones, laptops and calculators upon quitting or retirement. (Note that I said correlation and not reverse correlation.) My theory is that scruples will hinder people's career advancement, and the more unscrupulous you are, the higher you'll go."
It reminds me of when I worked at the restaurants in college, and noticed that the dishwasher and the cooks worked the hardest, followed by waitstaff and then management. And naturally, the pay was inversely correlative. I found it odd then, and am wondering if I'm able to parse it any better now.
music: Teenage Riot, and Silver Rocket, by Sonic Youth
colors: grey, green, purple
chant/prayer/mantra: think "single-spirit theory"
this is kind of a variant off of a thing i call the single-particle theory, where there is a single particle/wave in the whole universe, and it basically weaves in and out of our n-dimensional space-time immersed in a space of at least n+1 dimensions. except, considering the ideas of process thought - where life is made up of events - perhaps those events are all woven into a universal wave by a single spirit one dimension beyond, and we're riding it. [shrug]
Saturday, August 19, 2006
A thing occurred to me yesterday while walking around San Francisco (it seems that most larger cities suffer from this condition of multimillionaires and homeless living on alternate blocks...).
There are three classes of people in the world.
1. The people who are truly suffering, without the basic needs of life, and are oppressed in ways that most people in classes 2 and 3 could not imagine.
2. The people who have a variety of maladies, ranging from medical conditions, to difficulties making ends meet, or not having a big enough TV to impress the neighbors. Always looking at ways to pull themselves a bit further out of entropy and better their life condition, but all in all, it's relatively bearable.
3. The people who are privileged enough so as to be able to be free from maladies/difficulties, and are focused on things other than relieving their condition. Certainly, health issues may happen to anyone, but these are the people who don't have to worry about their health insurance, or the like.
The link above is to a category of people who control the money, and what they are doing with it. This isn't just about a Saudi Prince, and it isn't just about boats. It's about the fact that that $500 million dollars is economic energy being steered toward self-satisfaction and not toward the betterment of society. It's also about the fact that upon reflective inspection from outside of the system, all money is ill-gotten in some way, since that money represents resources and human labor, and those resources and human labor are of the earth, but somebody decided they're for sale.
These people were disciplined enough to follow the rules of capitalism to the top of the heap, yes. But it also smells of the snowball effects of today's multinational corporatism, because being at the top means that there are a lot of other people lower down propping them up. It makes me think of Yertle the Turtle.
music: Meat Puppets - Up On the Sun
chant/prayer/mantra: share and share alike.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
as i was huffing and puffing biking while uphill to school today to help with some audio setup for podcasting, this one came on my little iriver. maybe it won't make you cry. maybe it will. for me, it did. but then again, i tend to get all emotional when i'm overexercising.
colors: silver-brown, and charcoal grey
chant/prayer/mantra: part the mud as eyelids open
oh, and for the angry types out there: "Shake your fists at the gates..."
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
colors: Black, charcoal black, and white
chant/prayer/mantra: stay true, pony boy.
Sunday, August 6, 2006
Who I'm really working for...
After the ceremony, and after dinner was done, my wife and I sat at one of the tables as the dancing began. The only ones who went out on the dance floor were the kids, which was kind of expected, in a way. About seven or eight kids, ages 3 to 8 ran around in circles, jumping up and down to the music, and nodding their heads to the music -- totally freeform. Their dancing was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in recent memory.
When I see the abhorrent things happening in and to the world, which for the sake of brevity in this post will go unnamed, I think about what these innocent angels are going to inherit. And I can't stand it. I work for them, and for their children, when they have them. And I work for the memories and dreams of those who came before us. In a way, I also work on behalf of my own generation's future, and in honor of the work that we've already done in our lives, but honestly, I hope this work goes on to be appreciated mostly by people who I won't ever be able to even meet, or barely dream of, because they're still forthcoming. This year, many of the people in my life are giving birth. I work for them. (Though at some point, I do mean to compile a list more comprehensive than "future generations"...)
Below are some of the words that I was fortunate enough to share at the wedding, at the request of the bride and groom:
As part of today's ceremony, [we] would like to include special recognition of a topic of current hot debate in this nation, and in Wisconsin – the right of all people to marry in sacred union, and to obtain the legal benefits of domestic partnerships.
A wedding is a special day for recognizing two hearts attracted to one another. That is the way that one Muslim imam described how love works, when asked to provide an Islamic view on homosexuality. I paraphrase here, but he put it something like "When two hearts are attracted to one another, the gender of their people is unimportant. Hearts don't recognize gender." If a Muslim leader from Morocco can recognize the nature of love and express it ever so eloquently, the people of the United States and Wisconsin would do well to open their ears to such a message. When our friends, family, and fellow citizens cry out about the injustice of denying marriage, or legal rights among partners of any gender, the compassion in us must call itself up so we can recognize suffering and injustice and act toward its swift resolution.
We pray that the hearts of all people will be made fit to honor those who raise their voices for justice and change. And that the world may learn a wider definition of love, in order that we may experience the strength and solidarity of community that can only happen when the circle is drawn to include everyone based on a celebration of our diversity. Amen.
After the ceremony, during dinner and the dance, several people came up to me and said they really appreciated what I had to say. Nobody said they didn't like it. I'm not naive enough to think that attendee was in agreement, but I do kind of wish someone would've wanted to exchange a meaningful dialog to get it out in the open.
Honestly though, I do get exhausted pondering the wide variety of beliefs that exist along the continuum known as Christianity. That anybody can come to the conclusion that Jesus' most important message was to make sure people different from 'us' should get less rights, and that their love should be rejected, is depressing, and is in fact an antithetical affront to all he stood for. "Love your neighbor" has to extend not only to next door, but to the next community, the next culture, and the next nation, and soon, or our existence on this sweet rock is doomed. I oughtta stop blogging and get to work!
music: Tool - 10,000 Days
colors: red, white, brown
mood: a bit more resolute than yesterday.
if you won't do it for me, then maybe at least for them?
(please note from the previous post that "me" can be plural)
song lyrics #2
On Friday, I spent a few hours in the studio with I, recording some preliminary vocals in their studio's isolation booth. That was an interesting experience, what with it being my first time. Now I have even more respect for vocalists who can sing 'a capella' and 'on key.' My voice was half-fckd because I've been having acid reflux this last week, and because I haven't been doing any practice singing, but we slogged through anyway with marginal success, and it was nice to hang out together. Some of the lyrics I brought in didn't even really have a melody, so I either tried to fake one or just read them to get some semblance of timing.
I don't remember the last time I posted any of my lyrics, but it's somewhere back, probably about 6-8 months. Here's more (I like where this song is headed, but unfortunately, this is the only verse so far):
I spent up all of my money on my favorite hobby.
Gonna get myself to the congress as a LOBBY of LOVE.
And touch myself to remind myself that I'm here in this body.
Touch you too to remind you that your body is me.
music: cloud cult
colors: turquoise, canary yellow, eggshell white
remember to LOVE the ones you love.