The fractal nature of fracture

My friend Isaac wrote: Only an unbound heart that is free of any “needing grasp” can truly be committed. Otherwise, the small fractures and subtle shackles will begin to decay the relationship/commitment.This idea has stuck with me. I have been exploring how and why I commit to things. If it comes from any place of lack, I see how it can start to distort and break apart. I responded: Meditation and self-reflection helps us not project onto others and make them responsible for our happiness. As we create the world, we create the world in our image. The question is: what is our image, and how can we refine it so that it is more beautiful, true, and good (for all)? I don’t think we ever get to perfection or completeness; it’s an iterative process. The deeper we dive, the more cracks and fissures we can identify and grist we have to work with that we didn’t even know existed. Going deeper, we uncover more and more, in an endless process. That’s why even in buddhahood there are various stages of buddhahood, the process goes on like a spiral,... read more

#TakeAction

The “wall” state of emergency bs, climate change, growing fascism all over the world. We are living truly in a time of either making a positive difference, or not. It’s an active choice. I give 10% of my income, for example, to environmental and environmental justice organizations; some people dedicate their lives to policy change, or creating more resilient mental health, or teaching people about non-violent diets. Everybody can find where they fit it, stretch a little more, and do their part. Some people don’t realize that we’re living in such a decisive moment in history, because empire does such a good insulating middle class and rich white people from the stark realities around the world. Rome and other empires always try to shield and distract the core from the violence and ravages of the peripheries. It’s old empire playbook stuff. The more we can pretend that there’s nothing wrong with climate change, with income inequality, etc., the more we can blithely and blindly keep consuming. It’s all part of the evil game, perpetrated by people who think that they are good people, even as their actions create hell on earth–when things could be otherwise. #TakeAction is part of working towards that... read more

Dutch Myths and Realities: “Kid Friendly”

Our family recently moved to the Netherlands. We love it here, for many reasons. But the stories of it being a kid-friendly paradise, the supposed “#1 place to raise your kids in the world,” turned out to be a myth. More hype than substance, in the last week, my partner and I have taken our son to two environmentally-conscious, forward thinking events, only to have people give us dirty looks, report us, and have their lackeys tell us that “this is not an event for children.” The first place we went, part of a hundred-year-old dutch society, De Groene Kring, which advertises itself as a meet-up “for sustainable thinkers and green doers,” turned out to be neither of those two things. Instead, perhaps they should rebrand themselves as De Zwarte Kring, a society “for predatory capitalists and shallow thinkers.” The place they met was in a smokey, black-walled windowless room, inside of a stuffy bar. I was told that the dutch Minister of the Environment was there–but I couldn’t comprehend how she would willingly subject herself to inhaling third-hand smoke. They apparently have a “no technology” policy (i.e., they don’t want people just chilling on their smartphones while people are presenting. Fair enough. The only thing wrong with it though, is that the presenters were giving powerpoints, using multiple computers and a projector, so the cognitive dissonance was running high. Our son, who is extremely well-behaved and mostly silent, was sucking back on some boob, when we got sneering glances from the two ladies in front of us, who snorted “hmpf!” and pulled their jackets tighter across their corpulent... read more

Giving Thanks 2018

Grateful this year to be living with my family in a new part of the world, and to my employers and colleagues who trust in me to be part of a team seriously combating ignorance, systematic denial, and the deathly status quo. Grateful to all my friends who are family who share in our peace, honey in the heart, and joy and laughter. Grateful to all of my spiritual teachers, especially those mundane ones who walk their talk. Grateful to having bought our first Holland Fiet yesterday, cruising around the Amsterdam canals. Grateful for simplicity and through that abundance. Grateful that my son will be able to grow up with a better social network that doesn’t steal and sell his data, but lets him have privacy over his own life sharings. Grateful for all of the people collectively turning the tide against fascism, environmental degradation, and the serial murder of mammals. Grateful to the technologies that allow our whip crack minds to connect, and even more grateful for those in-person heart vibration connections. Grateful to the cold air, the damp air, the trees shedding their leaves, and to those retaining them–each a lesson in surrender in their own ways. Grateful to my homeland of California, and to all the natives everywhere who have set me off on the path of becoming indigenous again. Thank you to the friends who have mirrored, shared their struggles, checked me at every turn, honing and refining my capacity for empathy and solidarity. Thank you for the easy lessons, and the hard. May all beings everywhere be free. May my heart always lean into... read more

Believing in one’s story until it collapses

My screed in the current Adbusters (ironically posted on Facebook while decrying Facebook) describes the difficulty of addressing a monolithic view of value, knowledge, and teleology. The ability for the successful to numb themselves to the fallout of their “progress” creates a vicious circle of moral and sensory blindness. In order not to act with compassion towards the environment and people destroyed because of your actions, especially those that make your life ever more plush and appearing “secure,” demands a tremendous amount of learned selective desensitization. It requires reprogramming the natural instinct of your cells and mirror neurons to feel empathy, reach out a hand, sigh, and lend some muscle and coin to repair a broken life. It requires hating oneself enough to treat strangers with contempt based on superficial differences. It requires inner fascism. Thus, the oppressors, are also the oppressed. But they are not oppressed by real material conditions exogenous to them as much as from the clutches of their own insatiable ego, ever defensive, ever vigilant, ever insecure. The call I make then, is to support with solidarity the evolution already underfoot: We need to shut the 10,000 Pandora’s boxes opened by technology, and doing that will require technologies. But those technologies must be different from the single, aggressive one we have. An indigenous science, a feminist science, a postcolonial science — all are needed for any hope of change. We need to go where scares us to know our courage. May we be humbled by the sublime, overwhelmed before the creations which created us. May we work in inner and outer service only towards the... read more

The best men’s pants I’ve ever made

I love comfort, style, and versatility so much that I decided that if the perfect pair of pants didn’t exist, I’d have to bring them into creation.   My current crowdsources campaign at BetaBrand to make these amazing pants needs your support! Please vote here for the creation of these industrial pinstripes, and get 30% off when they are made! Here’s a description of them. They look and feel even more awesome than this write-up can convey, so vote today! Roll-up Pinstripe Stretch-Jeans you can wear for days Versatile nonsynthetic men’s pants are hard to find. A pair that keeps you warm but you can still wear in summer. That falls just right on your boots but also work barefoot. Pants that look stylish at the office but possess the ruggedness for rock-climbing, skateboarding, or even just playing with your dog or kids. A pair you don’t mind wearing without underwear. Finally, Industrial Pinstripes. These pants are like your favorite pair of jeans, with a little more class and a lot more flair. They both look appropriate for a night out, and can be rolled up to look snappy when things get hot the next day. Black (with white) pinstripe (and brown with white) tough but soft strong cotton with 2-4% spandex for give, extra crotch room (a generous yoke), and a loose but flattering shape in the legs and butt, Industrial Pinstripes have gusseted knees, wrap around pockets in the back, 2 in the front (with coin pocket), and a smartphone pocket and tunnel hammer loop on the right thigh. It has silver rivets accenting the pockets, and a silver ring hanging... read more

Entering the realms of uncertainty

The Wisdom of Uncertainty is probably Alan Watts’ best-known book. In it, he describes the fundamental openness of the future, the horrible indeterminacy, and the lack of control that is indicative of our condition as embodied beings in this collective experience we call human life on planet earth. This embodiment, this consciousness, is a fragile, finite thing–despite the ramparts and buttresses especially western civilization has erected to attempt to dam(n) the inexorable flow of life and death. This fear of death, what Freud diagnosed as Thanatos, or the death instinct, is precisely what compels us towards our destruction. For the desire for death (thanatos) and the fear of death, are just the Janus faces of craving and aversion. That is, both instincts, are out of alignment with the fact of death itself. And of life, for that matter. Death and life are not events or limns to be fetishized, but respected. As we’re reaching a low for the human race, ecocide, renewed racism and sexism, there is hope. And there is despair. Resting in either of these is unwise, as they are both incomplete half-truths. The steps back with every step forward, are indicative of predators and parasites holding on to their host, believing that their stability and certainty is tied up with dominating others. There is no recognition that maybe they themselves also are fluid, queer beings, subject to change and metamorphosis. No, instead–and in fact what ontologically makes a parasite a parasite–they are blind to the potential to be anything else. They are scared of evolving. They are scared of readapting to a changed ecology. This is... read more

Technoptimism is Techonaivité

Believing in one’s story until it collapses is a common theme of those failing to live up to Eudaimonia, the notion of a life well-lived. Those whose lifework becomes discredited and desecrated in the twilight years of their life, no matter how successfully they were, or thought they were, cannot be said to have died happily. The Silicon Valley in which I live, a culture infused with the cocaine high of technological breakthroughs, grates against my earthly sensibilities. Riding on the crest of adrenaline, discovery, and money, what many in the fair Bay Area know, is not in fact what is. This temporary party-atmosphere, around until catastrophe hits, is the last hurrah of capitalism . Whether technology will trap us in a surveillance state, or liberate us from mediating political, economic, and social predators, dangles in the hands of deliberate planning and meta-organizing on the part of those developers. As users and citizens, we are all developers. Not knowing the implications of one’s discoveries is very different from saying that there aren’t any. The neoteny of tech bros and gals, and those few beyond and between, is part of the enforced juvenilization of tech “campuses” and a society that values brain plasticity over wisdom. After all, wisdom doesn’t sell. You can’t fake wisdom or put lipstick on a pig’s face with wisdom. No, but with new forms of glitz and glanz, mind control, and exploiting our dispositions as mammals, money is to be made! Thus, tech people are predisposed to think, act, and do as children do. They are rewarded to do so. But this has consequences for where... read more

Root Flute

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I had to give a shout out to my homie Dan and Divya. Dan, rootflute.com   is one helluva sound healer. He does it right. All C# tuning. My homie itom lab would get a kick out of that. As a Hang and handpan player, and general musician, I’ve shared my portion of sound healings, and participated in some awesome ones and some I have not been so stoked on. but Dan’s approach is uncanny. Everything is in tune. He understands the deep shamanic principles that are also scientific principles of theta brainwave trance states, and knows how to deliver. If you ever get a chance to do a sound healing with him, do it. I’m still reverberating.  ... read more

what meditation is

“There are many concentration excercises involving coordination of breathing and attention. Many pseudo-Zen cults teach people to count their breaths and call this zazen or meditation, but concentration without insight is dangerous in that it actually hardens the shell of the ego and concentrates psychological pollutants rather than removing them.” -Wang-sung in Kensho: Heart of Zen. p.... read more

the next 4 years

My predictions for the US in the next 4 years: Drug use will go up, both prescription drug use, and non-prescription drugs. Marijuana and coke, alcohol and numbing agents. There will be less jobs, not more. Jobs will just be redistributed to the hell-on-earth sectors, such as mining, lumber, oil and gas drilling, security. And there will be a loss of jobs in the health and human services sectors, in social work and welfare, in community organizing, in solar and wind,... read more

Enter The Chtulucene

“With public opinion on our side, we can do anything, without it nothing.” George Washington   A meme was circulating just days before the fateful Nov. 2016 election, discussing El0n Musk’s proclaimation that ‘We need a revolt against the fossil fuel industry.’ While quoted from May 2016, it had no less poignancy in November. The world stood at a precipice–American exceptionalism supporting shadow government interests, or transition to a new ecological and social dawn. It was clear early on that Clinton’s campaign had problems. Emails, minimized and dismissed. Here waffling and hawkishness. Her insider politics and lack of transparency in disclosing transcripts of speeches to Goldman Sachs and other financial tools. And all of this was dismissed as ancillary, not to her real stances on issues, but to the heralded historic moment of becoming the first US female president. It was “Her Turn,” a presumptive, privileged rich white woman haughtiness if ever there was one. She failed to connect with people in distress, with those who actually cared about their communities, their families, and their ecologies in disrepair. Her response to Flint was lackluster. Yet she was so overqualified, so went the script.   Instead, here’s a piece of speculative realism, that flips that good liberal’s script:   I don’t think anyone has a clue how devastating a Republican Whitehouse, Senate, and House, and Supreme Court is for the planet. No country left alive, after this doozy. And these aren’t your parents’ Republicans. They are alt-right neo-fascist GMO Republicans created in the Koch laboratory. They are ready for war, for ecological destruction, and for massive oligarchic rule. They feed... read more

More than just voting

Bill Nye, the science guy, has a new Al Jazeera call to environmental action.   This would be good, if he actually addressed some real issues, instead of having the moral of the story as “Go Vote!” I call weak sauce. The problem is that we think a technological deus ex machina is going to fix the problem. It’s not. We need to fundamentally change the very gears of government, both reduce the fat while making it far more effective and less beholden to the global executioners (i.e. oil companies, insurance companies, banking companies, agrobusiness, car companies, chemical manufactures, big data, etc.) and start nudging society in a virtuous rather than vicious direction. This requires not just voting, but organizing, running for office, recalling corrupt politicians, having much stricter laws for elected officials, demilitarizing the police, demilitarizing the military, getting rid of private militaries, paying teachers more than wallstreet hucksters, spending more on education and environment than the military and police. We do this by divesting our money from these companies, showing up to city council meetings, calling (not just liking or emailing) your representatives, spending your money more appropriately and tithing to worthy causes, using your car less, loving more, living in community rather than alone, simplifying your hipster life, living more sustainably and with the land, cultivating humility, and finding joy as an inside job. We also need to be growing more of our own food, spending less money on resources from afar overall, and praying and sending goodwill to the freedom fighters in this golden cage of... read more

Upcoming events: August

2 August Events: Somatic Partner Yoga @thecentersf August 18th and DJing ecstatic SF August 21   Somatic Partner Yoga Thursday, August 18 at 7 PM – 9:15 PM The Center SF 548 Fillmore St, San Francisco, California 94117 Most people think of yoga as a sedentary activity, performed in one’s own bubble. This workshop will defy those conventions, and get to the heart of yoga: the slow deep opening and releasing of old patterns of holding. This workshop will approach partner yoga and acrobatics through the slow warm-up process that enables the fascia to unwind. Working balance, flexibility and strength, we connect with ourselves, and then extend this anchored connection to work with other bodies, integrating elements of yoga, tai chi, meditation, thai massage, and acrobatics. No partner necessary. Bring a yoga mat! $20 in Advance $25 at the door About the teacher A certified yoga teacher and AcroYoga teacher since 2008, Yogi Prateado first fell in love with the art at Burningman 2006. After years of Capoiera training, AcroYoga was the perfect continuation of a dynamic partner physical artform, without the injuries. Prateado has taught and performed widely internationally at private events, acrobatic, yoga, and music festivals, at virtually every California music festival, as well as at weekend workshops and regular weekly classes. Prateado’s love for the adrenaline of acrobatics, combined with the alignment of yoga, and the salve of Thai massage keeps him returning to AcroYoga each time fresh – attentive to the needs and abilities of his current students.     Yogi Prateado (Ecstatic Dance Berlin) will be DJing Edance SF Sunday, August 21st, 2016   www.Edance.org/SF... read more

The Force of Nature that is Bernie Sanders

As much as I would like to gloat, this really isn’t about proving the NYTimes wrong, Facebook wrong, the Oil Companies wrong, or any of these other institutions that never thought that Bernie would have a chance to win. This is about giving us, and the planet, one last chance. The mainstream, tight-fistedly controlled newmedia never thought Sanders had a chance. The NYTimes writes today, Senator Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday, his sixth straight victory in the Democratic nominating contest and the latest in a string of setbacks for Mrs. Clinton as she seeks to put an end to a prolonged race against an unexpectedly deft and well-funded competitor. I can’t help but thinking that Secretary Clinton has no right to stipulate the beginning or end of a race that doesn’t involve her. Her existence–no matter how established she is–does not generate a coronation. She is one among competitors. And if she seeks to “put an end to a prolonged race,” then she should concede. Otherwise, she should polish her credentials, and increase her transparency. I have to hand it to Amy Chozick for at least running a Sanders story with a positive headline. That’s a first for the news agency, which sabotaged Steinhauer’s recent article on him which initially was positive, and then changed into a smear by editorial staff. What matters most, though, is not that Sanders is finally getting a little respect long overdue. No, Sanders is an important magnetizing force because the truth is, the policies that Cruz, Drumpf, and Clinton propose, will not lead to the deep, broad, and swift... read more

eliminate deadly “gun-free zones”

Gotta love the irony in “gun-free zones” being labeled as “deadly.” This is one of the best instances of doublespeak I’ve witnessed in sometime, and it deserves noting. The petition (by some unknown soldier) named the “Hyperationalist” (yes, that can be read as either “hyper-rationalist” if one adds an extra “r” or as it stands, “hype-rationalist”) started a www.change.org petition to “Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July.” Now, this petition is remarkably like a recent South Park episode where all problems in life are solved by simply giving everyone guns. It’s a libertarian wetdream, that could only occur in a cartoon world. Of course, the notion of the 2nd Amendment was that there shouldn’t be any necessarily trumping monopoly on violence that the state has over and above its citizens–the exact opposite of how the German father of sociology Max Weber defined the state. The state, for Weber is defined by its monopoly over the (legitimate) use of violence, and hence any other use of violence is illegal and punishable. Under this notion, having guns don’t do anything unless you are a suicide bomber, because if you have guns and use them for an illegitimate reason, and most reasons that most people imagine they have guns for may or may not be legitimate, then you will be prosecuted, and in many of the states where people are most attached to their deadly weapons, they have the death penalty. As South Park insinuated, the best way to have total clusterfuck would be to have a bunch of emotionally disturbed people gathered in one... read more

San Francisco’s push against cyclists

The violence wasn’t intentional. Like most violence, it was systemic. The drunken tech bros, dilapidated streets and increased dangerously lost tourists weren’t enough. San Francisco’s rare breed of velicopedes, the dinosaurs of what SF was before it turned the tech version of the Wolf of Wallstreet, now faced the encroachment of Uber overload as well. Don’t you get it? he screamed silently. The increased Amazon Prime orders, the Uber and Lyft rides, the drunks and drugged and vapids “needing” taxis (never mind the pudge, I’ll just narcissistically go to the gym and take a spinning class)–you thought that they wouldn’t be parking in bike lanes, endangering cyclists, scuttling “late” asswholes (sic) around to the detriment and endangerment of the rest of the nonquarentined lot, he replied with disgust. Doesn’t anybody see the problem? That the more bullshit you pile into a city, the more the commons shrink, until they are as negligible as a Castro man’s gstring during Pride? What shall become of our fair city, gone to the cokeheads and self-congratulatories? Is there any more long term thinkers in this fool’s... read more

Vectors of Consumption, Dreams of Soil

Every generation has its obsession. Legos for kids, Starbucks for Gen Xers. But not all obsessions are the same. Sure, obsessions with certain fetishized material goods as identifiers of social belonging are perhaps widespread across time and space, if not universals. But what these objects are, and their environmental and social impacts diverge drastically. To chalk up the latest fad to “it’s in our genes” explanations is to elide the fact that global tech culture may in fact be destroying the planet and all we hold dear. Paroxysms of enthusiasm for tech is by no means universal, but a symptom of cosmopolitan culture. What type of culture is cosmopolitan culture, looking down on the rest of the world from 30 stories? It is a classic North v. South fallacy of universalizing the local, the temporally circumscribed, and the indulgences of rich, morally self-satisfied countries and the media-entranced denizens that inhabit them. For, make no mistake about it: the widgets on offer by global capitalism currently are pay-to-play. There is no hunting skill involved, no luck of serendipity. Instead of trading cowry shells, the currency of tech has a long, long shadow–environmentally and socially. We are not the world. This should be the mantra of every overweight kid indoctrinated by virtual reality and X Box compulsion; every CEO and upstart start-up topsy-turvy progressivist who sees nothing but the myopia of angel investors’ capital; every stay-at-home dad and too-busy-to-care mom; every rosy-cheeked college student relieved to fit in. Our gadgetry, on which I write this morbid post, is an indulgence, and like all indulgences, comes with Corporate Social Responsibility guarantees and... read more

Where are the Democrats?

On the eve of the biggest decision-making point of my lifetime, I ask, where are the Democrats? It’s not as if it is just anomalous that I recognize the tipping point — for transformative harmony or zobified enslavement — that our current era presents. The next election will cauterize a vision for the future of this planet for years to come. Perhaps for the rest of humanity’s time here on this planet. I think we’re all savvy to this. That’s why Koch and Co. are splooging gazillions of dollars into their usual disinformation campaigns for the circus de Republicanos. Long live greed, ignobility, fascism! they cry out. Long live a two-tiered world of the haves and the have nots, of the organic and GMO, of energy control and energy hungry. Artificial dependency, may ye reign for ever more! herald their calls. And yet, this leaves me asking: Where are the Democrats? Maybe Democrats don’t even really exist anymore. Maybe a “liberal” might just as well just be a Republican, the way so-called liberals or Democrats are behaving these days, with the anti-democratic Democratic National Committee (DNC) parceling out their votes and favor to the establishment candidate instead of actually supporting the democratic process. God forbid that the people should speak and want something different than the Lords and Ladies presiding over the Mardi gras show. What then? But the true blue democrats, the Kennedys and the Carters, the rich supporters, Hollywood; Silicon Valley, Harvard–where is there money? Their influence? Why on this good green earth are they not stepping up and making the difference that washes away the confusion... read more