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

But not enough for everyone’s greed

  Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”   A prime example of this is the October, November, December California methane gas leak, courtesy of SoCal Gas. The 800,000 metric ton and counting methane leak could have been averted and abated, if the area had been cemented over, and the company gave up future prospects of monetizing the gushing methane lines. But instead, we’ve got another TEPCO on our hands. So greedy for money, and the possibility of recouping lost money on what remains of the leaked gas, that instead of doing what is socially and environmentally right, they are attempting a long-shot pipe repair process, which means extra months of leaking methane. Too big to fail, SoCal Gas is unwilling to cut their losses, let alone admit their mistake. This seems to be an endless refrain in big energy corporations, begging the question of why such behemoths should even be allowed to continue to exist, as they are neither ready nor eager for any sort of accountability to the larger political-ecological community of beings they must be beholden to. Such energy corporations, bloated with the self-importance our energy-dependent society has pumped them up with, operate above the law, with no public oversight or emergency plan for protecting public health when all else fails. Instead, our crises, from the BP oil spill to Fukushima’s TEPCO disaster, to the Exxon Valdez, are dealt with in the most hurried and embarrassed ad hoc manner. Such an approach, with no Plan B, leaves us with an impoverished ecology, and a dangerously untethered... read more

Yes, but what are they trading?

It has long been a dogma of global capitalism that trade is good, and more trade is better. But what is the substance of any proposed trade? This is the question that we need to be asking. Rather than zombieing out and letting our eyes glaze over as we pretend that trading periwinkles for cheese is the same as trading oil for nuclear weapons, it behooves us to be more discerning in regards to the actual goods being traded. The numbers game of money, which performs the pernicious trick of equating anything with anything else (slavery for diamonds, anyone?), has pulled the wool over our eyes regarding how we evaluate and regard trade. An example is the recent Kremlin talks between India’s Prime Minister Modi and Russia’s Putin. They wanted to increase trade. Sounds good, right? Well, here’s what it turns out they’re trading: “The two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defense, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.” If trade boils down to exchanging widgits which ultimately do not bring more equality, justice, happiness, contentment, and sustainability to both countries, perhaps we need to call it by a different name. Children trade card with each other, to play. Rural neighbors trade eggs for squash, milk for apples. All benefit, and this benefit comes from nourishment. Building more Bhopals, half-built radar stations, more Fukushima Daichi nuclear plants, or more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis–is not what I would call trade. I would call that evil. The impetus behind such trade made be wholesome notions like security, safety, energy independence, and wanting... read more

Consistency

When one watches Bernie Sanders reiterating the same story for the past 30+ years, and no one has listened, apparently, what makes it seem like things are going to change now? 30 Years of SpeechesWatch this amazing video that a talented volunteer put together showing 30 years of speeches. Posted by Bernie Sanders on Thursday, November 5, 2015 WE ARE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR WE ARE BEING THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD There is no Bernie Sanders –Icon. There is only people harnessing power around this man. Senator Sanders has bravely committed to act as a lightening rod for all of the projections and aspirations of a mad world. He has stood up for the oppressed, given voice to the voiceless, and strength to the weak. But it hasn’t been him at at, properly speaking, that has done this. It’s us. Senator Sanders didn’t just pop out of the woodwork, though if you asked me two years ago who he was, I couldn’t have told you off the top of my head. His message has been consistent; anti-imperialism, pro-student, pro-justice, pro-healthcare. Pretty run of the mill issues, and certainly things that 30 years ago still were part of the mainstream Republican Party package. But what has changed is the movement that has grown around Sanders. He has acted as a molecule around which rain can form, a mass that accretes stray matter so that a speck of dust can become a surging meteor. What has been lacking all this time was leverage and visibility. Let there be no mistake about it: WE rather than “THEY” or “HE”... read more

Don’t pretend I’m not paying attention

  Don’t pretend I’m not paying attention To every nuance of your visage Every micro-movement or furtive glance, Lustful yearnings for validation.   I understand all too well, Your strained exaggeration Your compulsion to please.   Please, take off your make-up. Relax that brow and pose. Reclaim connection to your body, Your authenticity, recompose.   No gesture but that which’s called, No expression but your core. And mastering presence with completeness, Open heart’s rusty door.   For, I hear every intrigue, every subterranean discomfort you deplore. And can feel your dishonesty spewing forth in every sip of sweat from your pores.   How I long to lap up your frailty! and replace it with oak pith. Caress my finger along your vulnerability, Soothing eternal throbbings of wound’s myth.   So lick me, with your bandas’ fire, Seduce me with fierce eyes, Surrender your self to my heaving chest, And wrap me in the innocence of your thighs.   For you know far better than to pretend and feign and guile. I can but only pray and attend that you untwist that sickly... read more

My Political Views

  My political views? I’m basically against anything that kills people or destroys the planet we live on. The problem is that many people, if they have some of their illegitimate privileges taken away (like the rich being taxed. or corporations being regulated ) FEEL as if they are being killed, even though they’re not. The lack of distinction or inability to discern between the actual and perceived threat of life is one of the gravest problems facing us today, and driving people, corporations, and governments into a preemptive berzerker mode killing everything around them because they are so over-threatened by everything that moves. This hair-triggered anxiety, paired with technological weapons, is a recipe for disaster. We need to be helping people to recoup their sense of boundaries, and recognize the difference between giving up toys, and mortal threat. Until we make this distinction between luxuries and needs, we are in for some serious trouble. Hyper-reactivity is a symptom of disease, in this case, of mental-illness. I remember the old film, The Corporation, created by the Canadian Broadcasting System back in 2003, which is still shown to high school students in Canada as an education in protecting yourself against corporate propaganda. One of the most chilling scenes is when the filmmakers check off a list of all of the qualities of a sociopath, and corporations fulfill–in a deadly way–every one of them to a T. We have come to believe that corporations, like Philip Morris (now Altria) or Exxon Mobile are people–which have indissoluble rights. I’m guessing if they could corporations would even try to be granted Human Rights, if it... read more

PetBOT. HumanBot.

  What does this video say? It says that we have turned humans into machines, so much so, that our only solace is those who we cannot be around. That it is okay to have animals pent up all day. That this is somehow acceptable. Animals are not like Tamaguchi toys. They need stimuli, otherwise they die. Virtual reality for animals is the next generation is estrangement from self. Do we really want to make everything virtual reality? Hothouses and growrooms are already virtual reality for plants. Chemical fertilizers, superstimuli. What are we doing? Are we aware that this is a sign of some deeper problem, or do we go about looking to cure symptoms? What sort of charade are we playing, exactly? How many people work long days, in jobs they don’t like, doing things they don’t feel are worthwhile, waiting to go home and be alone–save for the grace of a dependent animal that has been locked up against its will, desperate for social contact? A lot, I bet. What this mean, is that this invention is just catering to a broken system. It is triage for the doldrums. It’s training animals and humans to interact increasing with virtual interfaces, personifying technology, instead of connecting with the biochemical flesh of another intentional, breathing being. “Tell your pet that you love them or play some calming music to help with pet separation anxiety with PetBot’s speaker,” PetBot’s website instructs. This created co-dependency is only the result of forcible penting pets up in sterile boxes (called apartments) with no stimuli, no companions, no life to interact with at all.... read more

Analytics

philosophy departments are being colonized by analytics: “epistemology and metaphysics” through the power of transmutation, now apparently mean “analytic philosophy” Translating this for the non-philosophers, analytic philosophers spend their whole lives on the equivalent of the Scholastics’ question of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Not exactly what our withering world needs right... read more

Bernie

Bert and Ernie – Bernie   There is no question that Bernie Sanders is the only hope for the United States, and by extension, this crazy world of ours. For so long, the U.S. has been ravaged by rabid parasite-infested maniacs shooting schools, buying elections, emptying the public coffers, destabilizing regions, and attempting to control the bodies of women and people of color. But, does Senator Sanders stand a chance? There are several ways this question can be interpreted. First of all, does Sanders stand a chance vis-a-vis Hilary, the Democratic Party favorite? Likely not. It is thought that Hilary–an admittedly second-rate candidate who has flip-flopped more than John Kerry ever did–is the only way forward, the only plausible candidate. And thus, we should throw in the towel, be reasonable, and capitulate to our fate. In this view, Sanders never had a chance to begin with. And all who would say otherwise are simply engaged in wishful thinking. But, this perspective is deterministic, fails to understand all of the upsets, how Obama came out of nowhere in 2008–a rookie Chicago senator–to become the strongest personage in the Democratic Party (albeit, now, perhaps, reluctantly and regretfully). Second–does Sanders stand a chance against a Republican-led Congress? Or would he just be spinning his own wheels with little effectiveness? This approach assumes the status quo of Republican dominance, and fails to see that for any successful Democratic candidate to govern successfully, that Democrats must take back at least the Senate (which is the best possibility this time around, as Republicans apparently have a lock-down on the House in 2016, no matter how things... read more

between you and me

between me and you   i imagine a ball of energy and light like the blue-green earth dappled with etheral clouds played with care between the hands of gods and goddesses   without touching, we pass intention back and forth receiving and responding until we come to that dripping liquid condition where action without actors blooms   movement without mover the essence of creation siphoned through our surrender and release   the grace of seasons, of starlit space of suns and darkness pervades   for, where grace presides darkness loses its tart flavor succumbing to the eros of its protective cape   beyond being and not the dualistic knot loosens inhaling the mystery of opposites   as a dream of self without reason to fret about boundaries and purities because expansion encompasses and is encompassed like an intersecting rainbow   the torus shell itself existing parallel as above so as below inflates observation at every level until the levels disappear in one smooth current of flow   that is the offer I gift you, with a sigh and twinkle incessantly relaxing into the truths presented to myself   I nudge the ball in your direction anticipating fresh predilections to nourish and sate my thirsty body so yearning droolingly so for the soft touch of guidance in this hot cold world of insecurity   so pray tell without telling the future please, let us share this relaxation through maintaing our game of seperateness while at once breathing our delusional desire into a beautiful, rotating supple crystaline... read more

what is at stake

No Pipelines – Bear and Wolf Defenders  by Gord Hill, descendent of Kwakwaka’wakw, Tlingit, and Scottish peoples     we are the strength of everything our ancestors were fighting for our righteous action in the face of killing machines and possessed spirits preserves the land, air, and water of our... read more

Babies

I had this meditation over the last month, as I have been eager to start a family. But after spending time in nature, both in Berlin and California, I realized how dire our problems are ecologically, and what a supreme responsibility and tragedy it is to have children in this age of machines destroying the earth. Our earth is getting warmer, less hospitable. Food and water are becoming scarcer. There is less grace and abundance being sent our way, as we have raped and murdered nature’s creations relentlessly. Action and equal and opposite reaction. The laws of the universe. Only the arrogant ego (maya, illusion, ignorance) could ever think that he would be above the inexorable cycles and laws of creation, of our cosmos. Action and action in kind. Also, in my meditation, I realized that I thought I was ready to have a partner. I was so sure that finally I was mature enough, that I had put in “the work” and paid my dues spiritually, and that finally, miraculously, just because I had moved on to a new phase in my life professionally, that that automatically meant that I was also mature enough to start a family. And my meditation helped make me aware what a conceit that was; that I had been well-wishing and self-delusional. That I had not looked at those things that were really blocking me from enacting my visions, from realizing my dreams. I had not done the shadow work. And part of that shadow work helped me reexamine whether having kids at all is ethical in this day and age; let alone popping... read more

Leaving Apple

Dear computer geek friends: My macbook pro is on its last legs and its time for a new computer. I don’t want to support apple anymore because they are the biggest company in the world, valued at 1 trillion US, and their computers have a planned obsolescence of 3 years. Also, I’ve noticed that in the last 10 years, they have been doing everything they can to shut down sharing, making it difficult to share files except through their locked-down services. I say bollox to all of this. And yet, I need a computer that has Live (Abelton), is fast, portable and user friendly. Ubuntu (Linux) is what I’m leaning towards, but they don’t make Live or other music-making software I’m used to for Linux. That makes me shy away from it. Plus, I’ve heard that if you aren’t a programmer (which I’m not), it’s very hard to fix little bugs. I was thinking buying a chromebook or thinkpad and partitioning the hard drive linux windows (i would only use windows for music) but that seems very complex for me right now. Do I lose my Mac files? Can they be seamlessly converted? How can I evolve and go Ubuntu without losing all of my sunken costs in mac? Please... read more

#Divest

Divest towards a livable future   Stanford University. Norway. Who is next? This earth we inhabit has for 2 centuries had the great boon of coal to power its technological inventions to get us to where we are now. Colonialism 2.0 would never have been possible without it. Which is precisely why we need to get rid of it. Because those who mine coal, do so under duress, not because they enjoy being paid a pittance to destroy their local ecology. Divesting from fossil fuels is one of the most tangible ways to move the lever of power from subsidizing programs of power that benefit a minority at the expense of the majority and the earth. It’s sort of like that old bumpersticker: The same goes for fossil fuels. But, without being too Pollyannish about the future of divestment (which–may it continue until there is no more money in oil, fracking, and gas, and renewables carry the day (and night)), let us remember a flaw in their policy: The UN’s Sustainable Development policy in Rio, Brazil clearly stated in 1992: reduce, reuse, recycle. Hence the hanging question: where is the reduction in energy use on the horizon? With any energy ‘solution’ must come a German-style reduction policy, so that the states, citizens, and industries are using less resources, that appliances are increasingly (and obliged to be) efficient; that we learn to live more in cycles that resonate with the sun (thereby reducing the need of electricity), and find ourselves increasingly engaged in activities that do not require artificial power, and help steward and support those processes that autopoietically generate power.... read more

The Razor Edge of Discernment versus Wasting Time

A recent Onion Article adroitly recognizes how we’re literally filling up our precious braincells with Bullshit. Like Harry Frankfurt’s classic, On Bullshit, we suffer from a malaise that comes from being bombarded with Bros, charlatans, and other people who are deluded into taking the unimportant to be important. One of my general rules is, if it is being advertised, it is bullshit. If it needs glitter and sauce to make it palatable, it stinks and isn’t edible. Discernment is one of the virtues of every religion. Following the hummingbird – is my mantra. Be tuned in enough to know when something feels right and when it doesn’t. This in turn requires cultivating intuition, which one gets from hanging around people who are trusting, supportive, and aren’t lying to you. The more people are insecure or are lying to you, the more poisoned, confused, and misdirected your intuition becomes. Don’t buy the bullshit. Extricate yourself from unhealthy situations. Even (and especially) if its socially awkward, requires a lot of courage, or breaks mores and norms. You can do it. For the betterment of your own soul, and ultimately, for all of creation.  ... read more

from the chrysalis

Dear Universe,   In successfully moving from Berlin to Vienna, I also have my website back up online (finally!) with the help of a couple good friends (thanks René and Itom!). It has been a while — partially, because I have been busy focusing on my academic life, and partly because I was just taking a break. With the major hurdles behind me (enshallah), now I can balance my life again, giving due attention to my health, movement, play, music, and my other spiritual practices. Not that my more bookish work isn’t spiritual–in fact, I sincerely strive to make a meditation out of all of my duties and bring joy and insight to those things I most wish to share in service to the world. But sometimes, as those college admissions people say, one has to become “well-lopsided” rather than well-rounded, at least for phases. And I have just been in such a phase, and the cocoon is gently opening.   Liebe Grüße,... read more