Monthly Archives: July 2013
Happy High Summer!
Hey, all you loyal wegotthenumbers fans (a select crew, to be sure)! I haven’t posted much lately due to chronic low energy. I also like the idea of letting what I’ve already written speak for itself. I am thinking of you though, and hoping you’re enjoying as beautiful summer weather as I am…
I’ve also been involved with work on another blog about the TV show “Breaking Bad” (breakingbaddict.wordpress.com) that proves what I’ve been telling you all along: I’m human! I don’t spend all my time being spiritual or political or anything else…Besides, it’s my spiritual/political belief that finding joy and interest in the present and in the world around us is an important balance to concern about global problems.
I often listen to the NPR show, “Fresh Air,” and I take TV critic David Bianculli’s comments very seriously. That’s how I got turned on to “The Wire,” in my opinion the best TV show ever. It’s also how I discovered “Breaking Bad,” an equally dark (or even darker), if slightly less realistic, TV drama. You’ve probably heard of it, and perhaps declined to watch it after finding out that it’s about a high school chemistry teacher with stage 4 lung cancer who decides to cook meth to provide for his family’s future financial needs. A gritty subject, yes, but the writing, acting, and production are so incredibly good that I decided that subjecting myself to its violence was worth it. (This seems to be the cost of admission to good movies and TV more and more lately, which is too bad.)
I’ve been especially drawn to one of the characters on the show – the young former student/partner of the protagonist, who shows him the initial ropes of the meth trade, but is far surpassed by him in evil as the seasons progress. Character development (or disintegration) is what this show is all about.
I’m not trying to convince you to watch it – just sharing with you that I’m re-watching all the show’s previous seasons in preparation for the final eight episodes that start airing August 11th. There’s so much detail and depth to this show, I feel I need to do my homework to fully appreciate its ending. Since my memory’s so poor, I’ve been taking notes, and, hoping to find others to discuss the show with, have been posting them on my new blog. Only one visitor so far, but maybe things will pick up as the summer moves on. Robin Pierson of the TVCritic.org just mentioned my blog in his re-watch podcast, and I’m hoping that will generate some traffic.
I’ll be sad when the show ends, but glad, too, not to be so focused on a fictional, TV world – a violent one at that. I admit I often find fictional worlds, usually in novels, to be more compelling than the real one. Maybe that’s how much I need to escape its current social, political-economic, and spiritual dysfunctionality. I believe, spiritually, that “enlightenment” begins with acceptance-of-what-is, but my moments of that, except where my personal life is concerned, have been fleeting. I have much more practice with escaping from the real, global world, even though, ironically, the fictions I escape to and appreciate the most, often contain nearly as much pain and tragedy. And, sometimes, as I pointed out in an earlier blog, fictional characters and situations can point the way out, at least potentially – the reason why Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing and Ursula LeGuin’s Always Coming Home, set in practically the same physical place and not that far apart in time, are two of my favorite novels. This is also why I’ve always gravitated toward studying other cultures, especially those of hunter-gatherers, who live/lived, it seems to me, much more as we were designed to – as conscious animals, part of nature. This is why another one of my favorite novels, which some have mistaken for history, is Crazy Horse by Mari Sandoz, about the leader of such a people in its last days of freedom.
Now I’ve really gone from anti-hero to hero, the opposite of what Vince Gilligan, former “X-Files” writer and the creator and head writer of “Breaking Bad,” has famously said he’s tried to do: take his main character from protagonist to antagonist – “from Mr. Chips to Scarface.” All of these are human possibilities, which is what makes consciousness and conscious choice so necessary.
See ya on the flip-flop…
Here’s a post I wrote over a month ago, on June 11th, and then forgot to put up:
Hi, everybody! It’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post, I almost feel like I have to reintroduce myself and become reacquainted with you all over again.
Why the long hiatus? I just haven’t been inspired to “talk with” you about this crazy world we live in for a while. Maybe I needed a rest. I’m writing again today, because I still think it could all change, perhaps rather quickly, if enough of us wake up and start doing things differently. At the same time, possibly because some of us get discouraged about that ever happening, the current insanity can seem pretty intractable.
This week we have another wonderfully idealistic and principled, honest, and clear-eyed young man – Edward Snowden – joining Bradley Manning (currently on trial) in blowing the whistle on the American “security” system, part of the totalitarian “military-industrial complex” Eisenhower warned us about.
That was in “Ike”‘s final televised address from the Oval Office on January 17, 1961. In a farewell speech, Eisenhower described what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and warned, “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex.” He said that though “we recognize the imperative need for this development,” because of the “ruthless” and “insidious” enemy, the Soviet Union, “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Of course, Eisenhower was already part of that machine and that misplaced power, and, leaving public office, he may have felt guilty about it. Whatever he sincerely believed, the Soviet Union didn’t threaten the American people; it threatened the capitalist system and capitalist interests – the big banks, corporations, and financial interests that began running the show and starting wars at least as early as the 19th century, and that still runs it today, supposedly fighting “terrorism.” There’s always a bogeyman to frighten us into accepting these lies.
But did the system defend us against the Boston Marathon massacre? Has it prevented the killing of little children at school? Does it care about the unnecessary deaths of poor and middle-class people who can’t afford medical care, the veterans of its unnecessary wars, or those wars’ Iraqi, Afghan, and other “foreign” victims? No. And we shouldn’t be surprised at that, or waste our energy protesting it. The state will always exert power in the interests of the ruling class against other states and classes. And a “democratic” state will always lie. Everything our so-called leaders say isn’t bullshit, just 95% of it, which is why, as I’ve written in this blog, I think it’s a waste of time and energy to get invested in what they’re saying or doing, vote for them, at least on a national level, or expect the current national or global system to, ultimately, bring you and others much good.
I know that’s a hard pill to swallow, if you haven’t already done so. But do you want to operate in the real world or in a fairytale that will never come true? I don’t have an “answer,” if by that you mean a detailed program on how to make it all better. All I can say is that, like you, I believe in democracy, and I don’t think it’s possible in a state or capitalist system.
Can we create small-scale democratic communities without delegating power (that will be abused) to any one person or group? Yes; it’s called anarchism, though that word doesn’t have to be used, if you think it’ll scare people away. Read up on it, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Can we defend those communities against old-style undemocratic groups or still-existing states prepared to use force? That part could be tough. But if a critical mass wants this kind of democracy, equality, non-violence, and sharing of resources more than they want anything else, it could happen, at least for a time (long or short) in some places. When “enemies” threaten, the community can open itself to them, offering each individual a place at the table, as in Starhawk’s utopian novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing. Will that work? I don’t know; I just know that fighting so-called enemies in other ways can easily destroy the community by betraying its principles. Maybe you give hostile folks the chance to communicate, share, and join, and then, if they don’t take it, you defend yourself and your friends and family. Nothing is pre-set – you have to react to whatever comes up as best you can, based on what you believe in.
That’s it for today. Read my other posts and look into the resources on this website – they’re all created to help you deal with the “Help!” feeling you get when you see the craziness for what it is – the first time or whenever it gets you down. The people creating it and the people who believe in and support it aren’t evil enemies – they’re you and me at other stages of realization: ignorant, fearful, grasping at straws, thinking their choices are more limited than they are. That describes all of us, really.
We need to help each other whenever we can. You’re helping me by considering my thoughts, and I’m hoping to help you by sharing them. I’m not over here creating a brave new world while you live an ordinary life. I live an ordinary life, too. I don’t overwhelm myself with too much exposure to the “news,” I enjoy life as much as possible in spite of it all, and I neither expect nor rule out big changes (for good or ill) going forward.
I have a suspicion that if we go back and look at what was good/truly revolutionary in the Occupy movement and try to live it, we’ll be on the right track. Just a parting thought.