Suger-free aspartame. Sucralose.
Hypnotising pocket-device eyeball strain and squatty plumped people perved out on
extra-wide TV screens. Sodium nitrite and hydrogenated oil. Fudgee-Os that taste
like bland chemicals and pulp filler and nothing like fudge.
Hey kids! Did you know
that when I was your age Fudgee-Os tasted incredible? Like chocolate? They were fucking amazing. Sorry for the foul language but that is the precise truth. They tasted fucking amazing. If you
went back in time you’d be shocked. In the 1980’s I used to bang away on an
Underwood typewriter made in the sixties. It still worked perfect in the
nineties when I gave it away. Your great grand-parents used to care about
quality. They were a different breed of hominid.
We however, work longer
hours (and get paid for fewer) even though those hours are absurdly leveraged
by technology and resource-rape. We tilt the global imbalance of wealth to
absurd degrees. Our poor live like kings and our rich live an unnatural existence which makes a complete mockery of the human reality.
And how do we leverage
this hyper-excess of productivity? Not by making stuff better. By making stuff worse. The marketplace has become a theatrical battlefield where masked villains
peddle facades and screw each other over. Where does the over-productivity go? Into
the ground and into the skimmings. Over-manufacturing, planned obsolescence, dollar-store disposable versions of products that were once expected to last for years or decades. Massive food waste, military destruction... All of the fat skimmed to make the super-rich super-super-rich.
Capitalism must generate waste in order to perpetuate. It must because collectively, the working class
does not get paid enough for what they produce to afford to collectively buy what they produce. The new perversion of trade. The cream rises to the top.
Not by making things better.
By making things worse.
But it’s easy to imagine
that things are good. It’s easy to believe the pretty pictures on the
packaging when our minds are trained by obsolete survival instinct keying on reputation, not reality, to look at our experiences, not directly but rather through the eye of the other.
The Pando quaking aspen
colony is the heaviest known living organism on earth. Appearing above ground as
individual trees, they bear identical genes and gender (male), revealing a
single shared root system which is estimated at six million kilograms, and
buried so deep it is protected from threats such as wildfires. It has re-risen like a phoenix
and likely a great many times, for the Pando also rivals the oldest living organisms on earth. It is roughly
80,000 years old.
It has thought to have
not flowered (reproduced sexually) in the last 10,000 years or so but survived
strictly by cloning. That’s quite a dry spell. I suddenly don’t feel so bad.
It was their adventure;
their quest. A fine heartfelt bonding experience. A coming of age.
But as they finely
closed on the object of their macabre interest, the older boys descended on
them as older boys will do, to ruin everything for their own pointless, cheap,
cruel pleasure. For kicks. For the hell of it. Because they could.
But Gordie will not have
it. Not this time. He will defend their moment and most certainly pay dearly
for it later. He draws the sacred item; a real live GUN. And clenched in both
hands he raises it and targets the leader.
“What are you gonna do?”
Ace snickers. But his smile is nervous as he glances at his cohorts. “Shoot all
“No Ace,” says Gordie. And
Ace knows at once that he’s not bluffing: “Just you.”
--paraphrased from The Body by Stephen King, and film
adaptation Stand By Me (Columbia
Driving cars to all our
vital appointments and buying up what we want from the Big Buy stores which
line the horizon. Packaged flesh and new gadgets with the latest trinkets which
we have always needed and only miraculously survived without for the last
quarter million years. And the old trinkets magically disappear, melting into
their individual natural elements and seeping back into their proper niches in
the ripe Earth – we trust.
Working less hard while
garnishing more rewards we know the paradise is eternal, for we, the chosen
ones and our blessed daughters and sons.
I once served as my own one
and only critic, tearing away at my own understandings, looking for their
flaws, murdering my darlings. There was a time when I was able to find the flaws in my work. I seem now to have lost the knack for it – or else there none left to be found. Which statement is so, I do not know.
The glass tit, Stephen
King called it. Right away I knew what he was referring to. The box from which
we suck our toxic mental nutrition. The boob tube.
I didn't so much reject TV, back at the turn of the millennium, as fall out of the habit while more useful habits formed. The airwaves seemed nothing but idiocy at that time and I've yet to glean any clues that the boob realm has improved since then. Has it? "Do you watch the such-and-such show?" people ask. "I don't watch TV at all," I say, with pristine annunciation. And then, invariably, they delightedly try to tell me all about their favorite show while I silently search the sky, yearning to be kidnapped by aliens. It doesn't occur to people that if I have no time to waste watching TV then hearing about TV is presumably a bigger waste. I’m not
sure what’s more comical: sit-com dopes, pea-brained advertising, bubble-head blatherers of quasi-news? Does all this vapidity flatter us by setting such low intellectual bench-marks? As long as we’re at least a modicum brighter than the fools and
jesters of the screen?
It seems to me another
prime power in the structure of the matrix, goading us into the doldrums; dulling
and doping the sheep that we would more easily be led.
What is truth but any
damn thing heard which does not conflict with any damn thing we happened to
hear on a previous day, at least as far as our individual subjective accounting
is concerned? How blind are we willing to be in order to keep our task of
We call things true
because we see apparently logical connections between they and other things we
labelled true and because it suits our selfish interests to assume them true.
But the web of causality
is unfathomably massive; its threads everywhere; the flow of its threads so
often unapparent in their direction. Any picture you want can be imagined from
them, like ice cream castles in the clouds. Soft, dull, stunted thinking
summons any desired result.
In reality we know
nothing to be true except that which we have consistently experienced and that
which we have extrapolated from said experience with the purest and most
thorough application of logic and, above all, with the courage to accept the
most dire of possible outcomes. Integrity does not trump fear. Only those with
the strength to shed fears can know truth.
But such pristine
accounting does not happen here in a society that does not require truth, nor
regard it nor reward it. The games we are addicted to do not support the
pursuit of real truth nor leave us time for it so long as we are slave to the
A new couch, two buffets
and a hutch. Desks, tables, shelves and artwork. Televisions, stereos and other
appliances. I gave them away. Area rugs. Gave them away. Two dining room sets
and more furniture. Gave it all away.
crockery, boxes of stationery, music albums and boxes of who knows what. Boxes
under the bed, boxes in closets, boxes in the cubby hole, under the stairs.
Christmas wrap, decorations, party supplies. I shed it all, amazed at how good
it felt; like a thousand anchors severed so this ship can finally sail again.
I kept my bed and books
and comfy chair and select few works of art: not the priciest ones, not the
stuff elegantly framed; not the original oils. Just the images I most liked
looking at; the stuff that reminded me of the life I wanted. I kept enough
clothes, some mementos and gifts from loved ones.
To my neighbor I gave
the bamboo plant I had bought to serve as centrepiece for a dinner party, a
thing that afterwards, I had not expected to survive my neglect. And when I saw
it there in the neighbor’s window, front and centre among her many plants; this
ignored thing still living and now appreciated… well… it put a cheer in my
heart and a tear in my eye.
Societies. I only know this one. The modern western world. And more and more it feels like nothing but a big game. A recreation. A pretend life in the strange absence of a real one. The perils and prizes that drove our evolution for such an incredibly long time by our tiny point of view, are suddenly irrelevant. So a monopoly board suffices instead. A game of credits: reputation and money. Though just like the Joshua computer; the wargames simulator, the little wires in our head know no difference between game and reality.
So now that everyone’s
been inundated with talk of refugees, migrants and Syria and can’t bear another
moment of it, I will finally say a thing or two now that no one will be
listening, and I shall do so in the meagerest point-form fashion:
When I say I would prefer
that Canada give more help to them, this is not tantamount to saying I wish
them granted citizenship. I’m immediately thinking of safe harbor while the
matter of amnesty might perhaps be addressed more globally. I’m thinking of the
concept of foster parenting if you will, whether there is existing
functionality to serve such a concept or whether I am, in effect, proposing
that such might be created? Okay, obviously I haven’t thought this out! It is
simply an inclination that I wish help for these people!
I’ve been asked: do I
want to “let everyone in” to Canada?
1. Sure. I don’t care. I
don’t self-identify as Canadian and I don’t give a rat’s ass who does.
2. I don’t actually give
myself any credit whatsoever for making “Canada” what it is or for the
tremendous comforts, privileges and (dark-seeded) indulgences that it provides
us. I do not feel even remotely entitled to claim deserving of them (though I
do enjoy them!) while other peoples of the world are not. I can’t identify with
such a conceit or understand why, in the past, I surely did. I can’t recall
what rationalizations I once perpetrated. I only know it stemmed from the illusions
of our bestial tribalism.
I’m sick of foreigners coming in and stealing our jobs and using
up our welfare! I am told. Yeah. I don’t get that at all. The Canadian economy
is built on immigration. Immigration creates material needs which creates
jobs. And our immigration policies do very well, thank you very much, at
bringing in hordes of wealthy immigrants who take large portions of foreign
wealth out of their economies and into our economy for our benefit.
They have made a mess of their own country, I’m told. Why should we let them mess up ours, I’m
Well that’s very
interesting because blame is a very dicey and largely illusory concept, isn't it? Who are
“they”? My guess is that the ones who are fleeing for their lives are not as
responsible for “the mess” as those they are fleeing from. Isn’t that a fairly
safe assumption? As for our own innocence, are we not making a mess? No?
One could find himself
sitting in the dirt because he owns no chair, saying, “Fuck a duck, have I ever
made a mess of my life! My ass is in the dirt!” or one could find himself
sitting in a big comfy chair saying, “Ah! What comfort! I am a success! This is
no mess!” But if you did not earn that chair by working and paying for it
legitimately; if you stole that chair from Guido The Brain Basher and he knows
it, then who has made the bigger mess? If Guido is on his way to pull you out
of his chair and bash your brains in, then the sitter in the dirt is looking
like less of a mess-maker than you, don’t you think?
Guess which circumstance
I’m metaphorically assigning to Canada?
I think we’re thoroughly deluded.
I think that all of our economical and environmental practices are deeply
flawed – nay – criminally corrupt; entirely unsustainable. As a nation we’re totally
exploiting poorer countries and turning their labour into our wealth. That cannot
go on forever. That we’re exploiting our natural resources exponentially beyond
their rate of renewal is not even remotely debatable, even by the ruling
classes (those unnaturally rich and running government, media and corporations)
who constantly distract us from this insurmountable crisis in the making.
We sit around sucking
our thumbs, nodding our heads to a fantasy democracy totally controlled by a
few corporate-owned-and-operated parties who pretend to be diverse as long as
we are dumbbells and only listen to their scant differences; the li’l issue o’
the day, and don’t grasp that the world and the environment are rapidly
furiously changing in the eyes of global context. The real physical world is NOT conservative! To me, these parties are in
fact all monstrously conservative by any real point of view, and then we elect
the most conservative; the one most
dedicated to preserving our slave systems and the least in touch with global
reality. Have we not made a mess when in fact democracy means that the
government is accountable to the people and it is the people’s responsibility
to dismantle an ineffective or corrupt government and build anew? That is our
responsibility which is over and above the responsibility to vote. We imagine
that the media is enforcing some kind of accountability which is a farce. The
mainstream media only plays the watchdog role in the most superficial manners.
It never confronts the government in any way damaging to the institution! We “Canadians”
are beyond inept. The time for rebellion came a long time ago. We’re a bunch of
The threads that hold
our entire society together are incredibly fragile and completely
interdependent. When the systems start to fail, by god, they are all going down
and our society will melt down into complete chaos. And the primitive remains of
it will swiftly convert our tech-slave society into an overt slave society and this
will be a horror. People will be the new oil.
Of course it’s really
easy to deny all this when we’re sitting around in our comfy chairs with no
fears about Guido. None at all! And why should we? Because Guido ain’t coming
for us, after all! He’s coming for our grandchildren who we purport to love.
Could I be wrong? I
would love to think so. Maybe technology and resources will provide ever-deeper
opportunities for exploitation stretching beyond the Earth; our solar system;
the galaxy, etcetera, as required to sustain the ultimately-unsustainable human
slave paradigm well into the future. But I really doubt we’ll be able to make
that leap before the crash.
And if you’re in denial,
let me throw you a little hint. When the day comes that western governments start
saying, “Yeah, we need to repeal minimum-wage legislation – just as a temporary
measure – just to get the economy stimulated,” that will be the sign that
clinches it. That is when covert slavery has begun the irrevocable shift to
overt slavery. And the end will be nigh. If you’re still alive when that day
comes, you soon might wish you weren’t.
Strangely I feel no
dread or rage over any of this. To me it is all a logical forecast and perhaps
not a certainty. Where there is life there is hope, says Stephen Hawking. But
hope, without action is the greatest sin of all. Hope, without a plan is just dumb. And the only plans and action I see are by marginalized people who truly act out of love and not selfishness and who
are swiftly labelled by the powerful as radicals and eco-terrorists and such,
and we buy into these labels because we’re dull-minded ass-backwards
sheep who are just eager to hear that our lives are A-Okay! Baaaaaaahaaaaa!
Oh well. Perhaps we’ll
find the miracle that accelerates our stalled evolution (the functionality exists
I have reliably witnessed!) and another miracle with which to enlighten even
the power-mongers who hold all the cards. And armies. Meanwhile I live for
today, looking for ways to improve and be less a part of the problem and more a
part of the solution. That is something joyful and something we can all take part in.
1979, San Diego California: Sixteen-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer walked onto the
playground of Grover Cleveland Elementary School with a gun and opened fire. She
killed two adults and injured eight schoolchildren and a police officer.
When the media
report came jittering out of the telex machine at WRAS, the campus radio
station of Georgia State University, it was read by the Irish musician who’d
been sitting next to the machine, preparing for a radio interview.
journalists demanded of the killer: “Tell me why,” she would only respond: “I
don’t like Mondays. It livened up the day.”
How could there be a reason for something so senseless? the
musician thought. His imagination supplied the answer: Because a silicon chip
inside her head got switched to overload.
The airy flute, uplifting tone and sappy message in the chorus all sound so happy but, it’s a country
song, remember. So get into the verses and it’s just sad. The wrangler
protagonist has fallen hard for the woman who has anchored him too long at his
latest stop along the road (long enough for his boots to get old), but his
nature has finally won out and so he must break both their hearts and move on.
Oh well. What can you do? Men are dick-heads.
Peak: #14, Billboard Top 100.
This was by
far Toy Caldwell and The Marshall Tucker Band’s biggest hit. Toy’s brother,
Tommy Calwell, bassist for the band, passed away in 1980 at age 31. Toy, lead
guitarist and primary writer, died in 1993 at age 46.
I probably shouldn’t have posted the link to this trailer on likebook with the message, “Everyone needs to see this.”
I keep forgetting about the unwritten rules of likebook. The more wisdom, intelligence or relevance you dare try to slip into a likebook post, the more that likebookers' uncanny substance-detectors alarm and the faster everyone scatters for the exits. God forbid we attempt to engage there, in dialogue aimed at improving our lives in any truthful or noble sense.
Oh, but it’s perfectly fine to pretend at it of course. It’s perfectly fine to re-post inspiring quote-image decorations which sound noble and which we pretend to have consolidated for ourselves and found them without flaw. What the hell, right? As long as a sound byte stems from some unfamiliar source, it must be right. Right? As long as it doesn’t come from any of the losers we know (who must secretly be as dull and phony as we secretly just-maybe fear we might ourselves be) then it must be legitimate. After all, there is one reliable constant in the universe: Our personal friends and associates will never be smarter, wiser or happier than we are. And they will never know something important that we don’t know first. This is the law pronounced by the ego which controls us. The ego that is the centre of your universe. And all of this conceit will run smoothly for us as long as we never learn anything or believe that anyone you know has learned anything. And this way we can merrily proceed, head in the sand, toward our oblivion. Easy Peasy.
Now, if your own ego tells you that you are better than that, here’s one way to demonstrate it:
Watch Samsara. Not because it is an excellent movie among movies. Not because it is different. Not because an incredible amount of time and effort and impartiality went into it or because of the great investment in top-quality film or its astounding imagery. Not because I say so. Not because I am a film buff whose frame of reference covers more than 2000 titles.
Watch Samsara because it is an incredibly valuable tool if you actually have a mind that gives a damn about truth or knowledge or reality. If you have such a mind then this is a tool not easily replaced and if you take a pass on it, then you are forever less equipped to comment legitimately about the world you like to think you know.
It is not that these images will directly reveal things you didn’t know existed (well, maybe they will. In fact I might myself have been taken by surprise by a couple things). But it is your own mind that can reveal things to you when you look at things you know but from a different direction.
So many ills so many
suffer and so often. The sorrow, the loneliness, the perceived injury. The
jealousy and inferiority. Suppressed guilt and shadowy fears and on and on; a dreary
roster of insanity. They weave their webs through all our days and leave a
trail of suffering that is almost universally misunderstood. So accustomed to
it all, it only feels like living;
like the cost of doing business. But this living death is a tragedy born of
illusions. We cannot see the bigger pictures; the miracles of our brilliant
existence; our starring role in the great drama of the universe. We cannot
access the only truthful perspective; the global perspective from the narrow
channels, like foxholes, that we have dug for ourselves.
“We will pay the price
but we will not count the cost.”—Neil Peart
A lot of people tip their
hand; reveal perhaps, why they are single when they talk about their idea of
sharing their life with someone; "having someone special around," they say, "to make my big
moments more special."
For me to ever be lured
back into some permutation of couplehood, I would have to be so in love that my moments would play second fiddle to
those of the beloved. It seems like many of you are not looking for a companion
but for a witness.
“How doth the city sit
solitary that was once full of people.” Leviticus 1:1.
The poet Michael
Gaultieri pointed me toward this passage and it has haunted me greatly at those
times I have felt so utterly alone. I have stared out windows at alien
cityscapes, mystified. I have not adjusted well. Disinterest breeds silence
which is taken for concurrence and for all the good that does I might as
well be playing a mummer.
To be more assertive? Is
that the answer? Or am I spending time in the wrong places? Should I invite
further evolution instead? Perhaps further exploration
is more the right idea, which can be achieved, of course, in new places as well
as the familiar.