Sunday, September 21, 2003

I think this is a very important paper:
from Aletheia Forum: "Going Beyond Good and Evil"
My basic premise, in sync with "discourse ethics", is that there are two basic modes of being with others: in one, the aim is to project and solidify one's conceptualization, with others' collaboration or without (collaboration indicates something like joint interest and gives rise to "in-group / out-group" dynamics) while, in the other, the ongoing project of reality testing and inquisitiveness gives rise to an authentic interest in and appreciation of the other's sense of reality. This essay puts the emphasis somewhat differently, but I've found no substantial contradiction.
"... Hannah Arendt once described totalitarianism as an "experiment against reality" that grew out of a society in which people thought "that everything was possible and nothing was true." In this, Arendt described more than just totalitarianism, accurately portraying a wide array of 19th and 20th Century movements loosely held together with the term postmodern. In fact, others have pointed out that it is in the undercutting of reality that "the deep affinity, the holding hands under the table," between postmodern intellectuals and totalitarian regimes becomes apparent. But, experimenting against reality, replacing "Life" with an illusion, is a dangerous thing to do. G.K. Chesterton said that men "who cannot believe their senses . . . are . . . insane, but their insanity is proved not by any error in their argument, but by the manifest mistake of their whole lives." As was his style, Chesterton put his finger on the essence of the thing -- men ignore reality at their own peril.
Citing the German scholar Ernst Robert Curtius in his introductory essay, Kimball notes that the basic tenet of Western tradition is that "know[ing] owes a perpetual debt to reality." Or, as Kimball puts it: "It is reality that speaks to us, not we who lecture it." It is this premise-that the pursuit of knowledge has an Object-upon which "the preservation of Western culture" rests. Western thought has, for centuries, striven to the standard of "judging 'according to right reason,' in Aristotle's famous formula." Moreover, it has traditionally been understood that the habit of judging according to right reason is a matter of both character and intelligence. It exists within the balance between an understanding of man as noble, yet fallen; capable, yet finite. While "[s]aying yes to the truth involve[s] ascent as much as assent"; saying no involves both the refusal of assent that comes with hubris and the refusal of ascent that comes with cowardice. True knowing, right reason, requires both a certain kind of thought and a certain kind of life. Therefore, "culture is in some deep sense inseparable from conduct." To follow Aristotle into the real world has always been both humbling and strenuous."
[emphasis added; see my "CityZen.]

Monday, September 15, 2003

A Community of Attention - Green Gulch Farm, a Zen Buddhist community and retreat center, embodies a deeply ecological and humane way of life.

"Communitas, communis - the Latin root for "community" means common or what is held in common, shared by many. At Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center, where I lived for three years, what is held in common is the place, the time together, and the teachings of Zen Buddhism. The community is mutually created by those who stay in this place for a period of time, whether for a few hundred years (as a redwood might) or a single day.
The focus of Zen practice is to develop attention or mindfulness in relation to all beings and all activity. Over and over again we ask: Where am I? What am I doing right now? What is guiding my actions? Most of our decisions reflect personal preferences and an orientation to ourselves as enduring entities. Buddhist practice, however, is the constant stripping away of false references to the self to reveal the larger patterns of interconnection and interdependence. One finds one's bearings through temporal and spatial reference points beyond the false sense of self. Thus the schedule and the landscape provide the structure of both community and practice.
A Zen practice center is distinct from other country retreat spots because of the shared intention to practice certain guidelines and teachings. Here community is sustained not just by external spatial and temporal reference points, but by cultivation of internal reference points for choices of action. The central Buddhist teachings naturally encourage an ecological awareness and thus serve as ethical criteria for community practices. "An ethical life is one that is mindful, mannerly, and has style." In Soto Zen tradition, the emphasis is very much on ethical or mindful acts in everyday practice. The simple, repetitive acts of eating, breathing, walking, and greeting others become opportunities for deepening a sense of interdependence and community. Each moment in place reflects myriad causes and conditions that all contribute to the particular experience of community at that instant for that person.
This being, that becomes;
   from the arising of this, that arises;
This not being, that becomes not;
   from the ceasing of this, that ceases.
see also The Joy of Community; an interview with M. Scott Peck - "Do organizations ever need to be ''exorcised''? The author of The Different Drum and The Road Less Traveled says yes - and that a ''technology of community'' could become the heart of a new global culture." From In Context Quarterly #29.
(Back issues and "Guides to global trends, challenges, and opportunities")

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Freakin' cosmic coincidence!
On a whim, to find out if the domain is free, I type into the location and find myself looking at this:

And the site's creator, this other "ben" (complete with l/c "b", like your's truly), writes the following with regards his "ethical projects":
"My ethical project is to be in the room to offer the alternative when the powers that be make the decision. That is all.

Now... what does that ridiculous statement mean? What force of belief does it have behind it? What will that "alternative view" look like?

Here are some random thoughts. Think of them as tiles creating a metaphorical mosaic of my ethical project.

On the whole my politics rather closely mirror that of the early American Jeffersonian thinkers.

I favor decentralization of power and direct democracy, when practical. I favor individualism over collectivism. I favor institutions that create opportunity for success and failure, as each is as important as the other. I believe decisions are made by those who show up.

I think creativity, ingenuity, and hard work should be rewarded and greed, mobaucracy, and mediocrity should be discouraged. I fear equally the oppression of the state, the private sector, and the mob. I favor progress over sustainability. I think it is more likely that we will colonize other planets than live sustainable on this one. I fear those who destroy out of laziness and greed.

I find organized religion to be a lie. I despise liars. I think there is nothing more dangerous and simultaneously more rewarding than the collective experience. I think playing baseball on artificial turf is just plain wrong. I find enforcing equality is merely a polite way of oppressing the spirit and tyrannizing the mind. I believe the act of creating by using resources to better the human condition is the most noble of all acts. I believe the hording or amassing is the most depraved of all acts. I believe in nobility and degeneracy.

I believe their will always be tyrants, despots, and thieves. And I believe they will always fail. I fear politicians with clean records, doctors who won't look you in the eye, and environmentalists that can't grow their own food. I think as long as we produce enough food, everyone should have enough to eat. I believe that knowledge will forever govern ignorance so we should study more than we do. I think humanity's greatest act to date is leaving this Earth for the moon. I feel our most destitute act is war. I believe in greatness and in destitution.

I believe in leaders. I believe in the ability for a man to rise above his circumstances and take us with him. I believe in frauds who stand on the shoulders of giants just long enough to fool us. I feel that all the thinking in the world won't plow a single field and all the plowing in the world won't quiet a single mind. I think the cosmic religious pursuit is the finest of all human instincts. I believe the human notion of morality is both a curse and blessing. I fear bullies, braggarts, and the overly ambitious.

I have always enjoyed Franklin's statement, "In all my born days, I have never heard of a good war or a bad peace..." but not as much as Patrick

Henry's, "Is life so dear or peace so sweat as to be purchased by the price of chains and slavery. For give me God for I know not what course others may take. But as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

Most of all, I think I would have enjoyed being a carpenter, but I'm quite sure I would have been a poor one.

If we let things get to us ... the being made to look foolish, the petty abuses and trivial exploitations ... we're likely to be spiteful in little things.

Here's what's on my mind: after having attended this study intensive with Prof. Herbert Guenther at Gampo Abbey (google is our friend, yes? *grin*) I came away with a very different appreciation of the 1st precept, "Do not kill". In depth, at a vajrayana level, this becomes something like, "Do not aggress against the life force."
If we are even minimally resentful or spiteful in our mundane activities, we sabotage little things ... but those little things aren't just the tendrils of the social (like a plant's rootlets), they're also the branches of synchronicity ... very subtle stuff, and very powerful ... but fragile, biological.

On responding to intuition; something I wrote for CityZen:
What Goes 'Round Comes 'Round ("Salience")
That little urge, the slight impetus, the idea of responding, that premonition of activity ... that's the fact of co-emergence and interdependent awareness: your world and you have signaled that your conscious intervention is being sought by something.
By what? For what, and with what reason? The "just-so" of what you do next is your contribution to the world. You'll encounter a certain internal resistance, a whole lot of tension or a vague reluctance ... the just-so of what you experience is the fact of your encountering your karma. Will you adjust your action in a principled manner? Will you just shrug it off?
Will you explore the obstacles? Will you be inquisitive about your internal process and the external dynamics that affect you so personally?
_Willing_ ... to be willing to respond, to be willingly present to the situation, to excercise will-power ... or not. If you've felt what the in-spiration of situation, then something has come 'round to you; what you make go 'round is up to you ... will you?

Friday, September 12, 2003

There are so many things we can't do ... and so many of the things we can do are just little.
What can we say of those who don't even do the little they can?
"In democratic communities,
knowledge of how to combine
is the mother of all other forms of knowledge;
on its progress depends that of all others."

                 Alexis de Tocqueville

ask me about it

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Nuclear family, privacy, neurosis, isolation, self-loathing, consumption ...
If we came together in small groups to live and collaborate (like we're built to), that'd crack the oligarchs' armour.

What's the first product of this perverse need for nuclear families? Palaces for the oligarchs and the priests ... and then castles.

What's the primary product of nuclear family-style housing? Isolation and loneliness ... the antidote to which is /consumption/.

If anybody has opinions concerning communalism, let me know ... just visit CityZen.
(If you're in Canada, I can start working with you as early as October 1.)

A reader of LiveJournal Threads of Change replied:
> But what stops the power-hungry from 'conquering' these
> small, defenseless collaborative tribes?

The first thought is invincability?!

I was talking about the pleasure of collaboration, and friendship, and sustainability

The terror we've taken in to ourselves, that's definitly part of the problem, and thoughts of conquer or be conquered are likely to undermine any sane and healthy alternatives. (Nothing like notions of absolute security to give rise to more conflict!)

Another (kytty) had commented on the reply:
> How is it any safer to be separated still further into
> nuclear families?

There really is something to the thought that "preception is reality"; having been raised in a situation that's empoverished socially, I'm likely to see people as being in one of two groups: those who are trying to conquer me, and those who are there for me to conquer. That's basically unworkable, but if I withdraw from the community and create my own space ("A man's home is his castle"!) then I can get an impression of being lord and master ... safely distanced from those who should really be and, for most of our history, have really been as though members of my extended family.
When a thirsty person starts drinking salt water, they end up thirstier and wanting to drink more ... it's madness. IMHO "splendid isolation" is like that.

Kytty replied again:
> Yeah, a stratified mentality leads to brutality for the sake
> of maintaining or gaining status in the system, but a
> cooperative mentality leads to a sense of satisfaction in > having supported the self by supporting the "other"
> since all are viewed as a cooperative whole.
> Conversely, hurting the "other" is the same as hurting
> the self in a cooperative mentality.

I think knee-jerk "to be conquered / trying to conquer me" think is a sadly reduced version of very normal mammalian rank relations ... who's in charge?
IMHO socialization is learning the traditional methods for working with this stuff ... like listening more than talking, like not bragging about one's advantages ... how to get along with others. (Would a nation of people who were really, truly, actually /nice/ be a global bully? I can't but help that foreign policy of what some feel deeply and what most of the rest are willing to put up with as "normal", or even inevitable.)

You're right about that satisfaction ... I'd like to think that most everyone has an experience of having "done good" ... that inexplicable flush of, ummmm, feeling well!
Who would chose acquisition of material goods by over-work rather than feeling good, and well, by co-operation. But the fact is, pessimism is like the drop of ink in a vase of otherwise clear water. (I think we can deal with concern and worry easily enough, but fear that pessimism concerning human nature has become epidemic ... the stuff of self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Hurting the other" is similarly subtle: I bet we all have the sour experience of having been hurtful, and the edgy neurotic twitchiness that comes with cobbling together some BS set of excuses.
Imagine this: a situation where I could lose it, acknowledge that, and be greeted with appreciation for my honesty and frankness!! In that sort of situation, we'd end up talking about fear, and wounds, and pride ... about how we share our humanity. Oh my, talk about the stuff of sanity and well-being ... and who would dare say we are /not/ capable of such wholesome behaviour, except someone who is intent on proving a wicked lie about our species?

View the discussion
See what happenes when a pro tech_docs type gets busy?! (Gawwwd! I'm on a roll!!)

Again, from EcoMagic: "Beyond Illusion: An Ecological Approach to Value"

What I'd call a "five-step sequence for eco-awareness" ... closely related to my "4 steps for linking back to authentic presence" (which I'd be developing if I had secure lodging).

"(1) become more aware of how we are being and what we are doing; (2) imagine alternatives; (3) critically evaluate consequences of our current ways and of other possibilities before us; (4) choose what we prefer; (5) cultivate the being we intend. Near the outset, participants may respond in writing to questions formulated to elicit some of the basic ideas from which each of us generates a self and a way of living. With this writing we establish benchmarks against which to measure change."

see also: EcoMagic Programs, and the 1 Meg PDF "Live in Community? Can We Afford Not To?"
Survival & Love from EcoMagic
(a small piece of a long essay)

Old Ideals for New Realities
"For centuries, there have been those who devote attention to philosophical, religious, or mystical contemplation aimed at extending human experience beyond the sensate, material realm of everyday life. Some such people, termed moral philosophers, undertake a search for the "good". In their explorations, they inevitably consider the positive and negative qualities of various attitudes and behaviors towards other people, and frequently they speculate on the nature of loving. Within both the secular and religious philosophical traditions of East and West, are exultations of a loving "oneness" tantamount to complete identity of self and others. Both Christ and Buddha taught such loving as a path to personal realization, happiness, and enlightenment.

The seeming incompatibility of such a sense of self with the day-to-day behaviors by which some of us cling to luxuries while allowing others to perish has long been a source of conflict for thinking people. How often do the actions which promote our own welfare and those which protect and nourish others seem to lie on divergent paths? The compartmentalization of charity is evidence of our failure to reconcile these two goals. Despite the proliferation of service organizations, most of us continue to devote the majority of our life and other resources to insuring our own survival, admitting and even touting our gains at the expense of others.


Failure of Narrow Self-Interest
The actions by which we express fear are often the same as those by which we elicit it from others. They range from design and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction to isolated murders, from buying food away from the lands of the starving to burning gasoline for pleasure trips while the peasants of the Himalayan foothills deforest a subcontinent in search of cooking fuel. So long as we persist in our collective failure to make the security of all the goal of all, can any of us escape fear or find enlightenment?

By devoting resources to maintaining unequal access to satisfaction and survival, we reduce the amount of need-fulfilling goods and services which we collectively share. By our refusal to live as equals, we unnecessarily deplete all that can satisfy our needs. With our stubborn persistence in old ways we waste human life, land, minerals, and energy. Those of us who insist that we are entitled to something more than 1/nth of the world's resources (where n is the world population) are left to enforce our claim with threat and violence.

Survival and Love
Some ask, "Can humans be different?" North Americans have long recognized the common interest in providing through government for the basic needs of the indigent. Private groups like corporations, unions, mutual insurance companies, and cooperatives may offer even more comprehensive benefits to members limited in capacity by illness, injury, or old age. Some families, communal groups, and monastic orders extend such protection to its practical limit, sharing resources on the basis of need and contributing to group welfare on the basis of ability. In this they are much like a number of non-Western, non-industrialized cultures which have existed in the past and endure in remote areas even today."
"Explorations in Common Sense and Common Nonsense"

Check out some of his "Bumper Sticker Statements":
What you get is more than what you see
Don't bite my finger, look where I am pointing
People don't want to be evil
People don't want to be neurotic
Reason and emotion aren't opposites
Reason isn't superior to emotion

HTML version of chapter 9 - "Therapy, for the Person and Society"
Recall God And Fake Orgasms - Screw the whiny CA politicos and their PR machines. Let's recall things that really matter, by Mark Morford
"[R]ecall the idea that patriotism somehow means if you don't sneer at the very idea of foreigners, if you don't somehow wish hot steaming death upon each and every detractor of America, if you don't wave the flag at least as high as your TV antenna and believe everything Rumsfeld & Co. hisses your way, you must be an impious fag traitor communist tree-hugger.
This is all within your power. This is all within your purview. They want you to think it's not, that you are weak and trembly and that terrorism is ever ready to swoop in and eat your children and rearrange all the stations on your car stereo. They want you to believe you are powerless and small. This is, of course, utter BS. Your vote counts, perhaps more than it ever has."
Recall fear. Vote now to kiss with everything you've got, love deep, fuck with full intent, feel the divine's hot breath on your skin at every possible moment, buy the best wine you can afford, read your ass off, hunker down, grit your teeth, scream your joy.
There. See? Politics isn't so bad, after all."

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Gadzooks! More sentience!
"Having brought history to a point where nearly everything is possible, at least of a material nature—and having left behind a past that was permeated ideologically by mystical and religious elements produced by the human imagination—we are faced with a new challenge, one that has never before confronted humanity. We must consciously create our own world, not according to demonic fantasies, mindless customs, and destructive prejudices, but according to the canons of reason, reflection, and discourse that uniquely belong to our own species.
"The Communalist Project" by Murray Bookchin

" Social ecology is based on the conviction that nearly all of our present ecological problems originate in deep-seated social problems. It follows, from this view, that these ecological problems cannot be understood, let alone solved, without a careful understanding of our existing society and the irrationalities that dominate it. To make this point more concrete: economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflicts, among many others, lie at the core of the most serious ecological dislocations we face today – apart, to be sure, from those that are produced by natural catastrophes."
"What is Social Ecology?" by Murray Bookchin, at, the International Journal for Rational Society.
Yumpin' yimminy! There's sentient life on this planet ayup ayup!

Against the Corpse Machine; Defining a post-Leftist critique of violence.

"As long as anarchy remains reactionary, there is little hope that we will have a chance of creating a society much different from the one in which we already live (throw in a little worker’s control here, a few neighborhood assemblies there, federate, federate, federate – industrial democracy, bourgeois democracy). Refusing to confront and reconcile the effect anarchism’s modern industrial origins has had on its vision (likewise the Bohemian middle class current gaining popularity), as well as failing to appreciate the opportunities presented by taking a serious look at the Primitivist critique, will surely spell failure just as quickly as joining the government did in Spain ’36 (anarcho-syndicalists, are you still listening?)."
A lovely synchronicity: just a while ago I was wondering where I might access a set of "core values and beliefs" ... and then I found this (note that it's precisely because I'd want to quibble with the wording that I find this interesting):

The CSMonitor pegs me as a Liberal. *Surprise?!* According to the article, this is the Liberal platform:
     * Wary of American arrogance and hypocrisy
     * Trace much of today's anti-American hatred to previous US foreign policies.
     * Believe political solutions are inherently superior to military solutions
     * Believe the US is morally bound to intervene in humanitarian crises
     * Oppose American imperialism
     * Support international law, alliances, and agreements
     * Encourage US participation in the UN
     * Believe US economic policies must help lift up the world's poor

"How NeoCon are you?" | CSMonitor special on Neo-Con

Monday, September 08, 2003

I get graphomaniacal when disaster looms (I'm staring down potential homelessness right now) and so have a collection of blogs; this is from my .sig:

my newest blog:
The Cool Discipline of Freedom |

Beyond Greed |
Basic Bliss |
MozDawg on DAV & docs |

In order for a world-around democracy to prosper,
world society must learn how to prosper.
Buckminster Fuller

"If the overall pie can grow, so be it, but when
it can't then elites start taking a bigger piece
of whatever pie there is. Societies are managed
so as to satisfy this imperative."
Richard K. Moore
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance
Ooh. This "freedom to obtain and ability to broadcast information" thing is startin' to tick bigtime:
"Was 9/11 a Hoax?" hosted by (I wish they hadn't used the word "hoax" but HeyHo, it's a decent article. )
And moving from hoax to "This war on terrorism is bogus" - The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination"

zhurn repliles:

Yeah.. that about sums it up. But the real question is "how many times do we have to see someone write up a nice little summary of where things are headed before we rise up and do anything about it?"

Good one. I hope you weren't being rhetorical. Even if you /were/, here's my answer:
I, personally, didn't need it even once ... I figured it out from the inside, and trash-canned my career ... and every career after. ("We can change it better from within" deserves to be talked through, disassembled, and thoroughly discredited!)

I've failed to locate a source of income that I could transmit to my friends. (Yaa shurr, I can make a few bucks writing theatre and book reviews, or playing djembe on the street, or bla-bla-blah ... but none of that translates to my comrades, so *bzzzzzzt* it fails. I'll pass on anything that smacks of "exceptional" ... when my comrades can get off the treadmill, then I'll go play the djembe!) This has been a major downer for me ... a major problem. The biggest single chunk I can identify in this problem is that everyone I would have and should have collaborated with are hooked into the rat race ... Babylonian thralls ... guards and Human Resource Specialists in Global Gulag.

Have a peek at the rant I wrote 1.275 minutes ago, just before I downloaded the email notification of your reply.

What I used to say after giving a presentation, whether to the audience or to an individual, when I got the ineviatble "I want to help, what do I do?" was what I call my "11th hour" answer ... kinda Zen, and kinda post-modern: "The biggest thing you can do is to create your own answer to that very important question ... one that fits your situation, your interests, your resources ... one that inspires and can sustain you."

Now? As of about a week ago (see CityZen) I've cut the crap about militant spirituality and boiled it down to a frontal attack on bourgeois sensibilities: find comrades and peers to live with ... that'll mean economizing, which can translate to more gear, or fewer dumb-ass hours, or taking that good job at low pay ... and it'll mean challenging consummer capitalism where it's at its most insidious: the kitchen and living room.

My reply in to someone saying the state of the economy "doesn't matter, because the next election's already been bought":

"The election's been bought" I might buy into ... but the whole "it doesn't matter" thing seems to me a greater caustic agent than any political event. If it doesn't matter because the election has been bought, then you can be sure they're going to use that as a reason for buying the next election!

Imagine if the oligarch's have the sense to pay attention: they will notice people rolling over in the face of what should give rise to indignation.

Know what? I care if I'm the only person with spine around ... because I'm lonely, I'm old, I'm broken, I'm poor, I'm on the verge of homelessness, I'm disheartened and I'm tired. But what really bothers me is that those with the opportunity and resources are conning themselves into thinking that they can survive their own cynicism ... how sadly mistaken!
The whatever attitude makes me gag.

Thanks, satchmet, for finding my LJ a place to be frank ... I appreciate that, truly truly. (Do me the
honour of not presuming sarcasm ... I'm sarcastic only rarely, and try to signal it whent that's the

I'm /dieing/ for the lack of someone with a bit of courage ... and if people don't care that I'm dieing, well ... they shouldn't be surprised when the world becomes a colder place.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

The Futile Pursuit of Happiness by NYTimes' Jon Gertner (September 7, 2003)

If Daniel Gilbert is right, then you are wrong. That is to say, if Daniel Gilbert is right, then you are wrong to believe that a new car will make you as happy as you imagine. You are wrong to believe that a new kitchen will make you happy for as long as you imagine. You are wrong to think that you will be more unhappy with a big single setback (a broken wrist, a broken heart) than with a lesser chronic one (a trick knee, a tense marriage). You are wrong to assume that job failure will be crushing. You are wrong to expect that a death in the family will leave you bereft for year upon year, forever and ever. You are even wrong to reckon that a cheeseburger you order in a restaurant -- this week, next week, a year from now, it doesn't really matter when -- will definitely hit the spot. That's because when it comes to predicting exactly how you will feel in the future, you are most likely wrong.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

A while back I mailed something to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship mail list concerning the new upwelling of collaborative solutions for homelessness, and got a fairly substantial suggestion (shortened here; it had nothing to do with buddhism or alternative thinking per se).

to, "Bernard D. Tremblay" wrote:
> > "Facing rising health care costs, and a shortage of affordable
> > housing, some people in Washington, DC are coming
> > together to form cooperatives.

JFN replied
> Since this morning, I have come up with two versions of a
> first approximation of a plan which could accomplish much in this
> area.
> There are people putting shipping containers on forest properties as
> cabins - and they meed building codes.


> In general, since families with quite low incomes could afford to own
> outright shipping container housing, they would be able to continue
> onward without haveng to pay rent.So something like this might be
> considered by low income families.
> ***To leave not a single being twisting in the wind***

Here's the reply I sent to the Buddhist group list:

So heartening, to find the question engaging someone! I needed that just now.

A short reply, as my supper cooks, to capture the multiple aspects of my
reaction. (Hoping to reply with regards to specifics directly to you very

I find myself wondering where a sub-group of sangha such as BPF fits in the
scenario of societal collapse and environmental degredation ... once upon a
time it was the monastic sangha's responsibility to inform administrators of
proper concerns.

The degree to which you've developed your idea is I think representative of
how people of good will can synthesize. Self-interest, the good of others;
"enlightened" self-interest ... when we are healthy and oriented to the
actualities of our space and the others who inhabit it, the product of our
thought will necessarily be at least a step towards beneficial development;
the process of implementation, of actually and really taking those sane steps
... can there be a better form of practice?

I find it entirely appropriate that individuals who've investigated
abhidharma, even if only theoretically, should derive partial solutions that
are in any number of ways beneficial; perhaps our tentative efforts reveal a
faulty assumption or or bring to light some deep-seated predisposition, or
perhaps they will revisit some concept that has been overlooked or ignored.
What are the consequences of action, and what determines those consequences
... doesn't the dharma equip us to know the dynamics of co-emergence
im-mediately and intimately?

The proposals you've made here strike me as very problematic at a technical
level, and terrifically interesting as a plausible project!! "Habitat for
Humanity" is a responsible organization, and has taken a very different tack.
I know there was some activity with a slightly similar tactic in Toronto,
where there was a sudden need to provide short-term shelter.
But I'm not sure that BPF is the forum for discussing the logistics and
socio/economic aspects of this. [nuts&bolts reply to James Newell sent

(Is anyone familiar with _Sarvodaya Sramadana_ in Sri Lanka? It was a
paradigm of alternative thinking in the early 70s. And what of Paolo Friere,
has his "non-patronizing" thinking evaporated?)

Given my own context, and hovering thoughts concerning the social construct
of currency and its alienating effects (we forego the social good in order to
optimize ROI and maximize profit, and then use financial gains to procure the
good ... with devestating effects on the fabric of our communities and our
ecology / environment!) I'm very attentive to the group's response to this.

Does the BPF concern itself directly with matters of lodging? with the
personal aspects of ambition and possessiveness? with the peculiar (and to my
way of thinking, pathological) appetite for and clinging to privacy?

*The koan arises naturally in daily life.*

The stormy waves of life, disease, old-age, and death ... the richly complex
tableaux of our lives ... can I allow my acquisitive tendency to distract me
from this? Shouldn't that tendency and others like it be my objects of

> ***To leave not a single being twisting in the wind***

Yes, yes!! Just so! /That/ smacks of bodhicitta and loving-kindness to me!
(I'm surely not the only person to have had Fudo as well as Manjusri and
Kanzeon on the shrine?)

Technology based on a narrow use of Newtonian science is characterised by its
reductiveness ... complexity attends to edge cases and border conditions, as
would a sane and healthy community.

thanks to you
regards to all

p.s. the more I ponder it, the more it seems to me that communal life
(neither yogin monastic nor "nuclear family" householder ... sannyasin?) is
both the practice and the solution.
From my LJ this afternoon:
crashing ...

... visited a friend's bio lab (she's writing a thesis on neural cresting). It was fun to talk nuts&bolts science again. That, and US$200, will get me a home.

It's sunny. It's saturday. I should be out and about, if only to try busking. I'm exhausted (horrible horrible long detailed nightmare last night ... first in 40 years!!?)

I'm practically immobile ... incapacitated ... numb. Not good. Must find housing for October.

and a bit later, in reply to a reader's reply that they'd had a nightware "like some godawful RPG":

Noooooooo kidding ... mine was somewhat similar; like this post-apocalyptic pirate ship, a huge clunker with all sorts of alleys and bunkers and huge spaces and tight confines and mad-men and shiet ... and being caught in something like a cage as it slowly submerged ... remember Alien? ... violence and rage and fear and desperation and disgust ... the absence of any elemental warmth, and certainly the absence of human warmth. Life in Babylon ... I'm so sick of glad-handing yuppies and pseudo-sensitivity ...

I drilled down through my fear concerning homelessness (3 weeks and counting) ... part of it is my physical problems (my left foot packed it in this afternoon ... kind of like having a tire go flat very suddenly ... pretty wierd to be suddenly stranded in the middle of a downtown sidewalk!) and found the big thing: I'm infected by the bourgeois concept of privacy. This, to my way of thinking, is /modern/, and entirely optional.
Oh! To share a house with individuals who are interested in their interior processes!

I'm thinking of running a "Shared accomodation" ad that includes "Are you grown up? and are you also a mature adult?" ... but that phrase has come to mean something negative, whereas it actually means capable of interdependence, beyond the hang-up on independence (grown-up means just "beyond dependence").:

Friday, September 05, 2003

Waking the Sleepwalkers; CBC Ideas - William Rees (UBC; he brought forward the idea of "ecological footprint")

[roughly paraphrased]
We appropriate energy flows from nature (we eat almost everything, from the most delicate marine life to insect grubs; what we can't eat, we redirect, such as cactus: we feed cactus to the goats and then eat the goats); our environmental problems aren't problems in the environment, but how we exploit it: we harvest faster than it can produce, and discharge waste faster than it can recycle.

Further, we have turned away from direct sources of social good in favor of maximizing income, which we then turn towards purchase of those goods. The culturally mythic economy disregards our physical environment and our actions result in the problems outlined above.

Seperating reason from emotions makes it impossible to think these problems through. But they are only tendencies and predispositions, so we can think them through and find other ways.

Rees - Aurora Online
Rees discussing energy, oil peak & the future of human ecology (Global Public Media)
Ecological footprints: Making tracks toward sustainable cities (Linkages | Sustainable Consumption)

CBC Radio One: Ideas [features in 2003]
The Halifax Herald Sunday, March 30, 2003
TV critic finds American war coverage 'morally repugnant'

In a war where spectacle is taking precedence over information, Judy Rebick, a teacher of media democracy at Ryerson University, says she can barely watch the U.S. TV coverage.

"The thing that I find most troubling is this kind of excitement about the bombing, you know, almost sexual excitement," she says. "I find it deeply disturbing, really morally repugnant, this thrill over the technology with no comprehension that people are dying."

Rebick says the public can understand more about this war, however, than the '91 Gulf War thanks to Al-Jazeera - the Arab TV network - and a more advanced Internet.

"So we have everything from blogs from Baghdad to alternative media there putting out reports every day."


Still there's evidence of a media variation of the Stockholm syndrome with these reporters understandably absorbing the gung ho nature of the soldiers they are covering.

Rodgers, who has boasted of the "wall of steel" he is accompanying, is the former Associated Press reporter who gained fame with his on-the-spot radio coverage of the 1981 assassination attempt on then president Ronald Reagan. He's been travelling with the U.S. 7th Cavalry, a name that ironically, thanks to Custer, is forever associated in U.S. history with battlefield disaster.

If a hero must be identified, perhaps it should be veteran war correspondent Terry Lloyd of Britain's ITN, who along with his crew died, apparently at the hands of friendly fire, although even that event remains shrouded in war fog.


Thursday, September 04, 2003

*Decades ago my vision was to leave off the careerism in order to drill down, letting the accumulation of wealth to my peers. I did just that. And now? My peers are idiuhts (the consequence of years mindlessly acquiring and accumulating) and I am as though a friendless stranger ... pushers, pimps, and abusers have more actual community!*

A couple of items relating to the Rainbow Family of Loving Light:
from 14850 Magazine's "Woodstock at 25":
For all the great music-and it was truly one of the greatest musical events in all of rock 'n' roll-it was a thorough mess in the down to earth details, reflecting frightening implications for a hedonistic future of anarchistic chaos. Interestingly, away from the madhouse of humanity swarming over the hill surrounding the stage, through trails in the woods and along some of the roadways, the Hog Farm and other communal groups had set up camp kitchens, water stations and areas of relaxation and friendship.

It was these quiet, unheralded moments that's the real legacy of Woodstock. Those camp kitchens and water stations evolved into the annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light, which has been bringing tens of thousands to the National Forests every summer since 1971. These annual Gatherings embody the true spirit of the Hippie thing: peace and love and sharing-and the Gatherings are entirely free, no admission charged.

So, while a quarter of a million revellers head to Saugerties, forking over their $150 ticket price-the original costs was $18-for "Woodstock II, the Re-union," the real reunion already took place at the Rainbow Gathering in a forest in Wyoming... but that's a myth for another time."

From "Food Not Bombs and Rainbow" on the Homeless People's Network archive:
"... check out Rainbow - it can really challenge your assumptions in a good way. Stay awhile - it takes me a while for the mainstream wage-rent culture to wash away - I've been working way to hard and I can hardly imagine ...
Rainbow is great. My first gathering I carried water and gathered wood for a couple kitchens and hung out and listened. This cool guy asked me "what I wanted" when I asked him what Rainbow was all about, as if anything was possible - it's pretty mystical over all.

The mundane issues of shitting, eating, first aid, keeping an eye on drunks (alcohol is only allowed by the cars, if at all, which are way away from the circle), watching the kids, etc. are definitely real and need to have their weight shared, and then everyone has time to explore and meditate and talk and work together in great ways. Rainbow has no amplified music and no alcohol so there are lots of times when it's just wind chimes or just the wind and you. This is vastly different from concerts, dead parking lots, urban gatherings, earth first rendezvous, etc. and all those things have value for other reasons. Activists may find Rainbow to be annoyingly apolitical, but under the surface are a bunch of radicals.
Not so many folks figure I'm sympathetic let alone a supporter / defender but I definitely think Rainbow is great, and I will always take the time to explain the magical good part of Rainbow when people want to talk about the wierdness of it."
*Welcome Home!
“You ‘know’ in your limbic brain. The seat of instinct. The mammalian brain. Deeper, wider, beyond logic. That is where advertising works, not in the upstart cortex. What we think of as ‘mind’ is only a sort of jumped-up gland, piggybacking on the reptilian brainstem and the older mammalian mind, but our culture tricks us into recognizing it as all of consciousness. The mammalian spreads continent wide beneath it, mute and muscular, attending its ancient agenda. And makes us buy things”
( William Gibson in ‘Pattern Recognition’)


A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. If the elite moves the herd faster, it seperates from the slowest. And which are then attacked? Apparently altruistic behaviour propogates itself by perpetuating the rich set of interactions that give rise to it.
What happens when we slip into bureaucratic spreadsheet think?

In a discussion of Bush's face concern and actual hard-hearted disregard of soldiers' well-being and suffering, and painfully conscious of how poverty is a slippery slope *3 weeks to homelessness, and counting ... gawd I hate this!* I happened to quip "gadd, I can just imagine ... a vet, PTSD and maybe physically disabled, homeless, female ..." Well, someone pointed me to
Battle continues for veteran home from war
by David Abel, Globe Staff, 8/21/2003

"Three months ago, Vannessa Turner was in charge of a small unit, drove a 5-ton truck through ambushes, and wherever she went in Iraq, the Army sergeant held her M-16 at the ready.

The single mom's war ended in May, when she collapsed in 130-degree heat, fell into a coma, and nearly died of heart failure.

Now, after more than a month recovering in Germany and Washington, D.C., the muscular Roxbury native spends her days riding city buses to ward off boredom, roaming area malls looking at things she can't afford, and brooding over how she and her 15-year-old daughter are suddenly homeless, sleeping on friends' couches and considering moving into a shelter.

''I almost lost my life in Iraq -- and I can't get a place to live?'' said Turner, 41, who Army officials say is the first known homeless veteran of the war in Iraq. ''Yeah, I'm a little angry. Right now, not having a home for my daughter is the greatest burden in my life.''

Though Army officials said they're trying to help, Turner, still wearing a leg brace and limping from nerve damage in her right leg, blames the service for not doing more.

When she went to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in West Roxbury after coming home last month, officials there told her she had to wait until mid-October to see a doctor. When she asked the Army to ship her possessions from her unit's base in Germany, where she lived with her daughter for more than a year, they told her she had to fly back at her own expense to get them herself. And when she sought help to secure a veterans' loan for a house in Boston, she said mortgage brokers told her her only real option was to move to Springfield or Worcester.

The Army acknowledges ''mistakes were made.''

''The Army can be a bureaucracy, but there are people in the bureaucracy who want to help,'' said Major Steve Stover, an Army spokesman. ''I don't think it's acceptable for anyone to be homeless, and I believe most people in the Army want everyone to take care of each other.''

Unfortunately, Turner is unlikely to be the last soldier serving in Iraq to return without a home.

Although veterans make up just 9 percent of the US population, they account for about 23 percent of the nation's homeless, according to the Washington-based National Coalition of Homeless Veterans. In a given year, of the 2.5 million people who become homeless in the United States, about 550,000 are vets, many of whom served in Vietnam and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder."
Posted on LIveJournal for discussion at
Don’t Be an Idiot!

By Jim Hightower

The Greek word 'idiotes' referred to people who were so self-involved they focused on their own life and were ignorant and uncaring about the common good.

The greatest offense against our society these days is not any one law or a particular assault on our freedoms. Rather, it is the persistent, insidious effort by those who shape our culture to reduce the American citizenry to idiots. From corporate advertisers to political sermonizers, from boards of education to the entertainment programmers, their goal is idiocy.

By 'idiots,' I’m referring to more than the constant charge that we’re all a bunch of dummies. That’s just manufactured media fluff. Far from being a nation of numbskulls, people (and especially young folks) are smarter than ever. But to what end?

The original Greek word 'idiotes' referred to people who might have had a high IQ, but were so self-involved that they focused exclusively on their own life and were both ignorant of and uncaring about public concerns and the common good.

Such people were the exact opposite of the Athenian democratic ideal of an active citizenry fully involved in the civic process, with everyone accepting their responsibilities to each other and all of humankind. This is the ideal that Jefferson and Madison built into our nation’s founding documents, the ideal that Lincoln embraced when he spoke of striving for a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” the ideal that Justice Louis Brandeis was expressing when he wrote that “The most important office” in our land is “that of a private citizen.”

Be an involved citizen? Forget about it, Jake. Don’t waste your time. Get a job, keep your head down, play the lottery, don’t be different, take a pill, watch “reality TV,” buy things, play it safe, live vicariously, don’t make waves, pre-pay your funeral. Oh, and on those big questions—such as economic fairness, going to war, “rebalancing” that liberty/security equation, and the shrinking of democracy itself—don’t hurt your little gray cells by focusing on them, for there’s not a lot you can do about them, we know more than you do, and don’t worry … we’ll take care of you. Go about your business—be a good idiot.

[ ... ]

Found on alt.gathering.rainbow

There, I replied as follows:
"Awesome synchronicity, skye ... see and ... what I created yesterday, the end result of years in the field (who else stays back to organize /something /locally// on the week of July 4th? is that perverse and self-destructive?), and the product of abandonment: I am /surrounded/ by idiots ... blank-eyed and busy, pleasant and superficial, self-protective and narcissistic.

There are two basic drives, and one of the is all about doing the good. (Yes, the second is self-interest ... it's the other one that makes this "enlightenened".)
"The pursuit of happiness" ... and what's happier that enjoying the good that we have brought about with our brothers and sisters by sharing it in their company? We're a gregarious and social people; "I am because we are!"

I am alone because we are lonely idiots."


Saturday, January 18, 2003

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report Typeit4Me is a text expander. Peck out a couple of characters and it expands them into a line of XHTML, or a URL, or a stored password, or a paragraph of boilerplate text.

Further reading on today?s posts

  • Jon Udell: Scripting an interactive service intermediary: ?Gotta love that million-dollar markup!?

  • Sam Ruby: ?Mark Pilgrim: Now, there is a way to specify permalinks in HTML, but virtually nobody uses it. Ok, I've updated my templates so that the preferred permalink is marked with a rel=bookmark.?

  • tantek/log/2002/12: ?Mark Pilgrim's recent posts Million dollar markup and The tag soup of a new generation have saved me the time of writing up much the same. My summary of the points:?

  • | Latest 5 blog entries: ?This new way of archiving has caused a stir in the weblogging community, but the idea isn't just a weblog novelty. It's a concept news Web sites should adopt and run with. Here's why that should happen:?

  • - weblog: ?Everyone in the entire world is linking to Mark.?

  • || technology and culture, from the trenches: ?Mark Pilgrim doesn't understand the point I was trying to make when I said he contradicted himself by being both a proponent of Semantic Markup and HTML. I'll try this again. The primary goal of Semantic Markup is that content in documents is associated with metadata (i.e. marked up) in a way that provides meaningful information about the content and does so in a way that is easily machine processable. This is the difference between <cite> and <i> or <b> and <strong> in [X]HTML. It should be highlighted that improving machine processability not human readability is the driving force behind the Semantic Web and Semantic Markup. For example, the aforementioned tags are indistinguishable to the eye when rendered in most browsers but not to programs that process such HTML documents.?

  • PapaScott: Million Dollar Authoring App: ?I was at first confused by Mark Pilgrim's use of the cite tag, but now that he has clarified that he's not doing it "for the children", but rather just for himself, I can see the point. What I need is a million dollar authoring app so I can keep track of all those million dollar tags I can use. I don't think a two bit bookmarklet is up to the job.?

  • Karma Universe: since 2000: ?Op Mark Pilgrim kwam ik een interessant weetje tegen: Bij permanente links (<a href>) hoort een rel="bookmark" attribuut. Dat wordt opnieuw templates aanpassen :)?

  • Practical RDF: ?In his recent post, Mark Pilgrim writes that he is amazed, bordering on appalled because of reaction to his posting about the CITE tag. I was a bit surprised myself because the posting wasn't necessarily about revolutionary uses of technology. However, what Mark did do, in just a few words, was hit the hot spot in several debates: XML versus HTML, machine readability versus human readability, the semantic web, RDF, and any combination of these topics. And for the cherry to complete this semantic sundae, he threw in some code. If his post was fishing instead of writing, it would be equivalent to using five different fishing poles, each with a different lure. And did he come home with a catch.?

  • Simon Fell > Its just code : Sunday, December 29, 2002: ?Million dollar markup Google applies their algorithms to millions of web pages for a single purpose: keyword search. I want to be able to reuse my own content in millions of ways, including things nobody has thought of yet. They need million-dollar code; I need million-dollar markup. (810 words) [dive into mark] Good stuff (as usual) from Mark, I particularly liked IE 5: the Netscape 4 of a new generation.?

  • Cox Crow: ?I was reminded that I wanted to add rel="bookmark" to my template by Mark Pilgrim's latest wonder, which also introduced me to the ins tag.?

  • Meatball Wiki: PaulMillar: ?Been reading DiveIntoMark? [1] and the recent posts on using HTML as part of the SemanticWeb rather than using XML. I know these posts are generally geared towards bloggers but surely that is seeing only the microcosm rather than the macrocosm of the web.?

  • Traumwind - Friday 3rd January 2003: ?is another of those Pilgrims one should keep in mind, if only for the wealth of links that can be found in his further reading list...?

  • Living Torah Journal: ?A pretty poor thing to start 2003 off with, I know. But I really don't like Internet Explorer. IE5 doesn't follow the standards (Mark Pilgrim called it the "Netscape 4 of a new generation"), and IE6 plays fast and loose with them.?

  • JimSpot: ?I'm not sure about this discussion, but it seems Mark is doing some neat stuff with HTML code. It started with a post that he basically showed off with, Pushing the envelope.?

  • Got Pineapple?: ?I've made a couple of changes here. I've added the link="bookmark" to all my permalinks. This gives those links an additional semantic meaning, telling interested user agents that this link is not just an ordinary link, it is a bookmark to something significant. See the rationale over at Dive Into Mark and Tantek, who both explain this stuff better than I'll ever be able to. I also wrapped each post in an id'ed DIV, as per Tantek's suggestion.?

  • Erik's Weblog: ?Mark -- Million dollar markup.?

  • digiboy | marcus: ?Mark Pilgrim: I am amazed, bordering on appalled, at the attention garnered by my use of the cite tag.?

  • > ex machina: ?reading mark pilgrim's follow-up on his use of the "cite" tag makes me wish there was a bit of markup to signify a "blogbite":?

  • mywhine | madonnalisa whines here: ?Also his notion of 'million-dollar-markup' extends to thinking about taxonomy project i think??

  • MikeShea.Net: Web Portal of the Century!

  • :: Concept : Forum ::: ?

  • edazzle dot net: ?So the quest continues for a Semantic Web. Mark Pilgrim continues on teaching us how to use HTML 'semantically'. For me this is a step backwards. Why not create a specific XML language for blogger's with all these ideas in it? BML anyone? Unless it's all just a pipedream like the paperless office.?

  • .Conforme: ?relire Mark Pilgrim, via Tantek Celik::, qui revisite:: l'élément HTML <cite></cite> (en français:: aussi grâce à Karl Dubost {mieux qu'une traduction, on y parle aussi de q.}) (c'est fou comme un post presque anodin [en fait il n'y a pas de post anodin chez Mark] agite le cocotier:: {comment utiliser <code>, comment, pourquoi reconnaître un lien permanent [déjà vu plus bas] et plein de choses sur la sémantique des balises HTML, de quoi encore améliorer mon éventail d'éléments pour un weblog plus sémantique. Oui, mais à quel prix. Çà va devenir complexe et compliqué ! Pas simple de simplifier la tache même avec du script.}), voir aussi la réponse:: point par point qui est faite à Dare Obasanjo::, le résumé de Tantek Celik:: et aussi la réponse:: de Shelley Powers, qui nous explique pourquoi l'utiliser : CITE provides context for the link Context provides meaning, and meaning is semantics. Works nicely. Mais aussi, ce que tout ceci a à voir avec RDF/XML :?

  • Keith Devens .com - Weblog: ?Gotta remember to use rel = "bookmark" for my permalinks in the next revision of my weblog software. Via Mark.?

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