Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

24 February 2012

The Historical Beast

Change – we’re in it –

It is interesting to me how this blog, and my relationship with it, has changed.  It began as a performance, a persona who is probably closer to who I was, am, or will be,  than any face I could ever offer the world in my physical body.  And indeed, it is still that.  In my current life, I have a name, a face, a physical being that probably does not look like the woman you imagine could write these words.  I struggle, in essence, because the being inside of me is not the face my body presents to the world.  (I suspect that is true of most of us right now, and it is our challenge, on this earth, to come to terms with the contradictions between what we appear to be and what we really are.) 

I am, in essence, a very old soul who is troubled about the state of the world we live in.  I see us going through monumental change, and yet not acknowledging how profound that change is, and how important it is for humans to accept their role within it. 

We are historical beasts, we humans.  I would argue that is one of the things that makes us different from every other animal on the Animal Planet.  My cats, for instance, are not historical, though they each have a history.  They, however, are oblivious to that; they live in the Now.  Right now, all my cats know is that I am not with them.  

I am traveling right now.

Traveling and thinking.  Asking very hard questions, and contemplating their answers, and the hardest question I like to think about is the nature of the change we, as a race, are currently going through –

I have long felt that we are in a paradigmatic shift, and right now, I am participating in a conference where that language is being very readily used.  It is a conference on education, on the changes needed in education to make it a viable industry for our children to participate in.  And our children are not us, in the most dramatic of ways.

Those of us who made their earthly entrance in the late 1950's, early 1960's, can be labeled in any number of ways: in the United States, we are the end of the Baby Boomers, the end of an age of prosperity that was born out of a victorious war. We were born at the peak of a wave that felt our culture is fundamentally right and good, and we were born right before that wave crested and broke against the rocky shoals of the 1960’s.  We were one of the last ages to trust our parents and others in positions of authority. 

We were one of the last ages to be nursed on Great Books, to be led to believe in the Rightness of the Book, and to love Great Authors.  Our age produced an abundance of English majors, because being an English major allowed us to analyze the by-products of Great Human Minds.  Yet we were also the age that was influenced by the questioning of our immediate predecessors, those who asked why all our Great Books were written only by White Men, thus causing a reassignment of Authority to Women and “Minorities.” 

We were also the first age to be raised solely on television. 

We were a cusp age in that regard, because we have lived our lives in a world where we appreciated and understood the values of the last few centuries, and yet we are the first age that can say that there was never a time in our memory when television did not exist: one might say, we were the first Human Age raised and influenced by a virtual, visual imitation of ourselves.

I hope, dear friends, you can follow this logic, because that’s what it is: logic.  This entry is the painful burden of an unencumbered human mind unraveling the cues that the world provides.  My mind is still an Enlightenment Mind, a Mind that believes that Humans can and do know without technological assistance, and that knowledge can come to us through rigorous study, careful examination of the artifacts of the world around, creative risk, and a good sprinkling of intuition. 

An Enlightenment Mind is profoundly grounded in the Written, Published Text – the Linear  Book, and in language that has been produced for that media.  That’s right: books are a Media, and for a few hundred years, they were the most radical media for disseminating knowledge and provoking creativity.

But the Age of the Book is over. 
Books are now antiquity, and
laces through space in a delicate filigree of complexity.

My words,
The words of this blog,
Are part of an increasing cacophony of other words,
A multilingual, unilingual digital embrace which,
Embodies the workings of the Human Mind.

And we, we lucky Historical Humans alive today
Have been born to witness the rapid transition
From the Age of the Book to
The Age of the Cyborg.

Our children, the current children
Who sit so complacently in our classrooms,
Have been born into a New Literacy,
Just as we
The children of today are “digital natives” and
As such
They are wired to think digitally –
Digital literacy is not Textual literacy
Though Textual literacy is a part of the Digital.

But the Digital Text is not solid –
It practices a New Linearity
                         It is fleeting and acknowledges
The rapidity
With which
It can and will be challenged,
And the children
- if they can survive the education system we still have, an education system that was made to serve the Enlightenment Mind -
Major in Psychology
Because the most provocative fiction they can read
Is the working of Human Mind itself,
And the altered worlds it is capable of producing
At any given moment.

Living through a Major Turning Point in Human History,
Which is what we are doing right now,
Is not without trauma.  It is, in essence,
A Birth,
And in our case right now,
Because of the role our own Technology is playing in it,
It is a New Birth into a Different
Physical Form –
The form of the Cyborg,
And any given Cyborg has an absolutely different relationship with the collective human mind (ie: this internet) than we have had with our own minds for
Indeed, the Cyborg accepts unequivocally
Its own participation
In the collectivity;
It relies
On this wealth
Of Knowledge Production and Reproduction
And laughs fondly,
With warm sentimentality,
Over the antiquity of the notion
Of Originality.

Nothing is Original on this earth, in this realm of reproduction and imitation.  From the moment when the Creative Force (aka God) sought to reproduce an entity in His Own Likeness, we (aka: the likeness) have been doomed to Not Be Original.  And now we have finally figured that out, and accepted it, and at some time, perhaps in the not to distant future, we will come to terms with the fact that once we stop trying to be Original, Once we stop trying to be Authentic and Right and True, we will actually Be

But as I was saying, that will be the future,
Perhaps tomorrow,
Or this evening
When that will happen,
But right now we are Trapped in a Moment of Historical Change,
And we will be that Moment’s By Products.

Our delicate all-to-animal human entities will indeed die
In time
And we will be replaced by a generation that will recognize
That time is inconsequential because
The body is inconsequential
And yet,
The body is sweet –

Perhaps the Human Animal will live on through stubbornness (stubbornness is one of our more endearing qualities).  There will be some of us who will refuse to participate in the Rise of the Cyborg, sort of like Apes refused to participate in the Rise of Man, and we will live and toil on this earthly domain,
Admiring its beauty,
Nurturing it lovingly,
Accepting our mortality
As a fact of life,
And that too
Will be beautiful –
The sustenance of that type of animal life,
of the Human Beast life,
if the Cyborg allows it,
Will be Eden
All over again.

22 February 2012

If we can do this:

than the time is approaching 
in which time itself
will be

Time is, after all, the product
of birth and death
of beginnings and endings,
of lost ways, 
of reminiscences,
of longing
                        for the past,
                                for the future.

But if we can bring 
the past into the now,
the future will be there, too,
and they will all collide
in a countability
that will be
in essence,

14 February 2012

Underwater Garbage

while swimming at my local aquatic center,
I noticed a clump of hair suspended, about 
a foot underwater,
a band-aid somewhere near the bottom
a discarded flipper.

I am certain that the next time I swim,
that junk will be gone,
scooped out by the diligent pool workers
paid by the same local tax money
that made this fabulous olympic size pool possible.

No swimming tax payer would tolerate
that junk in their pool.

So why oh why
do we tolerate this
in our oceans? 

This last picture comes from an article at a site called Sprinterlife,
which includes some pretty horrific other pictures. 
Another chilling source of pictures of the garbage "soup"
in the Pacific come from a photographer called Mandy Barker

I'm not absolutely sure why folks are suddenly so horrified by the amount of garbage
in our seas.  We've been tossing our refuse into them for
generations.  I remember once, when I was at a museum
in Girne (Kyrenia), North Cyprus, they had an exhibit of
nut shell that were found in the hull of an ancient boat
found on the sea floor -- they were the refuse
from ancient sailors eating snacks and tossing away the shells.
The problem is: our garbage today isn't biodegradable.

Sprinterlife has three suggestions on how we might curb
the increasing masses of garbage in our seas.  Here they are
with a couple additional thoughts from me:
1.  Recycle.  My current city has launched a very serious recycling 
campaign, and I'm very proud of them!  They've made recycling 
very easy, and more people are getting on board and thinking before they toss.  
If your city doesn't do this, perhaps you and your friends and neighbors 
should give your local government a good nudge to change that.

2.  Stop using plastic!  I refuse to drink bottled water.  I'm even trying to start to buy
my milk in glass (from local producers)  We should have more local folks using, and reusing
glass containers again.

3.  Make the transition to using biodegradable products.

I would add: think local.  If you're buying from local producers, 
there is less of a need to use packaging that has to withstand
long-distance travel.  After all, we think local when we think of our water:
if we want to swim in our swimming pools,
we keep them clean.  If we have a water reservoir as a water source,
we work hard to keep that clean too.   
The term "glocal" applies here:
what we do locally can and should have a global impact.  Including how we treat our vital resources,
like water,
and energy.

I don't know if we can actually clean up the messes in our oceans,
but we can sure make a strong effort to curb it.
And I agree with Sprinterlife, we have to do it NOW!

13 February 2012

Some Thoughts on Waking: 13 February 2012

Running Bodies:

On the radio today
in a story of Bahrain
the announcer described a man
trapped in his own doorway.
Sourceless gunshots held him there,
"and outside there was only
running bodies,"
the disembodied voice explained.

Running bodies - as if they were already dead,
running running running,
until the bullets relieved them
of their worry.

In frozen Hungary, old money is being burnt
to warm chilled children
and snow snow snow snow
pales deeper 
the pallor 
of Old Europe.

I have wondered of late
the popularity of zombies,
but now I know for sure
that we live in a time
of living death,
and deep in our being,
we know it.

Running bodies -- that's us --
but what are we running from?
We're running from other zombies
who think they can gain power
in the world of zombies
by killing the living dead.

Might I propose that we run to a state of not
running, not dying, but rather, living --
the world will not be a zombie world
if we see that each day it brings to us
new life.

part 2:
dice roll

( from kickstarter )

Each morning's awakening brings
 a toss of the dice
and as it rolls into place
on its face
is an aspect of me --
today, my perceptivity,
yesterday, my insecurities,
tomorrow, my confidences,
and the next day, my deepest talents --
whatever the face, it dominates my play
for the day,
and if I believe the tossing hand is not mine, I am blind
to the consequences I produce for myself.

No bother.
This morning as I lay in wait
for my fate,
I recognized the wrist and the fist
of the gambler --
it was not yours, my friend,
nor was it an unseen shape --
it was me, and the dice
bore no mystery;
each face was
and is 
a known quantity 
to me.

With the proper gesture
it will fall in my favor.

So too with you.
There is no mystery;
chance is in your favor
if you know the roll
is yours.

12 February 2012

Diva For The Weekend -- Whitney Houston, R.I.P.

It appears to me,
that with a diva like
Whitney Houston,
I can clearly say
that divas are required
to take those big risks 

and end up singing about tragedy. . 

. . . and to sing tragedy well
is to live it . . . 

. . . to wear it with both agony and beauty. . . 


Why, oh why, must some of them be destined
to die
so tragically?

A beautiful talent,
a great diva,
a sad, sad loss.

This Ol' Orchid Plant

This past August,
I was quite obsessed by my orchids,
which hadn't bloomed in two years.

If you were following this humble blog back then,
you will remember pictures like this:

those lovely blossoms went the way
of all orchid blossoms:
they withered and fell.

But I was quite satisfied.

I expected the stalk from which they sprouted to do the same thing,
and I waited for that.

But that dear stalk remained
quite viable.

In fact,
here it is:

I paid very little heed to it, figuring it would disappear in time,
but instead, 
it sprouted another branch,

and now it appears to me 
that once again,
this ol' orchid plant
will bloom again:

Stay tuned!
I expect this will really begin to blossom
about the same time that 

spring arrives.

Happy day to you --

08 February 2012

winter stillness

we haven't had much snow,
my mind has felt numb these days.
Hibernation, I believe, is meant to be the condition
of women and men during the season of shorter days.

Words themselves seem
to have taken refuge
in the cave of  my mind.

I have found it very hard to write blog entries
on things like
the Republican candidates (we are, it would seem, in America's endtimes,
during which the best candidates we can muster are the ones
who embody our overindulgences and mutations),
sinking cruise ships,
Madonna's Super Bowl Half Time Show,
or men who kill their children
then light their house on fire.

The desperation of each of these silences me
and makes me simply want 
to look close at each
and every day.

I actually pray
for more snow,
the earth too can slumber with me.

I know,
as you know,
that after great silence comes

in the meantime, I will write here sometimes,
on days of thaw,
or share the words of others with you
that I think
are worthy of contemplation.

Be well,
dear friends --
I'm still here!

(all photos by Makropoulos)

excerpt one: "The Sole Origin is Sound" by Hazrat Inayat Khan

"The life absolute from which has sprung all that is felt, seen, and perceived,
and into which all again merges in time,
is a silent, motionless, and eternal life . . . .
Ever motion that springs forth from this silent life is a vibration and a creator of vibrations.
As motion causes motion, so the silent life becomes active in a certain part
and creates every moment more and more activity,
losing thereby the peace of the original silent life.
It is the grade of activity of these vibrations that accounts for the various planes of existence.
These planes are imagined to differ from one another,
but in reality they cannot be entirely detached and made separate from one another.
The activity of vibrations makes them grosser,
and thus the earth is born of the heavens. . . . "

(from: The Music of Life by Inayat Khan)

02 February 2012

We create . . . we destroy. . . . we
create we . . . . destroy we. . . . . .
. . .recreate. . . . . to . . . . . . . . . .re
destroy to . . . . . . . . . . . .  recreate
to destroy . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . we re 
create to . . . . . .  . . . . . .destroy we
recreate to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  de
cimate to . . . . . . . . . . . .recreate . . .
we de . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .cimate to