Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To the Aztlan Station


The word simply stood out to me in the context of understanding the nomadic cosmopolitanism of old: Aztlan. The etymology is uncertain. It is an Aztec word. Some say it means "to the North." Others say the "place of the egrets" or the "place of the four rivers."
While others maintain it is the "white land" and refers to the sandy, salty, desert lands of the Southwestern United States. Aztlan is frequently associated with the Southwest. But if one lets one's imagination go, the "white land" (visually analogous to the "place of salt") could yet be a snow covered Canada where salt becomes ice or moving back further into migrational lore, Siberia herself.

There is a natural tendency among the descendants of the so-called "native" tribes in North America to romantically see Aztlan as a political rallying point, a feature of self-identity, and who will begrudge them this but the notion of a global nomadic cosmopolitanism has far broader connotations. It is a tale of exchange and travel, a tale of portents and omens, a tale of following the flight of herons down through the continental river ways into the lands of mystery. These are not the artificial ways of the great iron horse but the deeply magnetic and humble ways of the great blue bird.

The Aztlan Station is the place of atunement then to these ways of travel and life. Guided by the stars and the flight of the birds shall we leave the Aztlan Station for parts unknown leaving the kings and priests of the cities behind? Will the world yet be a mysterious journey across, to and from the great Northern homeland of Aztlan and then beyond yet to the milky way where the nectar of life will be churned forth.

There are things yet understood by the great map makers showing the ways through the movement of the heavens and the call of the great river birds inland toward the mountains. The Cosmic global innuendo emerges at the closing of the Fifth Age pointing to the great arts of the cosmopolitan time keepers, citizen of all continents, toastmasters to kings, friend to wanderers. Keep one's eye open then to the call of the birds, I say, for they are the creatures who see the lay of the land guiding us to new worlds beyond the slaughter houses of politics.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sausage Thoughts



Eating flesh, the domain of the flesh, the world between earth and sky, akin to stuff of plants, the very media of the animate, the flesh, this is where we live and breathe. We know that stars are born and they die. We have seen trees fallen in the forest. In an early gesture against the paparazzo, in the 1960's, Yugoslav actress Sonia Romanoff attacked photographer Rino Ballirari for having published an unflattering photo by planting an ice cream cone, ice cream first, into the photographer's forehead one evening.

The light of the moment, the triumph of the hero, the allure of the flash of battle, the twinkle of seduction all come and go never to be known again in the same way. World as sausage, world as lover, the refrain is deflecting, ridiculous, avoidant. But that begs the question of question of mustards: French's, Grey PuPon, Durkee's? And shall we feast or shall we famine? The political season is heating up and one of the candidates is really chopping up the the spare organ of the body politic beyond recognition to portray himself as some kind of war deity. Sausage I say. The question at hand is whether we shall picnic with our neighbors or just remain a blood thirsty rabble?

Oh that we might wander the world in peace seeking our light. That we get our sausage at the ball park and the next country over. These are the important things: that we have trees in our cities, that we have minstrels beneath bridges, that we promote international dance competitions, that we have a cupboard well stock with diverse relishes and that we eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. It is mistaken to believe that we must put someone up in the big house. In the timeless words of the venerable blues man and carnivore Keith Richards "why are we fighting?"
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Friday, July 18, 2008

The End of Idealism



I am in need of confession. Picking on comments made in a dialog Noam Chomsky had in the 1960's really is not all so fair, but I appreciated the opportunity to deal with the terms suggested. Philosophical self-consciousness has a certain allure. Especially where we have seen principles deeply rooted in history become incorporated in institutions, principles like representative government, due process and the availability of the writ of habeas corpus. And dealing in the realm of honing and refining definitions certainly gives rise to a kind of clarity, not necessarily the moral clarity that is inherent in working with the imagination in the genres of the novel and the like, but nevertheless some kind of clarity.

In this respect too, I think it is interesting to note the approach Jurgen Habermas of the Frankfurt School focused on Post-Modernism observes with respect to the exercise of representative power by the United States in the post 9/11 environment. Besides the observation of the risks of preemptive action in light of the historical truth that temporal power is fleeting power, so appealing to the reason that suggests the adherence to overriding norms, Habermas characterizes the nature of the structure advanced in democratic preemptive adventures as a "liberal hegemony." "Liberal" because the moral basis of the action is a kind of self-referential dependence on ethical certitude born of the success of liberal principles and "hegemonic" because this is a kind of action that moves beyond principle and international convention into a moral universe only prescribed by the moral certitude of the actor. The implications for process and the history of ideas is staggering.

In the short sighted motivation of achieving some kind of material security the national character from an idealistic perspective is debased in the delusion that self-interested action is ethical action. There is a kind of atavistic assumption here that some inherent goodness adheres as the result of the historical standing of the actors where they have arrived at this time and place with great power. There is no consideration of the possibility that departure from the idealistic underpinnings of historical standing is destructive of the educated view that gave rise to the historical principles at stake in the first place. Consciousness of the dissonance in behavior at odds with emergent standards is overlooked in favor of considerations that require power to be exercised no matter what norms of experience are breached or what self-imposed limitations are acknowledged. In this light philosophically categorical exercises give way to disingenuous displays of cunning. The language of principle becomes only instrumental in deceit. The balance of the past and future inherent in projects of idealism is sacrificed.
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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Toward a Red Buddhism



I am wondering if this is what Noam Chomsky's anarcho- syndicalism looks like:
On the Eastern Front, it was becoming almost impossible for many Russian officers to maintain military discipline. Early on the morning of February 17 [1916] a number of front-line cavalry squadrons were issued with live ammunition and ordered to ride to cavalry headquarters some distance behind the line. They were not told of the purpose of this manoeuvre. ‘Soon’, one of their number, Georgi Zhukov, later recalled, ‘everything became clear. From around a street corner appeared a demonstration carrying red banners. Spurring on his horse, our squadron commander, followed by other squadron commanders, galloped towards regimental headquarters, from which a group of officers and factory workers had emerged.’

A ‘tall cavalryman” then addressed the assembled soldiers, telling them that the working class, peasants and soldiers no longer recognized the Tsar. ‘The Russian people’, he said, ‘wanted an end to the slaughter of an imperialist war; they wanted peace, land and liberty.’ The cavalryman ended his short speech with a call for an end to Tsarism and an end to the war. ‘Though there had been no command,’ Zhukov wrote, ‘the soldiers knew what they should do. They shouted and cheered, mingling with the demonstration.’
Gilbert, Martin. The First World War, New York: Henry Holt & Company (1994), p. 313.

I know this is a historical reference and its hard for me to believe that Chomsky is advocating something of the same species as a soviet federation. And I further suppose that he is confusing domains somehow in speaking of anarcho-syndicalism as appropriate for the governance of a technological state. I suppose further the problem is Chomsky's introjecting his personal impulse toward freedom into a consideration of governance. While it is true that limited self-government purports to acknowledge the natural entitlement to freedom inuring to mankind, this certainly has a greater operative viability in a frontier context. Maybe technological frontiers can sustain the spatial dynamics required or maybe true freedom is to be found only out on the spiritual frontiers. That is not to say that the two realms may not have common elements.

So then in this context let us consider the pending proposition: "Toward a Red Buddhism." Now while the word "red" may rightly be associated with the totalitarianism of a worker's state as historically pursued in the failed Soviet experiment, it might also refer to a kind of conflagration. And to the extent that this is referred to material domains the problematic issues inherent in cycles of violence surely arise. But then now let us consider Buddhism or the spirituality of awakening. In this light a "Red Buddhism" becomes a conflagration of spiritual awakening. The issues of coercive governance then become de minimus. The point under consideration becomes the agni yoga or fire yoga as a path of personal liberation. Shall the dross of coercion then be refined in the fire of personal awareness?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Anarcho-Syndicalism

Well the British may not be taxing our tea anymore but I am suspicious that somebody is. Its been a sad week in the great nation, the surveillance state ever creeping forward with the new version of the FISA law that passed the Senate this week giving telecommunications immunity from civil liability like they were the freakin' sovereign or something. I guess these days being a big corporation is good enough. Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh. I mean being in a consumer society these corporate behemoths are necessary for the material improvement of existence, I guess, theoretically at least. Like a comment said on a blog I was reading earlier this week, "its like I just woke up one morning and I was living in the Soviet Union in the 1950's." For those of you who are not so up on your history, this is not such a good thing.

Still I was left with one delight over the holiday and that was finding this video clip of a discussion between Michel Foulcault and Noam Chomsky (Part I and Part II). Foulcault becomes so pleased with himself at one point that he nearly levitates and Chomsky declares himself to be, on no uncertain terms, an "anarcho-syndicalist". I am not sure exactly what this is but I am going to think about it. I am pretty sure it is different from what a couple of people I have met claimed to be when they professed to me that the were "benevolent" anarchists. These folks probably suggested that they were "benevolent" to distinguish them selves from the anarcho-assassins who shot Archduke Ferdinand. I am not sure whom Chomsky is distinguishing himself from in proclaiming the virtues of syndicalism.

I checked with Wikipedia and this is their definition of syndicalism:

Syndicalism is a set of ideas, movements, and tendencies which share the avowed aim [to] transform capitalist society through action by the working class on the industrial front. For syndicalists, labor unions are the potential means both of overcoming capitalism and of running society in the interests of the majority. Industry and government in a syndicalist society would be run by labour union federations.

But Wikipedia doesn't define "anarcho-syndicalism." And besides that hasn't the time passed to transform society on the "industrial" front. What I want to know is who is going to transform society on the psycho-technological front? I am just sayin'. And if one's political theory is all caught up in labor who is going to get to make a pompous ass out of one's self consuming all the damn goods? Honestly, sometimes I think these philosophers should think these things through.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Interdimensionality

Now with the great Ubu having casually cast an approving glance, and the tonal of the the nation having taken an odd turn toward corporate hegemony, the allure of interdimensionality is poised as both an opportunity and a necessity. Near nudity but with spiritual modesty is the season's glowing rage. All one may otherwise need to survive is a healthy stock of Helado's Mexico All Natural Fresca Strawberry Premium Ice Cream on a stick. Light opaque scarfs and intricate batik sarongs help to soften the shock of pure nudity and holy basil aromatherapy helps balance out the rigors of moving from shadow to shadow through long summer days. This is the essence of the practice of interdimensionality inasmuch as the dark cool gateways of travel through unconstituted emptiness in time becomes practically second-nature. One may listen then for shadows and the deep traveling tones that emanate from nothing and go nowhere. It is in the emerging from these hidden journeys that one is most likely to find a soul mate but only once. The necessity of deep abiding in even the dark anomalies of character is required but only to the point of releasing light-heartedly into an engaged disinterestedness. White cotton shirts and khaki wear are always a fall back ensemble when one tires of traveling nakedly in the green cool shades and a seven week feast of blueberries and roast pork will be a perfect repast for one's return to the light.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Pianist

Bob of "moviesbybob" fame (that's a youtube screen name) suggested that I watch The Pianist, a 2002 film by Roman Polanski about a classical pianist who survived the holocaust in Warsaw. This film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2002 and is based on the life of Wladyslaw Szpilman who before the war worked as a piano player for Warsaw radio. Watching the film culminated a bizarre flow of information that came to me as I tried to wind down from two weeks of intense consuming heady work and included exposure to new information about the rapid replenishment of depleted oil fields through geomechanics, the predictions of World War I, World War II and the invasion of Iraq by Albert Pike an American Grand Mason of the Scottish Rite, and plopping in a copy of Southland Tales without any idea what it is about on the very day that this futuristic movie released in 2005 was primarily set: July 3, 2008. And more ironically as I broke a way from an online debate concerning unconstitutional surveillance to watch Southland Tales. The milieu of Southland Tales is an Apocalyptic surveillance state America. Moby does a nice job with the soundtrack for this satire.

The journey also encompassed exposure to youtube.com expose's on Silvia Divinorum and Don Juan. The trip has been a veritable journey in syncromysticism. Don't get me wrong. I am not advocating psychotropics here but if we can see how people access new points of view by whatever methods then the trip toward some perceptive flexibility is enhanced in understanding.

The thing about The Pianist, though, that was so striking in its classical and elegant realism was, by way of contrast, the brutality of the Nazis. That the Nazis were a brutal group is no news, but I do not believe I have ever encountered anything that brought this point home in the way The Pianist does. Perhaps it is in the contrast of the fundamental decency of the lives of Szpilman and his family with the craven brutality of Nazism. There is nothing sensational or exploitive about the film. It is shot from the point of view of a sober, unflinching eye. And this mundane humane steadiness perhaps shocks the system that has been so conditioned by exaggerated gratuitous violence in our media. The lingering question then in these expeditions is then "what we may be?" not so much in our context but in our perceptions.