Speaks truth to future power

I’m only on page 18 and historian Alfred McCoy has me excited inside a nonfiction tome as if I’m reading a fiction epic:

Born of war and conquest, empires are unstable, even volatile forms of governance that often exhibit contradict attributes — they are constant yet changing, idealistic but barbaric, and powerful yet fragile.… When a ruling political party retreats from rationality into delusional politics, that nation forfeits both its claim to and capacity for global leadership.

Alfred W. McCoy. To Govern the Globe: World Orders & Catastrophic Change. Haymarket Books. 2021. page 18.

The writing synthesizes disparate stimuli and phenomena that I’ve witnessed and bundled them in ways that better explain for me what’s happening. How what is occurring right now is not unique, as I’ve know it isn’t. McCoy is unsparing in his analysis and descriptions of the arrogance and corruption that constitute delusion. This is most refreshing when the common self-congratulatory statements tend to be “how America’s greatest days are ahead.” We know they are not.

The sooner the people decouple their sense of self from their nationality and the nationalist tendencies in state building, the clearer we will be about meaning, vitality, and who’s decline this is.

Some maxims:

“the concept of geopolitics has proved more useful for those who prefer to analyze empires rather than build them.” (24)

geopolitics is essentially a method for the management of empire through the use of geography (air, land, and sea) to maximize military and economic advantage. (19)

an exploration of world orders requires an understanding of the term “empire,” which has carried an ideological taint that long barred its serious study in the United States. (15)

lacking the boundaries of a nation-state or the powerful, visible presence of an empire, world orders might seem intangible or even imagined. (15)

world orders are much more deeply rooted, resilient global systems created by a convergence of economic, ideological and geopolitical forces…. Lacking the sovereignty of nations and the raw power of empires, world orders are essentially broad agreements about relations among nation-states and their people’s, lending them an amorphous, even elusive quality. (9)

Great Mystery we honour

My grandmother had always referred to the universe as the Great Mystery.

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse, page 65.

“We need mystery. Creator in her wisdom knew this. Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility, grandson, is the foundation of all learning. So we do not seek to unravel this. We honour it by letting it be that way forever.”

Ibid.

The transformation that comes from practice and doing the same tasks over and over for many days. The chores build strength and speed and competency. The isolation fosters individuation and delight at the ability to accomplish and notice the changes that come with being able to simply do and with time master at what was once impossible.

Not pummeling, not coping

A life like mine annoys most people; they go to their jobs everyday, attend to things, give orders, pummel typewriters, and get two or three weeks off every year, and it vexes them to see someone else not bothering to do these things and yet getting away with it, not starving, being lucky as they call it.

Muriel Spark, The Portobello Road in All the Stories of Muriel Spark, page 5, New Directions, 2001.

When I told a friend who was just beginning to dip her toe into the pool of consulting and freelancing that “the full time job is a vestige of the 20th Century,” she laughed out loud. Months later, she approached me and said, “you’re right!”

“About what?” I replied.

After an incredible job that came to a shitty end after the man in charge rubber stamped the sexual harassment of at least two women. My 27 year old self was clear that I could not stick around no matter how incredible the three years prior had been. I refused to speak with or even look at the perpetrator, I was so livid that I’m surprised, in hindsight, that I didn’t agitate or create more unease in the final six months. I had sought to get the harasser fired or disciplined but he got a paltry, bullshit type of give-you-a-pass reprimand and with that, I quit.

The 403b pension, the travel perks, and lest of all, the health insurance, we’re not sufficient to keep me bound to a job or employer. The camaraderie and relationships that were the utmost of that job were transferable and s on begging that I was clear that I could take with me.

Within five years of working full time, I saw that the myth of health insurance coverage either HMO or PPO, did not outweigh the loss of autonomy and therefore the likely loss of my own dignity by clutching to a job that I thought I needed more than I needed my dignity.

That set me on my lucky path to not pummeling computer keyboards and incessant meetings. I loathe the ass-kissing that plagues too many workplaces where people in manager and supervisor positions resort to odd if not petty factors to determine the appropriateness of an employee and their evaluations of an employee.

Once I began freelancing, I began to extract myself from the habits of meeting for sake of making sure that people were working and therefore not goofing off. That didn’t make sense in the early decades of the internet before social media. In my first years freelancing, I was regularly astounded at how much people in FT jobs were posting inane shit on social media throughout their day. And I noted that people in FT jobs were posting so juicy as they didn’t have the autonomy to go for a walk when their morning or afternoon had a short or long window of flexibility.

I have wondered how I would be different if I’d stuck to more full time jobs over the last 2 decades: my physical health, my submission to meetings, if reaching 65 for the sake of retirement would be motivating me to excruciate for 2 decades more.

I’ve been lucky with a heavy dose of being wise.

This or that or that other that

The opportunity cost of the last hour has been:

  • to read the fiction by Kaitlyn Greenidge
  • read about how to plant a tree
  • write this blog post
  • write toward the other writing projects I’ve got marinating and fermenting inside.

Fortunately, the tree transplant needs a few days before replanting so that gives me until tonight or mañana. Now this blog post is nearly done. And the fiction is before me. And the writing projects is still marinating.

I’m aware of this at this moment as I seek to be intentional and rigorous about doing more of the things that have particular significance though they are also things that I’m less adept and less innate to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Sometimes I’ll do something but not more it or remember it and when I do remember it I don’t think of myself as having done so as frequently as I might have done it. That is one way that I belittle myself and make myself less small by not recalling when and what I did. So if I’m not doing something so frequently to know that I’ve done it, then I need to figure out the place and way that I’m writing it down so I can find that place where I wrote it says/weeks/month ago to quiet the inner critic that is so omnipresent to diminish the actions and moves and complete cycles that I have done.

It’s tricky this tendency to do something and be someone and then forget that was what I did or who I was such that I don’t remember thy about myself at all. It’s a simple way to erase who I am and what my recent history was. There’s some who write that forgetting is essential to the functioning of our brains but this habitual forgetting makes me smaller in my own cognition and my consciousness.

So I’m practicing and building my memory and skillsets to track and therefore remember. When I cannot remember with my internal gauges I will have to write it down either on paper, a smartphone, a journal or a hash mark on a wall.

I suppose that the tracking, too, is a form or practice.

All the things

How once everything—the good and the bad—seemed like a reflection of the place you were born and how these days, instead, everything—the good and the bad—seems written in the depth of our flesh.

Trick, by Domenico Starnone, page 109.

The decade inside of —

The point of the departed arrow is not merely to pierce the bullseye and carry the trophy: the point of the arrow is to sing the wind and remake the world in the brevity of flight. There are things we must do, sayings we must say, thoughts we must think, that look nothing like the images of success that have so thoroughly possessed our visions of justice. May this new decade be remembered as the decade of the strange path, of the third way, of the broken binary, of the traversal disruption, the kairotic moment, the posthuman movement for emancipation, the gift of disorientation that opened up new places of power, and of slow limbs.

Bayo Akomolafe

Dozens of questions

I was looking for an interview of/with Dorion Sagan revolving around Notes from the Holocene, which I’d borrowed from the library a few weeks ago. I have yet to read a page, though sometimes these internet-parallel searches offer just enough carrot to lead me to open a book tomorrow. So, for Dorion, there is tomorrow.

I cannot recall how I came to learn about Dorion Sagan though it was following the reading about his mother, Lynn Margulis.

Not finding any interview, I did encounter a summary and review of the Powell’s bookstore website that included these 12 questions lifted from the book:

  • Why does life exist?
  • Why do we drink water?
  • Can we save the Earth from global warming?
  • Are human beings central and special?
  • Is it possible that we’ve arisen by pure chance?
  • Is the Earth an organism?
  • Are we part of it’s exo-brain?
  • if it is alive, can it reproduce?
  • Can the universe?
  • What does the future hold in store for us?
  • Does God exist?
  • What is the nature of ultimate reality?

Earlier tonight, I spent 10 minutes flipping through pages of the online encyclopedia better known as Wikipedia where I read about: the Holocene, the Pleistocene, the Meghalayan stage and the caves of Meghalaya, the Younger Dryas, regolith, and the Mid Pleistocene Transition or Mid Pleistocene Revolution.

All of this after the weekend’s atmospheric events surrounding the Hunga Tonga Volcano that was somehow heard in Alaska (5,000 miles across the Pacific) and initiated some 70,000 lightning bolts in some short span of time (maybe 60 minutes) where there were 15 lightnings per second and seemingly 1/50th the severity of the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo.

I read decades ago that something along the lines of, “the universe is so big, human brains are so small” was attributed to Osho.

Working with what is happy

Ooh. It’s been a long, often lost voyage to come to more feeling and emotion. In my 40s, I’m beginning to experience rage and acknowledge anger when anger is something different than sadness because as a child I knew sadness when it occurred but I avoided eye contact with anger and fled from rage.

So, it is stirring, a slightly scary sort, to read this question:

“What would you like to put into a book that would make you happy?”

https://miamirail.org/literature/widening-the-horror-genre-a-conversation-with-victor-lavalle/

I would put into a book are: justice; heartbreak and some redemption or newfound life following such ache; death, and the accompanying despair and disappearing that is colloquially ghosting but in fact is so much more than a brash decision; humor, wit; overlooked and underrepresented adjectives in current vernacular.

Just today, I read in a novel how genie derives from jinn. I may have read that genie cokes from this Islamic mystical and spiritual type but I’d forgotten that even though I’d only read about jinn a few months ago.

I’d also write about intuition and the bizarre occurrences that are not coincidence. And the magic of the outdoors and the wild and the minute being that we humans are yet we are holons on earth.

Get a ducking clue

As Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor says:

But it does mean that there is intense insecurity in this country. Social dislocation means people don’t know where they fit. Immigration gets the blame. It’s totally racist and it is about class and economics. It is both at the same time. Race and class are entwined in this country, and the constant efforts to separate the two create confusion.

But that’s why we need a fucking political party that can challenge that way of thinking. A party that can argue with this framework. Instead, the argument is just ceded to the right….

These clowns in Congress are laughing all the way to the bank as they do the bidding for, to be crass, the capitalist class that is running things!

Erdrich on Great Spirit

Perhaps all of creation from the coddling moth to the elephant was just a greatly detailed thought that God was engrossed in elaborating upon, when suddenly God fell asleep. We are an idea, then. Maybe God has decided that we are an idea not worth thinking anymore.

Erdrich, Louise. Future Home of the Living God. Page 20. 2017

Questioning patriarchy with Morgan Parker

I wanted to quote these two sentences from Morgan Parker:

When I wake up, I have fantasies about doing whatever. I’m not lazy, I just understand the relationship between time and money.

http://weird-sister.com/2015/03/09/my-dreams-of-being-a-feminist-housewife/

But, it is actually this one that stirs some things within:

Can I at once work to break down a heteronormative capitalist system while reaping its benefits: money, time, freedom, leisure, and peace of mind?

http://weird-sister.com/2015/03/09/my-dreams-of-being-a-feminist-housewife/

All we can do is utilize this current system and operation to foment the next system even when that new era may be decades or hundreds of years away. Even when finding alternatives to the dominant cultural ways, I participate in this current system while still being an example of something different than the current.

I believe that we can use privilege and powers bestowed by an unjust and imbalanced system to contribute to its destruction. That is a timeless inquiry for men and boys, for citizens, for owning class people to see that the position that they/we are in is untenable and rather than continue to benefit from it, we can confront it and aim to transform if NOC destroy it.