On the Peace Path
Comments Off on Being The Ass in Assess
The power of each person is to do. Collaborate, learn, create. Is that more likely face-to-face?
Social media that is used for uncritically rebroadcasting general media? Relaying of old jokes, old hoaxes, giving a shout out to commercial products? A newsfeed of ads? Not much value added to be a repeater station of signal boost. Sure, it’s your signal, clothing yourself in a strand of the wider culture that you claim but why? Time-suck alarm.
One short precious life, a lifetime as nanosecond of cosmic time and I’m spending it on tetris, or fretting, or unproductive complaint called literature.
If you could say anything, would you? You can. Do you?
What does one share significant things with? Is it broadcast or intimate knowledge? Does not the intimacy make it feel significant, special? Value by rarity is at odds with selling more to more people, but keeping the value. It goes against the laws of economics unless you can build consumption faster than producing to maintain scarcity of access.
I like nonsense, refusal to intone the significant. I like play, not to avoid but for its own sake, like knowledge. All clues pointing towards the throughline is too tunnel visioned. And yet, after reading novels after a 30 year hiatus, for things to be said for a reason, for an upshot is gratifying. There is purpose other than dawdling.
What is meaning? Meaning is assigned arbitrarily by unconsidered habit. Meaning is assigned externally and adopted or assigned internally but incomprehensibly to others. Meaning is allowing something to matter.
It is key that things matter. If things did not matter we thrash and burn as barbarians without empathy for what we destroy. We do hollow acts that depress us for their lack of meaning. We amuse each other with cleverness based on performance rather than inherent unconditional worth as assigned by loyalty. If things matter, we accept cause and effect and that one can act in a way to cause worse repercussions or more optimized life with more ease, less pain and a positive feedback cycle so we aren’t always getting towards okay but in the thriving range.
If we aren’t actually sharing and showing each other our real faces, then what good is the contact? If we broker in trivialities a few steps removed from self, then what do we gain?
I pooh-poohed Significance for years for a few reasons.
One, my body was attached to the jettisoned worldview so I had to turn off reactivity to old sensations to align with new ideology.
Two, my body likes to assign crisis. It’s good at it and body likes the satisfaction of doing a good panic or depression. Babysitting the child-self, have to ignore the false sense of significance of its tantrums to teach it what to respond to.
Third, significance is everywhere. The gnattering. The knick-knot. The need to pitch what matters is what we do with strangers. If we do as the one mode, we never get past the bullshit and become the bullshit. Most of the universe is not significant. That isn’t to say it isn’t worthwhile. If something is of no consequence it can still be the bulk of the day. It’s an antidote to the pitch to risk the boring, the non-sequitur, the absurd, the silly, that black matter which plays against the melodrama of regular matters. We need a foil for our folio.
Fourth, significance as it is sold is significant for interests that are not mine.
Who is selling the significance for whose gain? We’re awash in a sea of propaganda to sell instant product, petrol, sex and booze. Instant product makes an invisible slave society. Even sex won’t sell poetry. Given the choice between booze and poetry, 8/10 pick booze so that’s a lousy pairing. I haven’t tried doubleblind studies with gasoline.
Do I want to back the ideologies? English-empire/heteronormative/ xenophobic/deist/ binary/female-supression/emotive-zero-sum-Hero’s-arc ideology. It’s like opting out of air. What to clean it with?
If someone actively opposed me as if I am a whetstone to their knife, that’s about them or their lives but I can remove myself form their equation.
I’ve been examining life and seeing who I spend mental energy on who don’t reciprocate any attempt at contact. Pulling in. If people have stuff going on, I have room for that. Some people always have stuff going on. I have to admit I will never breach the wall where I matter as much as I want to matter, as an equal. So be it. It takes energy to care about an absent person. There’s no animosity or hatred but a letting go of expectations.
In all the reduction of significance self-training letting go has been a hard lesson. It’s not giving up or laziness, it’s choosing where to spend myself.
It’s of value to be among n0t-like-minded. Tiring but both sides and all directions ca benefit from other ways of thinking. Being among those who agree is liable to be ambushed while complacent. It is willfully shutting out that which is so divergent that it can’t even be processed.
Those I do enjoy, I want to continue to see what our different points of view do. It’s a sort of slow-motion suspense. I want to be fuel for flourishing and be fueled.
I feel guilty about being massively behind in emails because I want to honour the time it takes to communicate. I don’t want to discourage anyone from actual interaction in a way that happens to be digital. If people didn’t expect to elicit a response they’d blog instead.
But so many emails. I turn off notification, unsubscribe from lists. Still I have nearly 500 unread messages, and the ones I read that I mean to get back to, once I find them. I know I feel abandoned and uncared for when I craft an email to get nothing. I don’t want to count return rates. I don’t want to run metrics on relationships. But. If one sees someone once every year or few is there a relationship to lose. Does there need to be formal contact if choice and life mean there is no natural overlap of life?
Offline people drift in and out of one’s life but there’s no staked pole connecting. There’s a web of overlapping people and events. If there’s no material, why cling. If there was a nice moment or nice potential, how much is squandered by leaving oneself open for more that doesn’t come.
I’ve been culling my FB, deleting people who don’t interact or who I don’t remember who they are, who haven’t interacted for years, or whose posts cause distress not connection or understanding. I’ve been moving heaps of people to acquaintances, so they see little but promotional posts for public roles, of radio show or books.
And here’s the cost of reading, a plug:
It’s like procrastinator’s delight. You can buy VERSeFest passes and not even decide by nickel and dime which to go to, which match your schedule, which you’ll feel like going to when the time comes and be potentially dissuaded by higher at the door tickets.
Sunday night at Happy Goat Coffee, there’s a thank you and sign up for VERSeFest volunteers. Free music and poetry.
On another note, thanks to Gerard for pointing to Matryoshka Word Generator.
How alert and present is conscionable before you’re just paining yourself to no one’s benefit? Does emotional investment make any difference? Is it the action or how you feel about it? What’s regurgitation vs. risk? How to be competent, purposeful but not habitual scripted or knee-jerk non-scripted? How to be useful without making role identity and oversimplified mandate?
What is the gap between creative life and life-life? Heather Havrilesky’s How to Contact the Author how far does the continuum go?
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There is no upper limit to connection. How much knowledge of another is enough?
What is “authentic”? What proportion of imagination and projection is reasonable before it becomes deluded? What is? What isn’t? What’s fair fodder? Who and what to prioritize? Or does too much planning displace spontaneous opportunities? What is worthwhile in a very short ephemeral life?
How accurately can we map who we think we are to who we are? In the last bit of Mark Goldstein’s Tree reading he had a series of poems from Ocean Road,
Whoever can push past the angles
of the street can sit with me
at the edge of the world […]
I say I practice as I go astray.
In private I eat meat and fish.
I public I chant ma-om.
If this is how I cultivate my practice
how will I deal with death?
It cross-ties in big questions of what is solitude, death, self versus others in My Dinner with Andre (1981) which is on best movie lists of movies about writers and movies about food. (Spoiler: Apart from being in a restaurant, it’s not about food but is about the writing life in part.)
How do we balance the levity and beauty and satisfying lack of significances, our own human nature’s attempt to assign symbolism against the body’s conflicting desires for excitement and comfort?
How does one balance art which is a compressed version of life with the distortion of compressing and slower real time life? How to keep accuracy of perception and of representation when your narration makes a mandala of a world which must omit some things in time and space?
In the movie Andre says,
“Bertolt Brecht, he somehow created a theatre in which people could observe that was vastly entertaining and exciting but in which the excitement didn’t overwhelm you. He somehow allowed you the distance between the play that two humans need in order to live together. the question is whether the theatre now can do for an audience what Brecht tried to do.
[…] People today are so deeply asleep that unless you’re putting on superficial plays that helps them sleep more comfortably it is very hard to know what to do in the theatre[…] [With serious plays] you may only be helping to deaden the audience in a different way[…] How does it affect an audience?[…] terror and violence does that wake up the audience?[…]
The picture of the world you are showing them in a play like that is exactly the picture of the world they have already.[…] they end up feeling passive and impotent”
People blithely accept. What counts as a trigger is relative. A history of literature where women are only referenced at incidental, hags, plot devices of murders or abstract loves is triger-offensive.
That 31% of all speaking parts in film worldwide go to women. [source] That “Only 10% of politicians in films worldwide are portrayed by women.” [Source] Is life propelling art or art propelling life?
Is art to propose new solutions, criticize what exists, find pleasantries among what exists or report like an anthro[a]pologist?
We live in very strange times. Perhaps every time is peculiar but when exactly did saying pollution is bad become partisan? Everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon of war, claiming respect for veterans and history as the war machine gears up. Those with anyone in the lineage—and with conscription of past wars, that’s many people—claims a cause to remember a loved one with idea of war. As the novel put it, “The frightening thing is that everyone has their reasons.” But whose chess game is being played?
Any amusing story of look a room left untouched since WWI is itself but also thoughtlessly promoting the narration of soldier honour.
Is it futile to oppose the zeitgeist of one’s time? Always there are countertides, pockets of parallel lives largely untouched by the large movements just as there are swathes of people unaware that segregation by “race” and gender largely stopped some decades ago locally. One lives one’s immediate life, one’s contiguous life, not continuous with all that occurs.
What elements of our lives are built on the premise that we must make more money than those we get goods from? That some must sell labour cheaply, for example, that the only possible way is for the rich to get richer, for kids to get less innocent, for males to lose power, for people to average out to one mid-brown tone, for us to use standard money to give to people who sell it by lending at a profit to “blue chip”. So many embedded and conflicted assumptions. We can’t challenge everything every minute, can we?
The proposal of Andre is that to be in comfort is an unnatural insulated state, isolated away from truth which is nature its seasons and viruses. It is a logic that toys along the same lines as human zoos, the colonial practice of othering people and keeping them in their natural state of dress, or to presume that the poor and rich are a result of character and birth instead of all the factors. Or to presume people of certain kinds of intelligence should not be educated and should be sterilized. To put any human-raised primates in “wild” zones, even if used to tvs and clothes, they should be put in zoos to learn to socialize with their species. There are all kinds of slippery slops and muddy slopes there.
At the same time he’s right in that a lack of sun and moon and nature sounds make for poorer health. And that people can confine themselves in habit instead of deciding to choose optimal actions. But how to determine that?
It’s uncanny the overlaps between it and Jacob Wren’s Polyamorous Love Song in themes of the real film-making being real life performance and people’s search in theatre for affecting drama. From the novel,
[The visual artist said] “Before they kidnapped me, I had wanted to come here, to meet them, to become part of all this,”[…] Being here has simplified thigs. I am chained down. I am brought food. I am unchained to wash and exercise. It has simplified my thoughts”
[…]I was fascinated. With no knowledge of the new filmmaking, that artist chained to the radiator was in the moment, everything he experienced more precarious, more vital. His struggle never paused, white our knowledge of each activity as being ‘only’ new filmmaking somehow dampened our understanding of it. With the Centre for Productive Compromise I had always felt if we got bore, we could stop at any moment, but if the Mascaots stopped they would be rounded up and killed.”
Back to the movie,
Andre: Things don’t affect people the way they used to. I mean it may very well be that 10 years from now people will pay $10,000 in cash to be castrated just in order to be affected by *something*.
It’s a satisfying complexity of things to synthesize. Most movies, novels and poems leave you with nothing to contemplate, or discuss.
What does it take for people to look up from one life to all lives, to move from satisfied to Satyagraha? What would right action look like?
I know there’ve been an awful lot of people to keep track of but still, whole lifetimes unheard of often astounds. Such a variety of lives. Such as the playwright mentioned in the movie, Bertolt Brecht who also wrote Mack the Knife. Huh.
Complex life and intersections. From 4 directions reference within a couple weeks Mrs Firth’s Tavern of 1830s Bytown.
Then the idea of performance vs. living from two disparate directions.
Environment General On the Peace Path Ottawa Photos Thirteen Thursday
- Mer Bleu Bog is the remains of ancient rivers turned into peat moss, some 5 meters thick and accumulating for 8000 years.
- Search for peat moss and you turn up links on mining it! Here’s a beautiful thing. Let’s kill it and burn it. Didn’t we already learn that lesson in Ireland? It’s in a weird position of being protected ecosystem, until we raid its resources, much like Algonquin Park, trumpeted as wild and free, while being logged. Humans are weird.
Since 1971 with the Ramsar convention started in Iran and signed by 168 nations, there has been recognition of this area as one of a few (just over 2000) of the world’s unique unique wetlands.
- How amazing that timing was. A shutter-click later they had flown off from wherever they came from.
- The bird calls and lack of traffic sound percolating in, only wind in the grasses and trees made for a restful spot. It’s been too long since we were here last but you can’t get there by city bus, and it would make for an awfully long cycle. We tacked on the sidetrip to a car rental and took a wonderful break time.
- It takes a lot of space to breathe.
The 8600 acres conversation area has areas of sandbar islands (with chainlink around trees because there are beavers) and open water areas and open areas of bog that resemble the area in the James Bay Basin.
- It also has area houses with signs saying “Dump the Dump Now”. How close is the plan to put a regional dump near the conservation area?
Evidence of people in the information signs and walkway are more welcome than the air traffic. Surely there must be a way to make engines quiet and our impact less big.
- The larch is one of the few needle trees that is also deciduous
- The berries are changing in the shorter days but the sky was entirely blue. The last time we were at Mer Bleu just at the second last curve of the boardwalk, it clouded over suddenly and started to rain.
- That upper right corner picture is cotton grass again, in case you were wondering.
- Funny how some march over the boardwalk in a timed powerwalk as if they were in any mall and others chat in a church-voice hush, while others use their outdoor voice as if they were at a ballgame. But mostly, there are few people.
- I’m not sure what the plant on the left is. Dad taught me the one on the right is called Indian tobacco. No one else seems to use that name for it. It’s a variety of Curly Dock. Some species are native, some not. They are poisonous to sheep, cattle and chickens, but humans can digest them. “When compared to spinach, curly dock has “… 1/3 more protein, iron, calcium, potassium, beta carotene and phosphorus.” [source]
- As a little kid I collected it up when it turned browner than that fern above, darker than an old penny, and rolled it in maple leaves and smoked it. The smoke was sweet and amusing but I didn’t get the point I didn’t think.
- This was to be Wordless Wednesday but given all the words, maybe we’ll bump it to Thursday 13 instead.
. Cedars and pines thin out and redden to a degree over winter but the larch, or tamarack, goes completely bald.
Quote: ““Democracy is not just the right to vote, it is the right to live in dignity.” ― Naomi Klein
Our mint’s come back. [Wordless Wednesday]
Crocuses and poetry. Better post this photo quick since there’s a winter storm advisory on. [Nicole Brossard just won the 8th ever winner of the littérature francophone Benjamin Fondane]
Noteable Quoteable: “foliage of word for word/gentleness that evades meaning/plunge into the dark/with metronome”~ Nicole Brossard, p. 6 of Notebook of Roses and Civilization as translated by Robert Majzels and Erín Moure.