Posts Tagged With: politics

Into the Wild

My apologies to Jon Krakauer. I am unabashedly stealing his title for my own non-commercial use. I won’t do so without giving him due credit, nor for that matter without recommending you read his (to me) wonderful little book about the life and passing of Christopher McCandless. It’s the sort of book that could change your life if you allow it.

I commandeer the title though because of something it implies, mainly that “the wild” is something that can be gone into and out of. From the perspective of civilization, I suppose there is a certain amount of truth in this. My home to the naked eye is more domestic than the hillside behind it, which itself is more domestic than the larger expanses of forest in the mountains to the east, which are more domestic than the great expanses of “wilderness” in Canada, etc. “Wild” in this sense means a place inhabited by no or few people or at least less-impacted by the hand of humanity. Fair enough.

However, this seems to me a terribly misleading idea. Certainly what we humans do tends to leave a footprint. Often a big muddy one all over Ma Nature’s pretty carpet. We don’t like admitting that we have the tendency to muck up the joint but only the most delusional truly deny it. It’s obvious just about everywhere one looks. Even those “wild” places often carry the marks of our passing. My favorite trout streams are wreathed by railroad beds of past industry and often harbor fish not native to the region. We are a herd of bulls in a very small china shop.

Still, to impact something is not the same as controlling it. The processes (and ultimately “laws”) of the natural world remain intact. Dammed (damned?) rivers still have a way of finding the sea or evaporating into the air. Deserts blooming with the desired produce of mankind stop blooming as soon as the water supply is cut off. Weeds pulled from my garden have a way of coming back. Again and again and again. We may channel certain natural forces, even alter them incredibly, but in the end we never really control them. Reality remains undomesticated and our attempts to domesticate it are futile at best or self-destructive at worst (and unfortunately, destructive to other creatures as well).

I am trying to shift my paradigm. To see the world as it is. To see that “the wild” may be altered but not conquered. To see that my domesticated home is filled with wild creatures–from the birds that nest on it to bees that nest in it to the billions of unseen creepy crawlies that as I type are swarming over my keyboard and desk and hands and all the rest of my body. To see that I need what they need–air and water and habitat. To see that the physical and chemical and organic processes that govern them also govern me and all my kind. To see that I have made my home in the Great Wild. I cannot go into the wild because I am already there. I was born into it and so were you. It is to our mutual peril when we think otherwise.

Categories: Miscellany, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You Need You to Shut Up Right Now

Yes you. Please shut up.

I am talking to you:

You, the Chicken Little screeching “The sky is falling!”

You, in the midst of your tirade against the evil who ever it is that you are certain is evil and is going to be the downfall of tribe, nation, or world.

You, so wed to your ideology, philosophy, theology, or maybe just the lovely sound of your own incessant chirping that you can’t see outside the walls of the nice little nesting box you have built for yourself.

You, who is certain that naysayers against your near-divine diatribes must be utterly and likely irrevocably stupid to dare have a different opinion than your own.

You, who are certain the brown people or white people or liberal people or conservative people or the rich people or the poor people or Muslim people or Christian people or secular people are the problem.

You, who are certain that whatever the problem you are not it.

WAIT! Some days that is me. I chirp and moan and whine and point fingers. I look down on difference in behavior and perspective and opinion. I open my mouth instead of my ears…and more importantly my heart.

There are problems in the world for certain–human, environmental, economic. Ignoring them isn’t helpful. Neither generally is our name-calling, finger-pointing, and pontificating. And most certainly our fear-mongering, self-obsession, and close-mindedness not only do not help us find solutions but create even more problems.

So, if all we can do is any of the above, we really do need to just shut up. But if we have something positive to contribute, a potential solution to a problem, a success to share, let’s do that. Over a beer or a glass of tea. With an awareness that whatever the negative circumstance we are dealing with, more negativity is unlikely to solve it. If we can open our mouths, then surely we can open our eyes and ears and minds and hearts as well. Yeah. Let’s do that.

Categories: Mind, Miscellany, Spirit | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Seditious Thoughts: A short vent on the absurdity of The Way Things Are

Consider this the yammering of a frustrated soul. Or perhaps a deranged mind. I will warn you in advance there is nothing profound here. Of course, readers are seldom in danger of being hit by stray bits of profundity when it comes to my writing.

I find myself thinking seditious thoughts. Such thinking is dangerous. It can get you on lists. It can get you in prison. It has gotten more than a few people dead. I doubt my particular sedition will get me any of those things, but it should. If enough people start asking certain questions a lot of things would change. Business and government would never be the same. I mention them together because only a little digging reveals they are seldom far apart.

Don’t worry. I’m not gonna blow anything up or shoot anyone. Bombs and bullets destroy buildings and kill people but they never touch ideas. That’s why the wars to end all wars never do. That’s why right here in America there are people who proudly proclaim themselves Nazis–swastika flags and all–sixty-eight years after the defeat of Nazi Germany. Ideas are bulletproof. I wonder if many of them, buttressed by fear or out-sized self-interest, can’t even be bested by better ideas.

I would like to blow “the system” up though. That’s right, I said it. I’d like to radically change The Way Things Are in the world, and I see no way for that to happen except for a demolition of the current system and the thinking that has produced it. Some will label it hopeless idealism. But many ideals seem hopeless at one time or another yet still find a tangible way into the world. So what is so hopeless about hoping for a world where money doesn’t rule? Where it can’t buy lawmakers nor influence the administration of law? An actual rule of law as opposed to the appearance of such we have now?  Or a world  where violence isn’t seen as a solution? Or a world where our common humanity outweighs all the things like race, religion, and nationality we use to divide us?

And maybe most importantly, why is it hopeless to hope the general population and the leaders of governments  come to understand that our current economic model is completely and utterly insane. That’s right, insane. It is a logical and physical absurdity to think that an economy can grow infinitely in a finite world. But no leader in his or her right mind dares touch that one it seems, and we common people tend to not worry as long as we get a share of the bread and circuses that numb us from even thinking about it. Yet this inherently illogical idea is at the root of so many of our other issues. Perhaps money really does make the world the go round. And certainly the love of it is at the root of all sorts of evil.

So yes, I am thinking seditious thoughts. Not especially profound ones and certainly not new ones. But seditious they are. And eventually, when enough of us are thinking them, things will change.

Categories: Miscellany | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sometimes The Best Thing To Do…

Is nothing.

Every flood eventually abates. Every fire burns itself out.

It can be quite difficult to believe that the most productive start to a day where one is pressed for every moment is moments spent sitting quietly in meditation, doing nothing particularly at all. Or that  the best response in the face of loud and vocal opposition is silence. That battles can actually be won not so much by surrender, but by choosing a course other than fighting.

What has the prevailing philosophy of constant activity, argument, and battle accomplished us?  A mind-numbing cacophony of shouting voices growing ever louder. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I’ll see your tit and raise you a tat. Brother against brother. A world of bombs and bullets and death-dealing drones. A world where the blind beat the blind and both are buried in a ditch. A world of “us” versus “them”. A human world consuming itself and its planetary home on an altar of consumption. In all our knowledge we never seem to learn, nor in all our progress to actually progress.

There is a time for doing, but there is also a time for not doing. There is a time for speaking, but likely even more time to keep silence. Wisdom will know the difference, but She is a stranger to many if not most of us–an illusive sprite, a legendary wisp, a figment of the imagination of industrialized society. I catch glimpses of Her flitting among the trees, or dancing at the edge of the firelight, teasing me. She whispers in the wind and I must be utterly silent  to hear, and find even more silence to comprehend. 

Quiet. Deep breaths. Listen to the rain patter on the roof!

Categories: Mind, Miscellany, Spirit | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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