Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Simon Stern hung out with his immigration group.

He was Jewish, had emigrated from Europe. He was a successful businessman and could have afforded various abodes in various places. The Lower East Side of Manhattan had many people of his background in the late nineteen forties. He lived there, and never went above fourteenth street. Until.

Until he had a non-logical visitor. He was at his place of business, locked behind two doors, the outside door and an inner door. A man appeared to talk to him who was from Spain in the period when Jews had the choice of converting or being killed by church and state.

The man told him a story from the Spain of that period. From the story, Simon Stern knew that he had to take action to save the Jews of Europe who had been in the death camps. Save them in ways small and big. Food, housing, spiritual healing. This involved going above fourteenth street.

Some might have wondered how the storyteller got to where Simon Stern was, through time and space and two door. Some might have wondered whether the story the man told was true. The narrator of the novel says Simon Stern was smart enough to not wonder about how or about factness. Simon Stern was smart enough to know that the question isn't whether the story is true, but whether it's for you. He knew the story was for him and changed everything about his life.

--The book is Arthur Cohen's novel "In the Days of Simon Stern"
The way the buildings were built, I could hear this neighbor living a bit. I couldn't hear content, couldn't hear what he said or what he was doing, but I could hear that he was talking, that he was moving around.

One thing I knew about him is he grew up in Scotland. Another thing I knew, in a whole other part of my brain, is in Scotland New Year's Eve, called Hogmanay, or the Hog, is huge--that anyplace you've been where New Year's Eve is huge, it's huger in Scotland.

I noticed, on New Year's Eve in California, this neighbor stayed up all night, talking quietly with friends.

I wondered if that would be the minimum for adults from a huge New Year's Eve culture--with friends, all night.

It sounded quietly pleasant. I didn't stay up all night, but when I woke a little, it sounded like these folks had things covered in a good way--maybe five friends talking of a little this and a little that, at three a.m, five a.m., seven.

He sold his house near the top of the market. Not when the market started to slow down, but when many thought houses here would go up for years to come.

Within months after he sold, the decline started. I wondered if quietly and convivially listening to time change helped him know what time it was in a practical way.
I will act like I think I would act if I were happy. You will act like you believe my act. The grey mist swirling around our feet is our lonely souls.
Two descriptions of the same transition are "I was wrong" and "I just learned something."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's destructive.

It's a way through.

We could stay here and learn to be here better.

Sit and invite thought.

A thought that helps is as good as a blatant open miracle.

Everything's different and better and yet people don't have to argue about what the rules of reality are. They can live inside the new thought without consciously rewiring their brains. A way through is found with no cut down trees, we just branch out.
There they are, in a city far away, walking on asphalt like me.
It seems a shame to call it a mushroom cloud, when mushrooms are less intrusive. Mushrooms in the wild, two people can look in their direction and one person sees them and the other doesn't. Nuclear explosions aren't like that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A fine thing is to know enough about a situation to think subtly about it, and to use the ability to think subtly to make change for the general good.
You're from somewhere else. You know something else, and that's what we need.
The people in the waiting room in the play "No Exit" are all fairly smart but they are really different kinds of people. Each thinks of the others, "How could I be in a waiting room with someone like that?"

Although they are all reasonably smart, they have in common being slow to understand where they are. That is because of the other thing they have in common--being transcendently self-centered.

The quote from the play that gets around, "Hell is other people" says where they are; in hell. Really.

I like that Jean-Paul Sartre, who wrote the play, is famous for that quote. Jean-Paul Sartre did a large amount of writing and he did much of it in cafes, in the midst of other people. Other people are hell; other people provide a good background buzz; other people are good to have around to talk to during breaks.
Hanging out at a friend's sheep farm, I quickly noticed that sheep aren't smart and slowly noticed that I can't make wool.
Morning, early, the same-old, same-old gets fully going. Listen for the different and make slight movements in that direction. Daylight feels like a new idea in your hand.
A. I like her.

B. Liking her is fun.

C is pretty deep and also good.

Here's connecting with you, kid.
I wonder if people from Norway and people from Chile get together and talk about living in tall, skinny countries. I wonder if people from Canada and people from Mexico get together and talk about having a large, crazy neighbor.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Always something to think about when I'm relentlessly judgmental.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

If most of the airplanes of one side in a war are destroyed as the war starts, bombed on the ground by the other side, that makes things difficult for the side that lost the planes.

We used to stop talkine around 11 in the morning when the SAC bombers flew over because they were so loud that it was impossible to hear.

Physically, the bombers were from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. I lived in Dayton. Strategically, they came from an idea about being able to strike back with nuclear boms even while being mass attacked with nuclear bombs. The idea was to have bombers with nuclear bombs in them always in the air at all times so that if the Soviet Union sent nuclear bombs exploding our way, Strategic Air Command bombers would be in the air already and hustle to the Soviet Union to destroy things and people there.

Sometimes, I feel like we the people are getting a little bit saner. Dayton is now known for where a treaty was signed that was important in stopping the fighting in the former Yugoslavia. The treaty was negotiated in Dayton, specifically at the secure location of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Abraham's Visions is a group for Israeli, Jews, Palestinians, and Moslems who live in the United States. They conducted a tour for those folks to the Balkans. The Balkans is a place which is not perfect. The Balkans is a place where people used to be shooting at each other on a daily basis and now they aren't. Abraham's Visions took some Israelis, Jews, Palestinians and Moslems to see that situation, the used to shoot, now not shooting situation.

Diane Di Prima wrote a poem that says, much more than once, "THE ONLY WAR THAT MATTERS IS THE WAR AGAINST THE IMAGINATION." Responding strategically to that, you need the other thing, not a war, that favors the imagination, that favors many imaginations. Taking people to see, not Utopia, but improvement, could shift their imaginations.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

*[added author's name] It might be useful to get some give-away pens printed with "First, do no harm.--Hippocrates" and leave them laying around, a few at a time, in places where improvers gather.
The thing about the Boalts is that they met on their way to graduate schools in countries other than their own. Later she founded a graduate school in honor of him, the law school of the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall.

They met on a ship going to Europe where he was going to study law and she was going to study music. They married. Time passed. He worked professionally. She provided a rootin', tootin' developing area with cultural influence. He worked as a lawyer and judge. He died. She decided firmly that the university at Berkeley needed a law school. The building it was housed in was named Boalt Hall. Later the building was torn down as the school got bigger. Later still the whole school was named Boalt Hall.Love and law and making it so kids didn't need to leave to study.

I went to a symposium put on by some women of Boalt Hall that included talking about how the legal system might better hear what poor women say when they speak in a way that is natural to them--about how the legal system might process different sounds into power. I think that as law schools go, Boalt has a little more underlying music.

--information about the Boalts and Boalt Hall from a small book put out by the University of California system about buildings named for people throughout the system. The unstated message of the book to donors--think big.
Writing in the program about producing "SF Follies," John Bisceglie noted, "The term 'less is more' definitely does not apply when it comes to glitter, so I purchased thirty pounds of it!"

Meditate on what you could do with thirty pounds of glitter. Would that be enough?
* [added his name] Going back to something like making pinch pots, you become a different shape.

Paulus Berenson, a big name in pottery, wrote a whole book about making pinch pot, which potters tend to think of as how they learned, not what they do. Not throwing a pot, the usual potter thing, but rolling a ball of clay and pinching it.

--the book is "Finding One's Way with Clay: Pinched Pottery and the Color of Clay."
* [same day rewrite] Hazel Henderson writes on the virtues of a steady state economy. I find Hazel Henderson's writing difficult to understand on a sentence by sentence basis. Part of the general idea is that if we keep our dependence on an economy that grows all the time, we will keep eating up the earth's life faster than itcan renew itself. I need to understand Hazel Henderson. I don't understand partly because, realio, trulio, she could write more clearly, but also because I have only lived inside the widespread worship of economic growth, which has worked for me, but may be a not-good idea for us.

Does she say how to get there from her? Further research is needed. I see by www.hazelhenderson.com I haven't even tried to read "Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy." Worth a try
Loving this specific continent, the way it breathes, the way it shifts.
You could say that people should get access to weapons in proportion to the proven intelligence in using them, in which case the entire human species should have no weapons because our record in dealing with them is abysmal. We keep pushing each other into various abysses for no reason, with weapons.
It was fun seeing a father and his son, about ten, hurrying eagerly toward the entrance of the Wonder-Con, the comics convention, because it was clear they both looked forward to it in the same way and didn't have to make the usual allowance for the limitations of the other one's age.
Look! It's the weather! Again!
I like Eliot Porter's photograph of an elephant and a new born calf because it's a reminder that we mammals all start out in air being wet and a bit wrinkly and someplace completely different.

--Photograph in Eliot Porter's "African Experience"
The way the light falls on some pipes on the outside of a building. Oh, yeah, everything is beautiful. I forgot.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tracery in cathedrals is a consequence of beings with the motor skills of humans living on a planet with trees.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Use less; learn more.
Work within as is.
Shiny and bright-colored, plastic and metallic are Christmas decorations and the insides of computers. Green is frequent.
The Truth about Everything Explained in Objects--I'd love to live near a museum like that.
I read a short story written in Japan about two men who didn't know each other who met late at night by a wall with a plum branch coming other it and had a verbal argument.

The narrator said the other man was drunk. I thought maybe they both were. It was a hostile encounter. It was clear neither was afraid of violence either from the other or from other people out late at night.

I didn't understand a lot about the story and I didn't know if that was because I didn't know the culture, or because they were both drunk, and drunks are non-understandable.

What stayed with me was the beauty of the plum branch. It was very very there and beautiful.

--The story is by Ibuse Masuji and is in his "Salamander and Other Stories."