Sunday, June 27, 2010

To be in a location that most people like you don't even think is a location can be very educational.

"Garbage in, garbage out" is a saying about computers largely true about people.

Also true is "different in, different out." Noticing the elsewhere in detail, you can bring back knowledge of which there is a local shortage.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Three entities walked into a bar. The first entity said, "X." The second entity said, "Y." Then the third entity said "Z." Because of X and Y and the world we share, Z was funny.

I live where 1, 2, 3 is big in story telling.

Goldilocks interacted with three kind of things in the house of the three bears--chairs, bowls of porridge, and beds, and she interacted with three instances of each thing.

"But, Grandmother, what big eyes you have!" said Little Red Riding Hood to the wolf disguised as her grandmother, who the wolf has eaten. "But, Grandmother, what big ears you have!"

On the third comment from Little Red Riding Hood, things change. "But, Grandmother, what big teeth you have." "The better to eat you with, my dear," the wolf says and tries to, stopped by a luckily passing woodsman with axe who kills him. Sometimes the woodsman cuts open the wolf, and Grandmother pops out okay.

There were three brothers and the third one was thought to be stupid, but the story shows he wasn't. That's the way it goes around here often. 1, 2, 3. One, two, different.

When I was a kid, I loved "Danny Kaye's Around the World Storybook," which came out of his work for Unicef and meeting kids all over the world.

I loved it, and I got confused by some of the stories. What was happening in the stories was clear; cause and effect was clear, but they weren't one, two, three stories. They went on. Events just kept happening. There wasn't the repitition, and the quick ending.

In the string of events in these stories I wasn't sure how the stories knew when they were over.

I thought about those stories later when I learned about the word Byzantine as a bague insult. While my ancestors in Western Europe were functioning on the village level only, because the Western Roman Empire had fallen and because some parts of Western Europe had never been part of the Roman Empire, the eastern Roman Empire, called by the west the Byzantine Empire, continued for roughly a thousand years longer.

The Roman Empire got so big it was divided into two parts--the western part with Rome as the capital and the eastern part with Constantinople (now Istanbul) as the capital. The western part fell apart in the 400's, as we now number years. The eastern part fell apart in the 1400's, as we now number years.

So when my ancestors were thinking village, and something happened, and something else happened, and then something like those two but different happened, and let's talk about it, the eastern part of the Roman Empire was more organized than that, organized above that level.

That made complexity possible, and stories that went on and on, and plots with layers, some revealed later.

The people in the east didn't call their part of the empire, the part that still existed, the Byzantine empire. They called it the Roman empire, because it was a continuously existing big chunk of the Roman Empire. People from those different parts of the world can still disagree about that.

The eastern Roman empire had a big court and beauracracy. You could plan and plot happens if you understood how the court and bureaucracy worked and you were lucky.

Long stories were possible. Stories that went on and on and stopped for a while just to take a break.

The implied insult in talked about Byzantine, as in Byzantine plots, is sneaky, underhanded, over-complex. Which is how bureaucratic manuveuring can be, and can look if you lose. Which is how bureaucratic manuveuring could easily look to someone who'd always lived in a village, where what happened was mostly fairly evident as it happened.

I feel like the longer stories that sort of confused me in the "Danny Kaye Around the World Storybook" were the product of a society that was more widely organized for longer in the 400-1400 time.

You could achieve much of the effect of saying Byzantine as an insult, complex in a sneaky way, complex for no good reason, by saying "bureaucratic" with a sneer, among people who have experience of bureaucracy. Which isolated villagers often didn't.

The complex plotting of the eastern Roman empire was often like nasty bureaucratic plotting, with murder. Often murder of relatives, because they were blocking the path to ultimate power. That kind of thing often happened in the western Roman empire, also, when it existed. But it wouldn't be labeled as Byzantine. It would be presented as non-central. The Roman Empire (the whole thing when united, the western part later) accomplished a lot, united a big chunk of lands and peoples, spread culture, and it's too bad that there succession struggles were sneaky, nasty and brutal sometimes.

"Byzantine" as insult implies sneakiness was the essence of what they did. But the reality was that having organized government over a large area makes things possible that aren't possible when villages are more or less on their own in many ways.

Longer, more complex stories are possible.

Oh, those sneaky other kinds of people doing what people we identify with do with a different style that makes it so much worse that it is wholey different. Those other kinds of people are essentially the worst things they do, and the worst aspects of the good things they do. We and people were identify are essentially our best intentions and the best ways our intentions work out.

I met a women visual artist in the village square who said she thought repitition in current art is very male. But it bored her to repeat so she didn't so she got less coverage, but she felt whole making the different thing she'd never done before. That no one had done before.

She said what would happen would be a guy artist would make a series, lots of, maybe 27 or fifty, grey painting or seemingly similar jagged sculptures, and there would be slight variations in them. And the male critics got used to what he was doing and got into noticing the variations, and made up a bunch of words that valued the large group of similarities.

She would make something unlike anything she'd done before, and feel inside herself enpowered, new, electrified. But that isn't the kind of thing critics feel comfortable noticing. They want a task sort of like the kid's print publication game where two pictures are slightly different and the kid is supposed to find all five differences.

She wanted to do something like recreating the world.

What is the story about? Getting through the familiar 1,2,3 pattern again?

"The Color Purple" by Alice Walker sold many copies copies and got a lot of guff thrown in her direction.

Some men said loudly that the book said all men were brutes who beat up women. I didn't see that in the book at all. There was in the book a man who beat women, but, and I think this begins to be what created the problem, he wasn't all that important as a character.

What was "The Color Purple" about?

In a special edition of "The Color Purple" published after its great success and Alice Walker getting lots of negativity thrown her way, she wrote an introduction that pointed out that the central passage of "The Color Purple," clear indicated as central by the title, says or implies that the book is about God and about how people in the book might relate to God.

One woman character said to another that if you walk by the color purple in a field where God has left it for you because you got the man on your eyeball, you are in deep error.

This passage implies that women know about God and know how to talk to each other about God, and that the oppressor's grey painting should not take over your life.

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit walked into a bar.

The Father said, "X" in a grown-god kind of way. The Son said, "Y," like someone who has been there. The Holy Spirit said nothing. Butthe air beneath the air moved like a breath, like a tap of wings close up. There was a lightening such as is brough about by spirits sometimes and sometimes by laughter. A lighening like a pause in the gardener's work when the garden talk back with silence.

We walked out of the bar closer to being what we are.
"Nice city, nice city." Pat it on the head. "Do your clever tricks. Don't snarl. Don't bite."

Friday, June 25, 2010

The eyes, the gestures, the words.

On Friday of Pride Week, near the corner of Castro and Market, two women were utterly flirting with each other and utterly analyzing the structure of the oil industry. They seemed to know a lot about Big Oil, flirtation, and multi-tasking.

Meanwhile, some of the oil from the BP Gulf of Mexico blow up was moving to Florida beaches.

Walker Percy wrote a novel that has many excellent qualities, but my favorite thing about it is its title: "Love Among the Ruins."
&. I like the ampersand. It means the same thing "and" does, but seems elegant and old, as if it knows things about andness that "and" has never guessed. Together with style. Together with upsy-daisy surprise.
Do not rub it in. Sop it off, gently.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Francesco Bernardone, who we call in English Saint Francis of Assisi was named after France because that's where his father, Peter Bernardone, a cloth merchant, made money. His father was all about making money.

His father was away on a months long business trip in France when the future Saint Francis was born. His mother name him after John the Baptist, who announced and baptized Jesus and lived in the desert and preached and ate honey and locusts, dirt-poor, sand-poor and into it.

When Dad got home and found that his son was named after a man who was poor and who liked being poor as a necessary basis for his career, he was furious. He couldn't change the name the child had been baptized with, but he insisted that he be called Francesco, which was an unusual name that meant Frenchman, or affectionate nickname for Frenchman.

People in that time and place knew that names predicted and affecte what a person became. The baby's father wanted him to plunge into the market. But he plunged into poverty and preaching like John the Baptist, although he seemed cheerier

--information from "Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi"
No matter what you do, it won't be enough.

No matter what you do, it's exactly enough.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"You are too much," they say with an edge. Go ahead and be what you are even if it seems to some like too much, and the world will shift to make room.

I think a lot of people like me and me using so much stuff is giving ourselves booby prizes for not doing what we most want and letting ourselves know what we most know.

More ourselvesness, less Earth devastation. Worth a try.
I heard the woman walking past saying to her friend, "Always look for the peace."

Maybe she said, "Always look for the piece."

Always look for the piece of peace that is available in this moment if reached for.
An excellent banjo player in the BART station was playing an upbeat version of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with lots of notes and no sadness. That must be the version the guys heard as they marched off to war.
Red, soft, hopeful, beautiful. I was thinking of sending you four thousand roses.

Monday, June 21, 2010

If I do not worry, how will I structure my mental time?
We meet, and there's a click like Lego blocks fitting together.

What follows is not a tiny toy wall abuilding. It's a large space of peace, not the kind of peace that sits on bad stuff and keeps it quiet, but the kind that is made of good stuff and lets more good stuff happen. Peace that is kind in a big way and all around.
It's much like healing, and I like it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday morning running together.

One said, "I was sick last night."

The other said in tone, "Too much information," and in words, "Really? What was wrong?" The first reponded to the words and not the tone.
He is angry, and he's correct.

He lets his anger sweep him to saying incorrect things inside the overall correct thing he's saying.

This gives people who don't want to know that his big observation is correct a fairly easy way to scurry away from it.

The more the big anger matters, teh more the smaller errors are a disservice to humanity's group learning.

The more the someone else's big anger matters, the more I should hang with learning from it and not take the smaller errors as an excuse to got back to sleep.
I need to pray and open all my axon ears, all the ears inside me, to hear the answer I don't expect.

Friday, June 18, 2010

You play dumb to fit in. You are partly turned off when much depends on your noticing a particular thing at a particular time and reacting from your smartest place.

Entropy will happen when it has to. Don't run down to meet it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Drop the covering, and meet this moment as myself.
An institution I'm loyal to is the whole world and that it doesn't fall apart. There are various ways to help with that. Invisible flags ripple in the invisible, feelable air.

The flags stand for ideas we're not smart enough to know yet, good futures that we help along a little in ways beyond our conscious smartness, like we're a wisp of air helping some cloth defy gravity.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One man talking to another on the bus said, "She orders carrot cake. She takes two bites out of it and says she'll save the rest for later. She's a woman. A man would have eaten the whole thing right then.

"We walk out of the restaurant, and she's babying the carrot cake. She runs for a cab. She trips, and as she falls, she protects the carrot cake. Her knee is split open; the carrot cake is fine."

Sophia Loren grew up poor in a war. Later, when she was rich in peace, some of her jewelry was stolen. Reporters asked her how she felt, and she said, "My mother taught me, 'Never cry over anything that can't cry over you.'"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is it okay for an intelligent, fully adult human woman to feel pleasure?

A question dealt with in "Sleep, Pale Sister" by Joanne Harris.

Answer, yes, okay and much more than okay, but some people really don't like it because they are themselves underdeveloped.

Joanne Harris wrote "Chocolate;" she's good at pleasure.

"Chocolate" is about a woman who moves to a small uptight, shut-down to enjoyment town in France and opens some of its residents to the possibilities of pleasure by running a shop where she sells all kinds of chocolate.

Before I read "Sleep, Pale Sister," I had wondered about two things in Victorian England which Harris puts together in her book.

One is John Ruskin, big-deal art critic, who didn't consummate his marriage with Effie Gray on their wedding night because he was surprised and repelled that she (or any woman) had pubic hair. He came up with various other reasons to not consummate their marriage for the six years they were together, and later fell in love with Rose La Touche, when she was eleven. He never remarried. Effie Gray left Ruskin for an artist they both knew, John Millais. She seems to have been then happy in body and mind, both of which Millais seemed to like.

Another thing I wondered about that's in "Sleep, Pale Sister" is how dead some of the women in Pre-Raphaelite paintings look. The Pre-Raphaelites, a late Victorian movement in painting and writing, thought they were going back to medievel art values, but people in medieval art didn't look like that.

A lot of the women in Pre-Raphaelite paintings look the way fashion models look now when fashion is going throught one of its heroin addict chic phases.

Many Victorian woman of privilege were addicted to heroin's close relatives, opium and laudandum, so they might have had that lookd.

The look is unhealthy looking pale skin, dead eyes surrounded by darkness and staring straight ahead at something that looks to be awful to stare straight ahead at.

In "Sleep, Pale Sister," a painter of images like that falls in love, he feels, with an orphan girl taken care of by aunts. He paints her repeatedly in passive child ways, and marries her, with her aunts blessing as young as he can get away.

When she respond in bed like she's having pleasure and wanting more, he freaks, or reveals what a freak she is.

The very special Vicotorian situation doesn't feel, underneath it all, very far away.

Are we free to? Are we free to go through? Are we free to go through the whole way?

We're more free than we were in many places. However, how much do we cover up and contain to avoid freaking someone, to avoid finding out what a freak they are?

In English, the word for love shared two letters with the word for control. Evolve has all the letters of love, with victory and the most common letter in English left over. Love, change, and growth, together commonly--victory for all. Meet you at I-level, where we both have fully developed I's that are fully alive.

Muriel Rukeyser wrote, "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split apart."

I think that's true both ways. If one woman told the truth about what has felt bad, if one woman told the truth about what has felt good, we're in a different place.

Approaching either kind of truth can get freaky reactions--"Are you okay?" the woman is asked when she's speaking of, being, far better than okay, and the questioner, perhaps feels the routine low okayness widely accepted as the best we can do going away.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Someone bought a coffee to go and put in the opening in the plastic lid a straw.

Time passed. The person and the coffee and the to go coffee cup are not here.

Here on the sidewalk in the low-angle bright morning sunlight is the plastic lid and the straw, still together, looking kind of like a smal version of many public sculpture made of geometric shapes--circle and line in this case.

As with many sculptures like that, I don't much care for the part of the sculpture that is made of solid material. But I can feel the beauty in the shadow it makes, oval and line, pointing the way as the day starts. It's hard to know what it's pointing the way toward, but it seems hopeful.
Why is that, and why is that so beautiful?

Why does X exist, and how does X exist so stylishly? A planet with no gratuitous glory would be different than this one.
Theodore Sturgeon's book "More Than Human" tells about nine people who have had horrible childhoods and who aren't eager to connect with other human beings being drawn together and liking the contact.

Eight of the nine have psychic powers. Gradually, they notice that they are are to work together to make things better, that they are as a group working together and liking each other and being unusually talented, the next stage of evolution.

They notice that such a united talented entity could do good or bad and that the function of the one among them who is not psychically talented is to be the conscience.

Theodore Sturgeon is science fiction/fantasy writer who by nature rights about conditions that don't exist in the world as we now know it. When I read "More Than Human," all the horrible childhoods and all the psychic powers didn't strike me in a science fiction/fantasy way--they seemed realistic.

What felt not realistic was nine. "Nine!" I kept muttering in disbelief. Two, or three, or four seems like a lot for that deep, powerful connection, but nine?

In "More Than Human," it's nine, and it works.

Nine is a powerful number in a base ten society. So is ten.

The theatre director Peter Brooks in his book "The Empty Space" talks about an exercise for actors working together. Take two lines of poetry like "To be or not to be. That is the question." and assign one word to each of ten actors.

"The actors stand in a closed circle and endeavour to play the words one after the other, trying to produce a living phrase. This is so difficul that it instantly reveals even to the most unconvinced actor how closed and insensitive he is to his neighbour. When after long work the sentence suddenly flows, a thrilling freedom is experienced by everyone. They see in a flash the possibility of group playing, and the obstacles to it."

"Group playing, and the obstacles to it" reminds me of the reporter asking Gandhi what he thought of Western civilization and Gandhi saying he thought it would be a good idea.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Two high school athletes on the bus were talking about a third, not present.

--"He could be really good, but he keeps getting injured."

--"He won't hydrate enough, so he cramps up."

Fate and free will and drink plenty of liquids.
It's hot today. Unusual body shapes are more revealed than usual. A cassette tape, fully unwound and free of its cassett, is strew around the bus stop and glittering in the bright sun. All music from cars sounds like it's commenting on how hot it is.

By 3 in the afternoon, everyone outside will be in a state of thought not possible.
War again, war again, jiggedy jig, and I was bummed. It never ends, I thought.

At the library, I saw a woman who seemed to me to have the air of someone who had attended many demonstrations against war and for fairness. What she was doing at that moment at the library was helping a grown-up learn to read. There's always something to do, I thought.
Solstice. Soul's test.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Herd knowledge takes us into the corral of what we're used to.

Find knowledge that roams free, that goes where it smslls good.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Life form activists sometimes note that it's easier to get people interested in protecting animals that have personalities, or that are easy to imagine having human persoanlities--mammals not worms.

But I think a lot of that is training. Little kids are fascinated by goo that includes many small life forms, by turning over the rock and seeing what scurries and what wiggles in place.

At least some kids like little, non-affable life when they are themselves relatively little. It's a wise investment in the future not to train them out of that feeling of affection and fascination. Hold those yucks. "What are you noticing, scientist?"

If their liking for tiny is interrupted, maybe they'll grow up to found the Little Critters Club that loves and protects life's teeming foundations.
Sometimes I think of whatever in my head, and I'm basically going "Hate. Hate. Hate." and it gets boring.

I have to make myself and the whatever so narrow to fit us into the tiny intensity of "Hate. Hate. Hate."

A solution of one sort is hanging with people who hate the same whatever. Another solution is finding, reading, listening to people who don't care about whatever much either way. Bigger world.
They're all so important. They walk like they're important, with an office-appropriate strut.

How can they all be that important? Doesn't importance require that multiple people be visibly less important to show the importance of the top cogs?

I think they all value the same kind of importance. And they are all trying to act like they are that, cutting through the air molecules on their way, sometimes, to minor errands.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Most of the Earth is underground.

All of the earth of the Earth is close to the top of the ground or is the top of the ground.

We're not going to drill and find something that supports life like dirt. Her skin is beautiful.
--"Okay, you can't just break out into dance on the sidewalk."

--"Yes, I can."

--Sidewalk voices, one woman to another

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

To get in there before the awful thing happens and create alternatives to the awful thing happening that are strong, that are alluring, that are good in their results--this is appreciated. This is prevention.

The early earthworm keeps making new spaces in the earth that prevent it from being packed down and dead, that allow possibilites that the earthworm couldn't imagine.

For spacious dirt, that seeds can get into, sing as you burrow, burrow as you sing.
What gives? I wonder. What receives?