....this is some of the best
I've ever received.
Ten days ago I quoted Christian Wiman who wrote:
"What you must realize, what you must even come to praise, is the fact that there is no right way that is going to become apparent to you once and for all. The most blinding illumination that strikes and perhaps radically changes your life will be so attenuated and obscured by doubts and dailiness that you may one day come to suspect the truth of that moment at all. The calling that seemed so clear will be lost in echoes of questionings and indecision; the church that seemed to save you will fester with egos, complacencies, banalities; the deepest love of your life will work itself like a thorn in your heart until all you can think of is plucking it out. Wisdom is accepting the truth of this. Courage is persisting with life in spite of it. And faith is finding yourself, in the deepest part of your soul, in the very heart of who you are, moved to praise it."For the most part I agree with him, but there is one place that has never become attenuated or obscured over time or has been filled with egos, complacencies and banalities, or became a thorn in my heart - The Cathedral of the Great Wide World. In fact it has been a most patient and generous institution, filled as it is with a deeply learned staff of spiritual directors like the sun, the wind, the sea, clouds, sand, rain, snow, heat, and all those furry, scaly, feathery, crawly, hopping, flying, swimming creatures.
You don't need to be paranoid because your actions really are being closely watched, evaluated, reacted to, rated, followed, and if possible - monetized. Your mouse clicks, your financial information, your medical information, where you drive, how fast you drive, what you look at, what you buy, what you eat, who you talk to, what you share, who you share it with, what worries you in the middle of the night - all of it - is meticulously observed and recorded for ongoing and future use.
In the marketplace of eyeballs in these "days of miracle and wonder", you aren't a person, you aren't a child of God, you aren't a Buddha.
You are raw material.
You are input.
You are ore.
"What is important to understand here is that a mantra is not like a prayer to a divine being. Rather, the mantra - whether recited, written or spun --- is the deity, is enlightenment, immediately manifest. As Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche says, 'There is no difference between the deity himself and the mantra which is his essence.'"
~ Lorne Ladner - Wheel of Great Compassion ~
"What you must realize, what you must even come to praise, is the fact that there is no right way that is going to become apparent to you once and for all. The most blinding illumination that strikes and perhaps radically changes your life will be so attenuated and obscured by doubts and dailiness that you may one day come to suspect the truth of that moment at all. The calling that seemed so clear will be lost in echoes of questionings and indecision; the church that seemed to save you will fester with egos, complacencies, banalities; the deepest love of your life will work itself like a thorn in your heart until all you can think of is plucking it out. Wisdom is accepting the truth of this. Courage is persisting with life in spite of it. And faith is finding yourself, in the deepest part of your soul, in the very heart of who you are, moved to praise it."
~ Christian Wiman ~
I walk by him at least twice a day and admire his beauty through a plate glass window. I always feel bad too..
He lives no kind of life for a tree, cut off as he is from his brothers, and surrounded instead by an ugly warren filled with pale souls wondering the same thing he does day in and day out.
How did I get here?
Serious people think that it's preposterous that a tree could be lonely, but recent science done by other quite serious people indicates that trees are communal. They support each other. They communicate with each other.
Out of ignorance years ago, he was chosen to be a solitary by some highly paid, highly educated, bow-tied, tweed jacketed, architect. His friends were cut down, some dragged off, some fed right into the wood chipper right in front of him, his hill "tastefully landscaped" and then a squat, faceless box was built around him.
My God, it's a hideous arrangement.
He's the centerpiece in a murder scene, alone with his grief.. gawked at every day by humans who think they know what is going on..
I Am For An Art - Claes Oldenberg - 1961
"I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero.
I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes out on top.
I am for an art chat imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary.
I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting signs or hallways.
I am for art that comes out of a chimney like black hair and scatters in the sky.
I am for art that spills out of an old man's purse when he is bounced off a passing fender. I am for the art out of a doggy's mouth, falling five stories from the roof.
I am for the art that a kid licks, after peeling away the wrapper.
I am for an art that joggles like everyone's knees, when the bus traverses an excavation. I am for art that is smoked, like a cigarette, smells, like a pair of shoes.
I am for art that flaps like a flag, or helps blow noses, like a handkerchief.
I am for art that is put on and taken off, like pants, which develops holes, like socks. which is eaten, like a piece of pie, or abandoned which great contempt, like a piece of
I am for art covered with bandages. I am for art that limps and rolls and runs and jumps.
I am for art that comes in a can or washes up on the shore.
I am for art that coils and grunts like a wrestler. I am for art that sheds hair.
I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with or stub your toes on.
I am for art from a pocket, from deep channels of the ear, from the edge of a knife. From the corners of the mouth, stuck in the eve or worn on the wrist.
I am for art under the skirts, and the art of pinching cockroaches.
I am for the art of conversation between the sidewalk and a blind man's metal stick.
I am for-the art that grows in a pot, that comes down out of the skies at night, like lightning, that hides in the clouds and growls. I am for art that is flipped on and off with
I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your sweety's arm, or kiss, like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks, like an accordion, which you can spill your dinner on, like an old tablecloth.
I am for an art that you can hammer with, stitch with, sew with, paste with, file with.
I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a street is.
I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.
I am for the art of the washing machine. I am for the art of a government check. I am for the art of last war's raincoat.
I am for the art that comes up in fogs from sewer-holes in winter. I am for the art that splits when you step on a frozen puddle. I am for the worm's art inside the apple. I am for the art of sweat that develops between crossed legs.
I am for the art of neck-hair and caked tea-cups, for the art between the tines of restaurant forks, for the odor of boiling dishwater.
I am for the art of sailing on Sunday, and the art of red and white gasoline pumps.
I am for the art of bright blue factory columns and blinking biscuit signs.
I am for the art of cheap plaster and enamel. I am for the art of worn marble and smashed slate. I am for the art of rolling cobblestones and sliding sand. I am for the art of slag and black coal. I am for the art of dead birds.
I am for the art of scratchings in the asphalt, daubing at the walls. I am for the art of bending and kicking metal and breaking glass, and pulling at things to make them fan down.
I am for the art of punching and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I am for the art of kids' smells. I am for the art of mama-babble.
I am for the art of bar-babble, tooth-picking, beerdrinking, egg-salting, insulting. I am for the art of falling off a barstool.
I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art of ice-cream cones dropped on concrete. I am for the majestic art of dog-turds, rising like cathedrals.
I am for the blinking arts, lighting up the night. I am for art falling, splashing,
wiggling, jumping, going on and off.
I am for the art of fat truck-tires and black eyes.
I am for Kool-art, 7-UP art, Pepsi-art, Sunshine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents art, Vatronol art, Dro-bomb art, Vam art, Menthol art, L & M art, Ex-lax art, Venida art, Heaven Hill art, Pamryl art, San-o-med art, Rx art, 9.99 art, Now art, New art, How art, Fire sale art, Last Chance art, Only art, Diamond art, Tomorrow art, Franks art, Ducks art, Meat-o-rama art.
I am for the art of bread wet by rain. I am for the rats' dance between floors. I am for the art of flies walking on a slick pear in the electric light. I am for the art of soggy onions and firm green shoots. I am for the art of clicking among the nuts when the roaches come and go. I am for the brown sad art of rotting apples.
I am for the art of meowls and clatter of cats and for the art of their dumb electric eyes.
I am for the white art of refrigerators and their muscular openings and closings.
I am for the art of rust and mold. I am for the art of hearts, funeral hearts or sweetheart full of nougat. I am for the art of worn meathooks and singing barrels of red, white blue and yellow meat.
I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, coming home from school. I am for the art of cock-and-ball trees and flying cows and the noise of rectangles and squares. I am for the art of crayons and weak gray pencil-lead, and grainy wash and sticky oil paint, and the art of windshield wipers and the art of the finger on a cold window, on dusty steel or in he bubbles on the sides of a bathtub.
I am for the art of teddy-bears and guns and decapitated rabbits, exploded umbrellas, raped beds, chairs with their brown bones broken, burning trees, firecracker ends, chicken bones, pigeon bones and boxes with men sleeping in them.
I am for the art of slightly rotten funeral flowers, hung bloody rabbits and wrinkly yellow chickens, bass drums & tambourines, and plastic phonographs.
I am for the art of abandoned boxes, tied like pharaohs. I am for an art of watertanks and speeding clouds and flapping shades.
I am for U.S. Government Inspected Art, Grade A art, Regular Price art, Yellow Ripe art, Extra Fancy art, Readv-to-eat art, Best-for-less art, Ready-to-cook art, Fullv cleaned art, Spend Less art, Eat Better art, Ham art, pork art, chicken art, tomato art, banana art, apple art, turkey art, cake art, cookie art.
I am for an art that is combed down, that is hung from each ear, that is laid on the lips under the eyes, that is shaved from the legs, that is brushed on the teeth, that is fixed on the thighs, that is slipped on the foot. square which becomes blobby."
“...Capitalist civilization which has dominated the economic, political and cultural life of continents, is in the process of decay. It is now breeding new and devastating wars. The prevailing economic crisis is placing greater and greater burdens upon the masses of the world’s population—upon those who work with hand or brain. The present crisis has stripped capitalism naked! It stands more revealed than ever as a system of robbery and fraud, unemployment and terror, starvation and war.. "
~ Draft Manifesto - John Reed Clubs, NYC 1932 ~They weren't wrong in their assessment of the Capitalist system. They were just wrong in the solution.
These days, you can't swing a dead cat on the internet without bumping into a story about some predatory practice by a drug company (for instance). The latest - the increase of Lomustine (Cancer drug for brain tumors and Hodgkins lymphoma) from $50.00 a pill to $768.00, is an excellent example of an industry which waits patiently until its customers are at their most vulnerable and then extracts as much money as it possibly can from their plight.
As vile as the Lomustine price increase is.. it pales in comparison to the $373,000.00 gene therapy treatment by the Yescarta company which itself is more economical than a similar treatment offered by Novartis for $475,000.00.
Pay or die.
“The liberty framing is crucial. It means that Christian greetings, like other Christian signs and symbols, ought to be permitted to private citizens because the state ought not privilege one religion over any other. This is a classically liberal approach to religion, and it presumes that religion is something that can be safely privatized, domesticated, narrowed to a point of personal preference or, if you’re feeling cheeky, a salutation proffered to a store clerk you don’t know as they pick up working hours over the holidays. Go ahead and say it if you want, or don’t if you don’t; if you get really lucky, somebody you already don’t like may even be bothered by it. This sentiment contains almost every pathology of contemporary American life, but it’s not Christian, and aggressively wishing others a “Merry Christmas” strictly to assert that your in-group is currently empowered isn’t a victory for the faith, even if it passes for one in our current conditions.”
Now that the Christmas season is over, "Merry! Christmas!" won't be delivered with such emotional relief for another year.
Finally it can be said.. "Merry! Christmas!"
As if American Christianity were an underground resistance cult where a single uttered phrase of its existence could bring death to millions through persecution.
As if Christianity were not already the state religion of the American Empire.
As if Christianity in the Balkanized States of America did not impact so many areas of public life like reproductive rights, textbooks in public schools, who can love who, climate science, and drug policy. As if it does not act as a sea-anchor to scientific research.
As if Jesus Christ Himself were counting the number of times his red white and blue sheep said it. (He already had plenty to say about public displays of piety and none of them were good. Nobody wants to remember the whole pray in the privacy of your room thing... )
For such a large and powerful institution, American Christianity displays an enormous amount of insecurity. In that respect - it fits perfectly with the Empire it serves, an Empire that demands public pledges of allegiance whenever it can get them, just to reassure itself that it's still in charge...