Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Forecast

James Kunstler is in the habit of issuing a forecast for the coming year, so I thought I might give it a try. While I admire him and his work, he has become a bit hysterical of late, like he's contemplating violence too much, in the context of what he perceives to be the impending collapse of America. In his most recent post, he imagined impaling socialites who appear in The New York Observer "Shindigger" column, in Zuccotti Park, "in the manner of Vlad.” You know things are getting strange, when an internationally known writer publicly releases imagery of the torturous death of living people, and no one says anything about it - you can bet it's because they don't want people reading what he has to say, because too much of it is a bit too close to the truth. And it's not like he was singling out financiers. If you actually read the Shindigger column, you might catch some of his humor. You'll find people who fund the maintenance of Versailles, Dukes and Vicomtes, parade after parade of dilettantes and otherwise functionally illiterate pretty people. I'm not accustomed to reading such breathless writing, such fawning, self-satisfied fluff. I particularly enjoyed the image of Lou Reed, his fur-lined coat, extolling the virtue of Glenn Close, or was it Meryl Streep? (I don't mean to disparage those two great actors.) For the record, I do not advise violence against anyone. Kunstler sees it as an immediate concern. His forecast is sure to be unsparingly harsh.

2012, of course, is said to be a year of prophecy. It is said by some to be the year of the apocalypse. Can you hear the drums and bells sounding, for war with Iran? How about we turn the Holy Land and Fertile Crescent into glass parking lots! As if the state of the world isn't already condemnation of the existing order. Iran blocking the straight of Hormuz? Sounds like a pending Gulf of Tonkin false flag kind of incident, for those who remember how we got ourselves led into Vietnam, or the WMD that led us into Iraq. It certainly is shaping up to be a year of tumult, and it's an election year. The European economy appears to be buying time, perhaps hoping for a miracle. Plenty of Americans hoping for a miracle too. Even the great dragon China is looking like it might collapse economically, as there's no one to bail them out of the effects of what may prove to be the most laissez faire real estate bubble ever. I think there are basically two paths ahead for the American economy, either hyper-inflation or default. Thankfully, I'm not an economist, so you don't have to believe me. Though if you believe anything coming out of an economist at this point, I feel for you.

I'm actually torn between world views. The video on the collapse of the existential function, from Chris Martenson, combined with John Michael Greer's work, have left me with few illusions about the path humanity faces in an age of increasing scarcity. From that perspective, including Kunstler, we are facing a long decline as the resources to maintain the life we have grown accustomed to grow ever scarcer. At the same time, I read the work of Charles Eisenstein, and watch the film Thrive, and I want very much to believe that I will see the world they envision in my lifetime. I want to believe Terrence Mckenna's talk about radical transformation. I want to believe in rapid and fluid evolutionary shifts in consciousness, in the direction of balance, wholeness and healing. I want to believe this is a divine universe, and anything can happen.

There is of course plenty of disagreement that we are in any kind of end time. It's a cultural joke really, the territory of delusional weirdos, residue of Y2K. John Michael Greer, who is the Arch-Druid in America, who one might expect to have some spiritual sense of what is going on, considers the mythology of 2012 to be a fantasy, which he ascertains the Maya never predicted, and Terrence Mckenna never really saw on his "drug trips". He has even taken to printing weekly excerpts from his book Apocalypse Not, to dissuade people from falling into what he believes is a trap, a dead end (if you'll pardon the pun.) I agree with him basically, if any ideas about 2012 lead you to ignore or deny what John Michael Greer has to teach, which is mostly about getting clear in the head and grounded in the Earth.

I wonder though, about 2012. If the precession of the equinox is on a 26,000 year cycle, and the sun is as close to the line between the Earth and the center of the galaxy as it has been on that 26,000 year cycle, then I take the mid-point of that cycle, when the sun was furthest from that line, 13,000 years ago, as the time of the collapse of the last ice age. I'm not even entirely convinced there wasn't another advanced civilization, at that time, basically wiped from the face of the Earth. And 26,000 years ago, the last time the sun was in this place, was the approximate end of Neanderthal. I'd say that qualifies as epochal.

I don't know if it's true, but it has a nice symmetry. As for 2012, I think this may well be the year demand for oil exceeds supply. If you don't know what that will mean for humanity, you should. You're going to be compelled to face it, at some point soon. You'd be well served by not waiting until it's apparent to everybody, because at that point a significant portion of the world population is going to go functionally insane. If this is the year, you can bet people will spend another decade raging that it's all the fault of government regulation, environmentalists, activist judges, recalcitrant dictators etc. but there is no going back. After a hundred+ year climb, world-wide production has been on a flat-line since 2004. If you believe production will one day climb again, for any period of time, then you are living someplace other than planet Earth. At least, the planet in your head isn't the one under your feet. Two hundred years from now, when fossil fuels have been exhausted, and humanity probably too, we may measure 2012 as the time of that shift. That will seem pretty epochal too, the decline and fall of the Developed nations, the decline and fall of America.

Mckenna toward the end of his life imagined something even more dramatic, like humanity was embroiled in the ever increasing complexity of universal processes, and we are going to emerge quite suddenly into some higher plane of consciousness, unrecognizable to the paradigm of the day. When I get to thinking like that, I half expect Quetzalcoatl the plumed serpent, to come roaring out of the sky devouring the wicked and enlivening the good, like Daniel Pinchbeck predicts. I've long wondered about that curious serpentine spiral at the core of being...

I want to believe too, in free energy. I'd been hearing a lot about Nikola Tesla, before I stumbled on a PBS documentary, Master of Lightning, on-line. I started watching the video in the late afternoon, but I'm on city wireless, and my signal gets a little sketchy from 7-11pm. The video stopped loading about 42 minutes in. So I did a few things on the Internet that didn't require so much band-width, I went about a few things around the house, returning to the computer about five hours later. I'd closed the video, so I had to load it again from the start. I set the computer aside while the video played silently, the screen blacked out. I picked up Charles Eisenstein's Sacred Economics; near the end of the book, I opened it, and the first line I read was, "When JP Morgan abandoned Tesla..." The last page I'd read was about ten pages before that, so I told myself I'd read, and then check the video when I came to the passage about Tesla. When I reached the passage, I set the book down. The computer screen was blank, so I picked up the earphones, put them on - and heard the exact same phrase that I heard last, when the video stopped loading five hours earlier. When I logged in and the video appeared, I saw an egg spinning wildly, on the machine I had seen in the freeze frame earlier, which Tesla had built to demonstrate the safety of AC current.

JP Morgan supposedly abandoned Tesla because Tesla was trying to create (or did create) a device that would provide free energy for all. I don't know that Tesla was on the right track with his tower, and high frequency wireless transmission of electricity, though. The wireless electricity required to run this industrial lifestyle seems like it would ionize most of the atmosphere. The creator of the film Thrive, Foster Gamble, believes he has found a solution to that problem. It rests on the torus, or the energy that cycles around a dynamo, like the magnetosphere of the Earth, or the heliosphere of the sun surrounding the solar system, or the envelope that is believed to surround the entire galaxy, something like the shape of an orange. The film rests on the premise that devices have been created that defy the second law of thermodynamics, creating more energy than they use, by generating a torus. The story goes, that most of these inventions have been confiscated by governments, and the inventors have been harassed and even killed. The film goes on to surmise that there is an agenda of world domination with a goal of one world government.

I don't doubt there is such an agenda. I even have reason to believe that the government of the United States may be a kind of fraud. The Federal Reserve certainly is something very much like a fraud. My mother is convinced the government has built containment and extermination camps, in the States, in anticipation of social unrest. She believes the government we have is in fact a corporation, created in 1868. According to her world view, the Republic ceased to exist, we ceased to exist as sovereign individuals, and became corporate persons, or citizens. It's a very similar argument, this and what is found in Thrive, that if we just come together and realize that just about everything we've ever been told is basically a lie, we can build a better world together. We probably can, if we can get past the lie-thing without falling apart. As for world domination, it is all vanity. Two hundred years from now if we retain even a modicum of our technology, it will be something like a miracle.

Or maybe the Aliens will finally show up and set us right. For myself, in 2012, I want to be in southern England in July, dancing in the wheat fields around Glastonbury and Stonehenge, calling down a crop circle. Or, calling to those people who do it, that I might see such a thing done. At the least, I will have danced in the wheat fields of England. Because of all the very curious things about the backward nature of this Age, there is this strange silence about these crop circles. They are surely some of the greatest artworks of the Age, and yet the artists are unknown. Hardly even searched for. Perhaps it is fairies. I'm not sure what is more ridiculous, to suggest the artists are aliens, fairies or people.

I'd also like to plant about ten fruit trees, tear down my house and start building the off-the-grid marvel I can see in my head. Which is not what one does if one believes the world is going to end. There may be a global financial apocalypse, perhaps. A severe oil shock, probably. The emergence of a kind of rabid desire to exploit every resource everywhere, complete with frothing at the mouth, and the biting of those who stand in the way, metaphorically speaking. Iran will probably eclipse Jobs in the election cycle, so politicians don't have to talk about a thing they don't know how to create. War is easier. We know how to do that. And it's good for the economy, like tax cuts and eliminating regulations. Might as well rack up another few trillion in debt. It's never going to be repaid, you know. Actually, I would like to see debt forgiveness across the board, the elimination of the Federal Reserve, of central banks everywhere, and the creation of an entirely different kind of money eliminating interest. But I'm probably a few decades ahead on that one. Or centuries.

If oil demand does exceed supply in 2012, I suspect what we will see is not a broad scale shift toward renewables, or some steady-state “ecotechnic” economy, but rather epic denial, and a last push to open up every available source of oil, gas and coal, after the model of Canada. If that is the case, and Aliens or Quetzalcoatl or Christ or the Singularity or free energy doesn't show up to save us, then we are certainly headed for a long decline, with probably a great deal of violence and death, on a scale never before seen, in the long story of the species - in the midst of radical environmental shifts humanity has not had to face since the end of the last ice age. Can you imagine both poles ice free, most of the year? Who knows? Maybe even a breaking up of continents, so thoroughly have we been de-greasing tectonic plates. A few centuries from now, when things settle down, perhaps we will be in a position to create the beautiful world that is possible. If we have not lost most of the technology we have today, the best of it, the most useful.

I recommend in 2012, letting go of conventional thinking. Conventional thinking has led us into a very tight corner, and it is leading us to our cultural destruction. Let go, rebuild your world view from the inside out, take nothing to be The truth, while grounding your body in the rhythms of the Earth. Flood the Earth with whatever Art emerges from your core. Be good to people. Be kind. Dance, sing and smile. And be good to yourself. There are difficult times ahead, and that will go better for you and yours, if you are clear about it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sacred Economics

Whatever one might think about the future of humanity, it is hard to argue that we are not in a place currently, of mounting, epic crises. The potential collapse of the European Union, an ever expanding world-wide debt bubble, mass specie extinction, deforestation, the depletion of fisheries, peak oil, mass unemployment, governmental incompetency, pending nuclear proliferation, the ongoing proliferation of toxins, expanding income inequality, exponential population growth, etc. etc. It isn't any wonder that extreme thinking should become a hallmark of such crises, be it the messianic tendency to believe in the return of Christ, or aliens, or simply human ingeniousness that will result in some technological gimmick that will make all those crises go away. That kind of thinking, of course, is not seen anywhere near as extreme as that thinking which looks directly at the data, and acknowledges that the near future isn't going to look anything like what most people expect, or indeed anything that humanity has had to confront before -the perspective which looks for solutions to that predicament, outside the bounds of conventional economic thinking. There is in fact a vibrant dialogue going on, at the periphery of the culture, at the leading edge as it were, which the culture has not yet awakened to.

Into that dialogue, Charles Eisenstein has offered his book, Sacred Economics: Gift, Money and Society in the Age of Transition. Eisenstein asserts that we are living in an Age of Separation. At the core of our culture, is the paradigm he calls Ascent, or the idea that humans are "a discrete and separate self," fundamentally self-interested and without responsibility to any whole; and humanity, as ever on some upward, exponential trajectory to some sublime technological utopia, "moving inexorably toward our destiny of complete mastery over, and transcendence of, nature." From that perspective, it is a book that cannot be taken seriously. It is a book however, that if one can open one's heart, it becomes apparent that much of what he is saying is both true, and possible. And that is the nature of the Age, if one hopes to navigate it with anything resembling grace, the ability to set aside the cultural perspective, to see with ones own eyes. He suggests, out of separation, and the story of exploitation, we are in fact moving into a paradigm of Connection, "an economics of Reunion as well, an economics that restores to wholeness our fractured communities, relationships, cultures, ecosystems, and planet."

"In the beginning was the Gift." With that one sentence he begins his book, and sets a kind of stage of naiveté. We enter this world incapable of fending for ourselves, and so, however one might feel about one's upbringing, making it to adulthood is a kind of gift. In early cultures, hunter/gatherer, clan, tribe, gift exchange was predominant, when one's own health and well-being could not be separated from the health and well-being of the community. Money likely began as a kind of ritual acknowledgement of the gift, a token of gratitude. Only later, in the large neolithic agricultural communities, did money become a means to facilitate exchange between unfamiliar parties. From there, it became a thing unto itself, a means to accumulate wealth, and power over others. When money began to have the power to generate more money, in the form of interest, it became a tool of oppression, a means to engender in others servitude. Eisenstein's purpose is not to return to primitivism, but rather to restore to money something of the sacred nature of the gift. Because, "If we are to have a world with technology, with cinema and symphony orchestras, with telecommunications and great architecture...we need money, or something like it, as a way to coordinate human activity."

Unfortunately, money as it stands is money that is loaned. Which is to say, there is always going to be more debt than money, which is also the assumption that there will always be growth. There is currently, approximately, 58 trillion dollars worth of debt in America alone, with a corresponding GDP of 15 trillion. Money at it's core is meant to "facilitate exchange - in other words, to connect human needs with human gifts. Instead, it has come to generate a sense of scarcity, which then generates greed, which in turn leads to the maximizing of self-interest at the expense of the whole. It leads to consumption for the sake of consumption, and the increasing transformation of "the commons", the resources of the Earth, into money. And with every increase in debt, there is more pressure to generate wealth, to service that interest, exacerbating the exploitation of resources on which all life depends. Money should facilitate connection, ease and leisure; instead, it exacerbates separation, anxiety, consumption, pollution, ecological destruction and income inequality.

And now the ability of the Earth to provide for continued, exponential growth, is at an end. We have strained the Earth's capacity to absorb toxins, to maintain ecological equilibrium. Despite the most sincere efforts to protect resources, we are now at the cusp of one last push to open up all the last of the pristine lands to industrial exploitation, in an effort to maintain growth. But that is only putting off and exacerbating the inevitable crash, when there are no more resources to exploit, because we have turned them all into money, infrastructure, or garbage.

But this is not just another book detailing the path that has brought us to the cusp of ecological oblivion. It is very much a book of prescriptions, a book more than any I have read recently, that believes in the inherent generosity of the human being, which the vast majority of economists know nothing about, or at least do not and cannot factor into their models.

The future, as Charles Eisenstein sees it, involves these prescriptions for the Age of the Gift:

1. Negative-Interest Currency - Money as it stands violates nature's law of decay. If money is allowed to decay, no longer able to generate interest, it will increase in flow, "enabl[ing] prosperity without growth, systematically encourag[ing] the equitable distribution of wealth...so that we are no longer encouraged to mortgage our future for short-term returns." Little would change, but for the investing class, who could still save money, but "the value of savings would gradually decrease unless invested at risk. There would be no easy way to grow money risk-free," simply by owning it.

2. Elimination of Economic Rents, and Compensation for Depletion of the Commons - "Polarization of wealth is inevitable when people are allowed to profit from merely owning a thing, without producing anything or contributing to society." As it stands, some of the most wealthy among us are those who are most effective at transforming raw resources into money, and many of the most rich are simply those who excel at turning money into more money, while hoarding it. It can be said that the only thing we truly own is oneself, and one's time. All property is founded on an ancient crime. "With a shift of taxation onto property and resources, sales and income taxes will be reduced or eliminated," as the incentive will be shifted to conservation, and the individual ability of contribute to the common good.

3. Internalization of Social and Environmental Costs - "Today, pollution and other forms of environmental degradation generate costs that are usually borne by society and future generations, not the polluters." This amounts to a hidden subsidy, and "encourages continued pollution and environmental degradation." By taxing pollution and resources, allocating the use of resources and the ability to emit pollution according to what the Earth can withstand, we create an incentive to conserve and reduce pollution. "New industries will arise devoted to conservation, pollution control, and toxic waste remediation," and, "with economic dis-incentives for cheap, throwaway goods, manufactured items will become more expensive, more durable, and more repairable."

4. Economic and Monetary Localization - "Global commodity production puts localities into competition with each other, fomenting a "race to the bottom" in wages and environmental regulation...When production and economic exchange are local, the social and environmental effects of our actions are more obvious, reinforcing our innate compassion." There will always be a place for global commodity exchange, or at least trans-regional. But much of the economic policy of the day has decimated local economies and put us in servitude to distant powers. Local currencies backed by local resources would strengthen local exchange, and put us at considerably less risk to the vagaries of centralized powers who do not have our best interest in mind.

5. The Social Dividend - "The current economic system essentially forces us to work for what is already ours." If you follow the logic that we own ourselves and time only, it follows that the Earth and its resources are common to all. Taxing the use of those resources, and the pollution that follows, that income then should be shared by all. A social dividend, something like the Alaskan citizen's share in oil extraction, at the minimum required to provide the bare necessities. Anyone would be free to earn more. Freed from the pressure to "earn a living...we will turn our gifts toward that which inspires us - for more and more of us, that is the healing of society and the planet from the ravages of Separation." The idea that people are inherently lazy, that if people are provided with basic necessities and are not forced to work, they will do nothing, is "the logic of control, domination and the war against the self....But is it really human nature to want to do nothing productive? Do we really need rewards to cajole us into labor and penalties to punish indolence? Or, put another way, is it human nature to desire never to give, but only to take?"

6. Economic De-Growth - Currently, we are talking about generating growth, by investing in infrastructure or new housing, outside of any real discussion about whether or not we actually need the infrastructure or the new houses, whether or not what we are building actually makes sense. And despite the promise of the industrial and technological age, we have chosen, or been compelled, "at every turn to consume more rather than work less....Absent the driving force of positive risk-free interest [and with the existence of depreciating currency], economic growth would no longer be necessary to promote the flow of capital." That flow of capital would mean greater affluence for the poor and middle classes, while having to work less for money, with more time available for those non-economic, unquantifiable activities that promote well-being. De-Growth is inevitable anyway, in this Age of reduced resources; it would be best to go about it consciously, with intent.

7. Gift Culture and P2P Economics - Meeting each others needs in the form of gift exchange and peer to peer economics, both engenders a sense of connection and empowerment, and de-growth in the current economy of alienation and separation. Technology, primarily the Internet, has forced many things into the gift realm, including advertising, journalism, music, etc. The Internet itself is largely the work of gift culture, which is why the Government is trying to take control of it, like corporate attempts to control water, making you pay for what was once free, in service to growth, GDP, and the creditors we are in thrall to.

As I said, one must read with a kind of naiveté, or it would be easy to ignore this book in it's entirety. It is one thing to say that all property is founded in some ancient crime, it is another to imagine how that would play in the mainstream. And one may well be asking, yes, these prescriptions have some merit, but what can I do? First, ask yourself if what you do for money is in fact maximizing your gifts? Next, ask yourself if you truly believe in the story of Ascent, that there will always be growth, that a world based on credit and exploitation is sustainable? Finally, ask yourself in your heart - not in your head - whether or not you believe a different kind of world is possible?

Recently, I was lead to this piece by Derek Andreoli, by way of a piece by Herman Daly, by way of a piece by John Michael Greer. It fairly succinctly states the basic pattern of resource extraction, of gold, and oil, which is a steep upward trajectory, and then a peak, and then a collapse. The otherwise often indecipherable Miyamoto Musashi, said of strategy, that to know how to fight against ten is to know how to fight against ten thousand. In other words, extrapolating out from the pattern of extraction of ten oil wells, is to know the pattern of ten thousand. It occurs to me, as it occurs to some, that we are at the peak, and perhaps at the very tip of the crest of that exponential curve, in world oil supplies.

In a comments thread on Huffpost, I found this, offered by jcaunter. It is a video presentation by Chris Martenson*, who ties together what is happening in the economy, with resource constraints, as succinctly as anyone I have seen or heard. It is significant that the presentation takes place in Spain, as the conversation he is advocating is not even on the radar of American discourse. Basically, that if we begin thinking of the three E's, Economy, Energy and Ecology, as connected and intertwined, we can follow a relatively orderly and even prosperous path into a steady-state economy - but first we must acknowledge that easy oil has come to an end. I think very likely, the year 2012 will be the year humanity becomes aware to a great degree, the predicament we face, that there are very hard limits to the amount of resources we can economically extract from the Earth.

What is the nature of the gift? From Eisenstein's perspective, this life is divine, it is sacred. By giving, and receiving gifts, we enter into a kind of magical exchange, in which gratitude expands, and gifts circulate. To begin to see one's life as a gift, and to treat ones own wealth as if it were a gift, is to be given a corresponding and equal gift in return, strengthening a sense of community and connection. Our sense of separateness is a consequence of our heritage, that tells us we are independent beings who do not need others. But we do, and no action by any can truly be seen as separate from the greater matrix in which we reside. Every action has consequence, and every action is a consequence of the cultural ideas we are immersed in. If we want to climb out of the polarizing, alienating, destructive, exploitative mindset that says we are all separate from each other, into some kind of life that generates love, beauty, and abundance, then that can only come through a shift in consciousness, and actions that clarify, and expand that consciousness. As for money, we cannot live outside the commodity creating culture in which we exist, but we can use the money we come by to undo the workings of exploitation, in the culture, and in our own life. We can use that money to create beauty, to empower others, to strengthen community, and to heal ourselves and the Earth, inspired by the inherent beauty and abundance of the Earth, letting go of the feeling of scarcity, and the ability to exploit.

In my own life, I seem about to climb the curve of a potential economic bonanza. HD Masks is a gift unlike any I might have expected. I said last week that I do not know who I am. Well, that is partially true. My ego has come to seem to me a small, flimsy thing in comparison to the entirety of my Self. Still, I am William Hunter Duncan, radical anarchist gorilla gardener, in service to the Goddess, which allows me to write about any number of topics, wherever my interest leads, but it also prevents me from being taken seriously by any but the most intrepid seeker. Which is unfortunate, because I believe there is a great deal of healing to be found in the work of Charles Eisenstein. He has helped me recognize that my failure to accumulate wealth is very much about an unwillingness to participate in the ongoing destruction of the Earth, that I have not found any way in which my gifts perpetuate balance, healing and wholeness, while also generating income. Perhaps until now I have never felt responsible enough to use money in a sacred way? Am I capable of creating the beautiful life I have imagined? Can I both give, and receive? Can I trust, that the more I give, the more I will receive? I am living now as if a cultural, social, spiritual collapse has already happened. I would prefer to live in the midst of abundance, modeling for others what it is to live in a Sacred Economy.

And so, I vow that I will, from this day forth, treat both my life, and any money that comes to me, as if it were a gift, as if it would decay if I hold on too tight. And I will endeavor to generate with any surplus money, as much social and ecological capital as I can, to nurture beauty, to strengthen community, as if this world were divine, as if it were sacred.

Happy Holidays.


* While I see Martenson's perspective as important, showing as astutely as he does how our culture is headed for collapse, I cannot see his advocation for gold and silver as a proper means of investment. Gold, in the traditional sense of investment, cannot be separated from the actions of multi-national corporations, preying upon weaker nations and their people, as described in this piece found on Huffpost, (buying land or mining rights in a Central American country, and then suing the country on the basis of free trade agreements, when the people object to their resources being absconded with, and mostly pollution left behind.) None of the writers I cite in this piece, as far as I know, advocate for the change in investing as advocated by Eisenstein, from a Sacred Economy perspective, though each does in their own way advocate for a steady-state economy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

MLB Trade Show

My trip to Dallas, for the Professional Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show, began at the airport here in Minneapolis, where I inadvertently carried a bag of marijuana and a box cutter through the TSA checkpoint. Yes, that's right, a bag of marijuana and a box cutter. I say inadvertently, because I was very hung-over after drinking late with the Co-Owner of HD Masks who was not attending the trade show, and I was flying on about four hours of sleep. The items were each in a separate pocket of my winter jacket liner, which I sometimes use as a separate coat, and I hadn't thought to put my hands in them. Checking my bags, I was nervous without knowing why - I am not generally afraid of flying. I suppose I was aware on some unconscious level, what I was carrying. At the checkpoint, I put my coat in a plastic bin and slid it through the sensor.

On the other side, I heard the people monitoring the sensor, talking about a guy who earlier tried to bring a bag full of knives on-board. No alarm sounded as I stood there oblivious, I took my things and walked through the terminal, sat down at the gate, reached in the pockets of the liner I was wearing sans coat, and realized what I'd done. I immediately threw the box cutter in the trash. I thought about putting the pot there as well, but then decided the only thing I had to fear was police dogs, and the pot was dry as dust and not very aromatic, so I kept it, traveling to Dallas via Denver. I will let the reader decide how it is the box cutter got through. Had they found it, with a little research into this blog, I'm quite certain I would never have made it to the trade show. Prosecuting me as a terrorist would prove a bit more difficult, but then, they could say anything they want, if they can pull down this blog. Which would be a very real possibility, if Congress gets what they want.

Texas has been suffering through the worst drought in historical times. Flying in, it was raining. Minneapolis has been cold, and I assumed a week in Dallas would be a nice warm respite; the first night there, it was something like 25 degrees, with scattered snow. We flew in Sunday, and began setting up the booth Monday morning, with the trade show to open at five, until 8pm. We returned to our hotel, rested, and then returned to the Hotel Anatole, where the meeting and the trade show were held, walking through the packed lobby, the Co-Owner of HD Masks who did attend wearing an Obama mask, while I wore a mask of Babe Ruth. The young woman we hired through an ad on Craigslist arrived, her blond hair dyed partially black, her face pierced; when we asked what she did before she moved to Dallas, she said something about a dominatrix, and a go-go dancer she knew in San Diego. On the back of her neck was a tattoo, "Jesus Saves." When I asked her about that, she said something about being created in God's image. I replied that Jesus loved everybody. We gave her the Sarah Palin mask, and took turns walking around the 100,000 sq ft venue, handing out fliers. Occasionally, Obama and Palin went out arm in arm.



The masks were very well received, and after three hours we had a thick stack of business cards to prove it. The Co-Owner and I went out that night, on a quest for Gators. The cabbie, Henry, of West African origin, who said he would have multiple wives if it were allowed, diverted us to the neighborhood Deep Ellum. We went on a walking tour then, bar to bar, starting at the Trees, then City Tavern, and a few more, before we found ourselves under an overpass between Deep Ellum and downtown. I was very glad to have the weed. The Co-Owner took this picture, with a simple digital camera, at midnight:



Miraculously, neither of us ever having been to Dallas, we found the bar Gators at 1:23am. There were five people there, including the bartender. We took pictures from the upstairs patio, I danced downstairs for the duration of one song, and then we called Henry and returned to the hotel.

Tuesday the interest grew, until people began to say that we were the talk of the trade show. Periodically, we took turns, on loops through the hotel lobby, where ESPN, MLB.TV and a half dozen other networks were set up, and baseball executives and staff were always gathered, including a few notables. That night, as we were standing outside the Media Bar and Grill, talking to two guys who had traveled from Chicago just to hang out, they pointed out Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox, who is attempting to buy another MLB team. I was wearing the Babe Ruth mask on the back of my head, so I turned it around, walked over and stood silently next to him, in his circle. He turned to me, flipped the mask up so he could see my face, and said, "Who the hell are you?" I told him my name, flipped the mask back down, and said that we were HD Masks. Ok, he said, and "Who the hell are you supposed to be?" and then he answered his own question. I handed him my card, thanking him, and he accepted both. I would very much like to see a stadium in Chicago full of people wearing bull masks. They of course would do so in support of their team. I remember, the bull was long a symbol of the Goddess.

Wednesday, interest grew until we had given away a hundred-plus masks in exchange for contact information. One man from Mexico requested a hundred-thousand masks for a political rally. An ESPN anchor stopped by, looking for an Obama mask, which he wanted to wear on camera, and to give to his mother who is a big fan. Sadly, I had just given away our only Obama, to a man whose brother is in the hospital, and who fed us a great deal of beer. I gave the anchor a lion mask instead, which he said he was going to wear on camera. I don't know if he did. MLB.TV stopped by, to interview me (as Creative Director of HD masks, not the blogger.) The guy said, astoundingly, that the interview was made for TV. I'm not so sure, and I don't know if anything aired.

At one point Wednesday, a man who did not speak much English, a representative of a Korean professional team, stopped by asking for a mask. I gave him a Babe Ruth, and then 11,000 Korean Won (USA equivalent = $9.73), which a homeless man named Jackson Williams gave me in exchange for $20 (He told me it was worth $60, though I knew he was a hustler and didn't believe him), Monday night on our walking tour through Dallas. I don't know if the Korean man was more surprised than our young Ms Palin (I told her, magical things happen when you hang out with the folks of HD Masks.) He gave me his team baseball cap in return, to which I replied with an eagle mask, which is also their team mascot.

What can I say about the meeting itself? It was a guy fest, to be sure, about 85% male. It would not have been easy to be a woman in that environment; the young lady working the booth across from us received seven direct propositions, and if she did, though she was pretty, young and innocent, there were no doubt women there who must have received dozens. Most of the men we talked to, be they job seekers paying for attendance, or baseball staff, thought the meeting was the most incredible thing, which from my perspective and the Co-Owner's, despite both of us having played baseball for the same University, it was a bunch of guys hanging around. I can say the Major League guys were a good deal more aloof than the Minor League guys, to the point that some of the Major League guys who walked through the trade show wouldn't look at me, as I stood there, looking at them, through the Babe Ruth mask. There is a very high prestige factor, I suppose, for those who have reached the pinnacle of the Major Leagues, no matter in what capacity. Which I am happy to say, I am immune to (attracted as I am to what is genuine and authentic, which is not the ego derived from one's social status.) That said, the vast majority of people I met were very friendly, and some of them were very good to us.

We could have sold a hundred Obama masks. There was also a great deal of animosity toward it. While the Owner was wearing it, as example, one man walked up and cocked his fingers within inches, as if to shoot him in the face; another man said he might as well be wearing a monkey mask; another man threw a bean bag at him, making contact. Ms Palin received a fair number of propositions herself, being the liberal, alternative Palin that she was, and quite a bit more sexy. I told her it would be nice if there were more Christians like her. We had a Gingrich mask as well, an early prototype not really suitable as a mask, on display. Plenty of requests for that one. Plenty of speculation. And look at that - I just censored myself, briefly. I was going to say that he would be the perfect President to usher in a new age of ecological devastation in America, but I almost didn't because I want to sell a few hundred thousand masks to the Gingrich campaign. In fact, I want to sell masks to every one of those ego maniacs campaigning for President, including the President.

It is indeed a strange thing, to be in that environment, knowing what I do about the future of America, of the species really. The fate of the Earth. I censored myself quite a bit actually, at the meeting: I didn't ask the guys at the Yankees Baseball Daily studio booth, wearing the mask like I imagined I would, if they wanted to interview The Babe; I didn't dance to my Bose sound dock behind the ESPN studio in the Babe Ruth mask, like I imagined. Precisely because of what I write here. My truth is not widely shared, and I resist the urge to share it more than I do. The Owner at one point this weekend said to me, "I don't know what you are." I just looked at him sideways and smiled slyly. Because I do not know what I am, either. I consumed 250 seeds of the heavenly blue morning glory in an attempt to find out, shortly before I went to Dallas. I kept repeating then, aloud, "What am I? Who am I?" All that happened was, I was drawn down into the mundane, into the primal, reptilian-like spiral at the very core of my physical being, and I danced, and bared my teeth as if to defend myself from an onslaught of the irrational.

Late Thursday, Friday morning actually, with my plane set to leave Dallas that morning, out of the bag I brought, I found a different stash in a contact lens case, and I puffed and danced to a Monster Bash on HBO, by Lady Gaga. It was a nice capstone to a wonderful week, and I was surprised, her questioning the value of money, and her continuous calling out to Jesus, as to reclaim Him. Whatever one might think about Ms Gaga, she certainly can sing. To what degree she is conscious of what she is, and what she is doing, I am less certain, though I can say I am a little bit in love now, like a few other millions of people.

Anyway, I think I will comment on money, in the next post, with a review of Charles Eisenstein's Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition, a book that has given me hope that we are in both an end, and a beginning, as a species.

video

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ahriman and Lucifer

If this Black Friday was not a fine example of the orgy of enthusiasm with which we have embraced the decline of Western Civilization, then it is surely programming gone awry. If you were pepper-sprayed, in a crowd striving to take hold of an Xbox, I can say that I don't have much sympathy. I'm not ready to condemn her, the woman who did it. If rumor is true and she walked out unidentified, maybe even paying for the item, I almost feel like applauding her, insofar as she showed us the power of the school effect.

The easiest answer is, she's a sociopath. But if so, what are the people who were so oblivious in such number, that she got away with it? If the TV commercials are any indication, these Black Friday shoppers are supposed to be aggressive. They are more like feeder fish, in all the consciousness that behavior displays. It's sad, and appalling, that we have come to this place, choosing this path of continued abuse and destruction of the Earth, this absurd place we have come to, that we have to shop like mad to save the economy. As if that can save us from this out of control tilt toward apocalyptic devastation, wild-eyed in this strange faith in the prevailing paradigm. As if we hold on long enough some technological messianic something or other, is going to allow us to consume so obliviously, forever and always.

Sean Hannity interviewed Dick Cheney Saturday night. If there is a more smug Christian than Hannity, I am not aware of it. And Cheney? It is perfectly apropos that he is a man without a working heart. There is your cyborg, an aging imperialist on a book tour to tell us again that it was right and good that we started two wars while accepting tax cuts, our reward for ridding the world of terror, bankrupting the country. How have we rid the world? It remains a nationwide conspiracy, our collective unwillingness to accept responsibility. As if the two halves of ourselves are willing us toward oblivion. Better epic collapse, apparently, than a thoughtful readdressing of our place in the world, as a nation, as a people, as a species.

Ahriman and Lucifer. According to the mystic Rudolf Steiner, there is a twin-demonic energy loose in the world, which he called Lucifer and Ahriman, diametrically opposed to the archangel Michael. While I find this an imbalanced trinity, and I can't vouch for anything like an archangel, I can say I have sensed something like Ahriman and Lucifer. Ahriman representing a kind of material sacrifice of the spirit, Lucifer like a spiritual sacrifice of the material. Ahriman, as the idea that the world is only matter, raw material to exploit without concern for consequences except as they benefit me. Lucifer, as spiritual inflation, the idea that the existence of spirit, or any other plane or dimension, is the true reality, as if this reality has none, or none that is good. Both conspiring to separate us from the world we inhabit, leading us to our destruction.

It seems as apt a description of what is going on, as any. Doesn't this too, seem to speak of Capitalism and Socialism, twin social paradigms primary in this Age? Capitalists revere competition and the rule of law, esp. as it benefits Capitalists. Socialism, based in a fear of powerful men, seeks to restrain, but in the end only serving to elevate elites, at the expense of individual freedom, and often, sense. And let's not kid ourselves, all the Western nations and China are excellent examples of a blend of Capitalist and Socialist; in fact, the laissez-fair competition so dreamed of by Western Capitalists is more a reality in China than anywhere in the West, where also, in China, true socialism is most extreme. In China, you don't get to vote yourself benefits, or even communicate freely about them. America has been the Empire it is precisely because it has been such a balanced blend of Capitalist and Socialist tendencies.

If things go south economically speaking (speaking of financial markets, and the rise of China), and the European Union dissolves, life in Europe is likely to feel a bit more shadow socialistic. Here in America, any drift toward a more aggressive authoritarianism, is likely to have the flavor of the Right. Here's for a long, slow decline, so we can keep the house in balance. With all the bluster about Iran, and our disintegrating relationship with Pakistan, I'm not optimistic. I almost want the people of the world to ratchet up their consumption of fossil fuels, to drain the engine of that particular nightmare, sooner rather than later. Clearly, I don't have to worry much about that.

So where is this archangel Michael, in all of this? He certainly isn't behind Religion, which is as much influenced by Luciferic energy as anything. I'm pretty sure I saw something like Ahriman in a dream the other night. I would probably face down a glowing golden winged creature, as I did that thing with those nasty black horns and all that rage, if I were to see one. I am not in service to any tyrant. If he's there, he better have a miracle ready, if he hopes to dissuade Humanity from heading blindly into epic collapse. Perhaps he will assist us, if he is there, to help open our hearts? To crack open our heads, to let a little reality in, reminding us that the answer is in the body. Inside, where the workings of Ahriman and Lucifer are so evident, if we only care to look, to dispel them.

Me, I place my faith in the Goddess. Ahriman and Lucifer can blow, the freaks. Archangel Michael can earn some respect by showing us something. I'm not waiting. I'm looking to my core, to ground myself firmly in the Earth, to clear myself of all that prevents me from knowing what I am, why I am here, and what it is I am to do. I interpret signs, and take things thoughtfully, moderately, choosing my own path. Calling out my service to the Goddess daily, not with hope of any return, but to remind myself what it is I am doing, and why.

Those signs I spoke of are leading me to Dallas next week, as Creative Director of HD Masks, at the Professional Baseball Trade Show, at the Professional Baseball Winter Meetings. I played baseball a long time ago, but I quit following the professional game when my dreams of playing professionally ended. I can't name enough professional players to fill a team roster. I've been dreaming about bringing the green paint, animal pants and deer horns. I could wear the dragon mask, dancing down the isles between booths. We have a pirate costume and a mask. I think I'll bring the pine swords. I intend to sell a lot of masks, with the idea of the gift. If I sell an abundance of masks, I can take this house off the grid - actually walk my talk. Which is the point, if I intend on bringing healing to the Earth.

Blessings be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

Meandering through HuffPost Tuesday, I came across a piece from Diane Francis, Editor-at-Large, The National Post: "Europe Boots Out It's Political Morons". For those who have not invested any attention in the travails of the EU, that well-meaning union of Nation-States is on the verge of collapse. Which would have grave ramifications for that union affectionately known (at least in some parts), as the United States of America.

She writes, of the appointment of Mario Monti as Italian Prime Minister, and the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi:

"The relatively seamless transition from elected to technocrats is a healthy and necessary way to circumvent short-term democracies which have failed to cope with this crisis. This is no different than a private sector "workout" where the CEO is removed from a failing corporation and is replaced by the bankers' representatives."

To which I replied in the comments:

"That, Ms Francis, is otherwise known as a coup. Which, here in America, is also called treason. I recommend resisting the urge toward ego inflation and the advocating of policies that are fundamenta­lly unconstitu­tional, lest you find yourself on the authoritar­ian side of history, part of that long list of usurpers and destroyers­. This is a country of people - one person, one vote - not a corporatio­n. Your words betray your comfort with that top-down, dictatoria­l hierarchy, and your lack of attention to the ideas out of which America was conceived - that there are urges toward power that must be checked, or freedom becomes what usurpers and dominators decide it will be."

It isn't surprising, this kind of thinking like Ms Francis', floating about the mainstream media. Millions of Americans are employed by some kind of corporation, and many more Americans will vote for none other, with their dollars. It should be remembered that there is nothing democratic about most corporate cultures; they are purely dictatorial. And very successful until recently, at providing for associates a certainty that there would always be a higher standard of living. If one lives in the kind of comfort provided by that employment, it shouldn't be surprising at all that one would become comfortable with authoritarianism. Many are finding now that that service isn't always so sweet, and no guarantee of anything. Notwithstanding, people do not forget what that comfort was like, and most want it back, at what currently seems to be any cost.

In the midst of crisis, Europe officially chose authoritarianism - an unelected autocracy of financial organizations, selecting technocrats to lead nations, free of any messy electoral process that surely would not lead to autocratic technocracy and steep cuts to social programs. Everybody is trying to keep their's, the billionaires and the pensioners, hardly a one willing to give. Still, it is nothing short of usurpation, the few who have the greatest financial stake claiming power extraordinarily, even risking a potential North/South conflict - if the bond vultures are allowed to dine, it's hard to imagine Italians, Spanish and Greeks living quietly in servitude to northern Banks, and bondholders from around the globe.

I heard the following quote, attributed to a famous bond trader (who I won't name because I can't confirm him having said it), referring to the Congressional Super Failure.

"If the cowardly lions can't find their courage, maybe it's time to let the wizards of Finance run things."

Very clever, and apt in half, but I really hope my fellow Americans think this is as ridiculous on the whole as I think it is. Never mind the wizard in that story was just a man pretending to be like a god. In some ways, it doesn't seem like it matters, because ideologues on the right and left seem to have accepted the necessity that financial wizards dictate the course of the country. Stealth usurpation. I don't even hear any Tea Party Congressperson who isn't talking about letting financial wizards define America's economic future; many seem their foremost advocates, as if the only freedom worth advocating is the self-interested accumulation of money.

It is probably time to point out, as if I were the first, that self-interest is driving humanity inexorably toward ecological oblivion. If we know anything about the human animal, it is that once he has something, he is going to do what he has to do to keep it. That goes as well for health care, homes and pensions, as it does for the rewards of hedge fund management. Capitalist economic doctrine is now the preferred economic model worldwide. It is wise to remember, an economic model does not a Nation make; and, that there is a vast gulf between the extreme binaries that are Capitalism and Socialism, those two economic models the ideologues of the world have forced upon us.

John Michael Greer wrote a prescient post in this regard, recently, leaning on the work of Aristotle, and the mystic Rudolf Steiner, to point out that the binary relationship is a false one, they being typically two sides of the bad, with the good, or the virtue, at the center between the two. That place between Capitalism and Socialism, in my conception, being the balance between self-interest and service to the whole, or something like the gift economy Charles Eisenstein elucidates in his Sacred Economics.

To be fair to Ms Francis, she has not advocated for the direct suspension of any Constitution, though she did write the piece before the Congressional Super Failure. I wonder what she will write next (she had some particularly authoritarian language for the opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline). And as far as I know, Monte will have to run for Italian Prime Minister, in the next election. Then again, I'm not sure the national sovereignty of Italians or Greek or Spaniards or even the French is as important to EU financial leadership, as the health of the current economic regime. It is equally clear to me that the government of America, from the Judiciary to the Congress to the Presidency, is more concerned about the Market than the Constitution or democracy. I am less clear about the people.

I'm not sure how invested we are in the freedom to do much of anything but make money and buy things. We have been able to buy so many things for so long, we have let this country tilt toward authoritarianism, and once unleashed, that is no easy thing to restrain. We are going to have less money to buy things with, in the future in America, it is looking like. Whether we will allow the continued creep of authoritarianism, in the false belief that it will lead us on another long, lucrative empirical run, I don't know. Suspending the Constitution in an effort to protect capital interests, seems entirely possible.

What we forget about the human animal (aka human being), is that having lived for so long in community, we are quite capable of giving. In fact, many human beings know it feels good, and it is exceedingly healthy, to give. We are going to have to remember how to give if we have any hope of passing through the transition that will be the end of fossil fuels, with the knowledge that will allow us to live happy lives, generation after generation.

John Michael Greer has recently written too, about the tendency to become like the thing we contemplate. With due respect, and he deserves much, I would suggest that we must contemplate the loss of our freedom, if we are to maintain hope of retaining it. If we are to contemplate it, it is imperative too, and I think he would agree, that we give thanks for the freedom we have, and our ability to contemplate it freely.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the freedom to write publicly, without living in fear. I am thankful for the police, those who take seriously their creed to protect and to serve. I am thankful for social media, which has reminded them, and us, that authoritarian behavior is alive and well in America. I am thankful for the abundance in my life, my beautiful family, the beautiful families I know, for this house that remains my abode. I am thankful for a job, and those who have provided me with it. And I am thankful for my readers.

Blessings to you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Aliens

I think I've been a bit preoccupied with violence, of late. Not wanting to call violence into my life, or into being, I thought I might shift the trajectory of my thought somewhat, and comment on a thing that perplexes me.

Some people firmly believe in the immanent presence of aliens. They believe in the presence, in the skies, of mechanical devices that contain beings who did not evolve on Earth. I know at least one man, who is otherwise a fairly grounded being, a good father and an artist, who believes he went through something like an abduction. It is estimated that just about as many Americans believe in aliens in our skies, as believe in God. Despite the fact that this does not square with physics as we currently understand it; no mechanical device is capable of traversing the distance between stars with habitable planets as we understand them, in the lifetime of any living thing with intelligence as we understand it. It is hard enough to fly to Mars, in the relatively cozy confines created by our Sun. If any human made it to Mars alive, and sane enough to pursue scientific objectives, after the six or so years the journey would take, he or she would have to be eminently samurai-like, or unconscious most of the way. Returning alive would be something like a miracle.

To put this in perspective, the star Gliese 581, one of the 100 closest stars to our Sun, only 20.5 light years away, is said to have a potentially habitable planet in orbit around it. The humans who made it there, traveling by conventional means, say about 40,000 mph through interstellar space, would get there in about 3 billion years, in about the same amount of time it has taken life to evolve on Earth. They would have to evolve into some kind of half-silicon, tiny gray egg-headed thing, to still exist by the time they reached that one planet that we thought might be habitable, esp. should it turn out to be more like Europa, or Mars, to endure the bitterness of it. Then again, Mars might actually seem like a kind of paradise, to any being that never knew any reality but the inside of a space ship. Of course too, that planet won't probably exist, 3 billion years from now.

There are Einstein-Rosen bridges, or worm holes - or the speculated such things, which cannot be confirmed for lack of evidence. Theoretical pathways through the fabric of space-time, that would allow mechanical vehicles to travel vast distances in a short period of time. Unless these bridges are fixed in space, and there are pathways within the near reaches of the solar system, or inside it, or it is possible to call them into existence, it is impossible to imagine accessing one. And where would you go, if you knew of one and you entered it? Wouldn't you be opening up the Earth to whatever might exist on the other side, whatever that might be? Would you survive, or would you be pulled apart particle by particle, as in a black hole? Whatever possibilities there might be, no such bridge is known to exist.

There is another idea, which I first encountered in Graham Hancock's Supernatural, that there are no such beings immanent, outside of the vast interior of our consciousness. There is no historical reference to little gray beings from space, prior to 1950's America, when tales of alien abduction began to emerge. The prevailing scientific notion is, alien abduction is hallucinatory, dream induced fantasy. Hancock does not condescend this way. Rather, he assumes that the little gray beings are like emanations of the unconscious, literal beings, appearing to us not as they are but as we are inclined to perceive them. He suggests these same beings appeared to our ancestors as half-men, half animals, or like gods, or like humans, contacting us through dream states, hallucination and trance. Today, we are conditioned to see little gray beings, half-alive, half-machine, by the industrial mechanical nature of the Age, the opening up of the physical universe in our consciousness, and our own modest space travel. And the reports of these aliens and abduction, and their sad semi-lifeless amorality, as the fear that we might become like them. He argued that aliens do not exist in the physical reality of our solar system, but they do exist, as beings in some other kind of dimension, or elsewhere in the universe, using consciousness as the vehicle.

I am inclined to think that life exists wherever conditions are appropriate for it, more a universal rule than the exception. If we continue to explore the solar system, I suspect we will find life in many places, however humble that existence, like the life we have found at the bottom of the sea, or flourishing in arctic waters, or in steaming, molten hydro-vents, where we did not believe life could exist. I'm inclined to think there is abundant life and probably intelligent beings in every galaxy, of which there are hundreds of billions. And if there is any kind of vehicle with which to traverse the universe, it is as likely as not, consciousness.

There are many who believe discloser is imminent. That is, the idea that world leaders have been aware of the terrestrial existence of aliens from other planets, and that there has been some kind of agreement between said leadership and these aliens, that the aliens not reveal themselves for a period of time, perhaps at such time as the world economy is bankrupted and the world is irredeemably polluted. At such time as we are deeply weakened, and can be taken over more easily. Various people are said to be aware of and hastening this end, through various machinations. I see no such awareness in anyone in leadership anywhere. I see only people who believe they are in control, who are mostly fooling themselves.

Mostly, I have convinced myself that there are no aliens in our skies, nor have there ever been, nor will there ever be. If there are such things as Einstein-Rosen bridges, the solar system is as likely to stumble into one, as we are ever to find one in our veritable back yard, that we can traverse at will. It is more likely that if they exist at all we will never really know it, anymore than we can conceive of say, quantum non-locality. In short, we are alone in our corner of the universe, on the only planet we will ever know. So we might as well get used to it, and start treating it like it matters. The whole idea of aliens in our skies, as nothing but an extension of our loneliness, and our desire for a messiah, someone or something to come save us from our predicament.

But just about the time I get smug about it, I think about crop circles. One doesn't have to spend more time looking at images of crop circles than it takes to finish a cup of coffee, to begin to question everything we think we know about anything. I know what people say about them, that they are created by people using wooden boards and rope, which sounds to me like an argument designed to protect one's shell from cracking and one's ego from spilling onto the computer. One discovers on the second cup of coffee, that no supposedly sober person will study crop circles, or even comment, without passing them off as irrelevant. Like hallucinogenic substances, they are off-limits, taboo. Not to be considered, because they cannot be explained rationally, with any understanding that doesn't defy the limits of existence as we know it.

Such is my perplexity made of. But if crop circles aren't created by aliens, then it's a process involving some grand duplicity by humans, who are generally too egotistical a creature not to take credit. Why will the artist not show his/her/itself, and how? It is very mysterious. (I have considered too the idea that the Earth itself is doing it. But that's an idea even more far-out than aliens, and I don't take it very seriously.)

I hear that in Glastonbury, England, where there seem to have been crop circles in abundance, they are expecting the return of Arthur. I want to go there, for the same reason I want to eat mushrooms. Because I am perplexed, and because I can't really know outside of my own experience.

And if there are aliens in the skies, and you are good, why the hell are you being so coy? What the hell is taking so long? What the F are you waiting for?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crazy Talk

Remember what I said about America not going insane, last week? Yeah, then that Penn State thing came out, and the board fired the great coach, like they needed to, but then they left the guy on staff who actually saw that sexual predator assault that boy, and didn't do a whit more than the coach, or anyone else who knew about it. Isn't that just about as clear a tale as there is, as to how a game of dominance and destruction has become like a religion to so many Americans, that even a known pedophile cannot be exposed, or even prevented, and he was maybe even allowed to prostitute boys to wealthy donors - ostensibly, to protect the program. And then that video, those policemen, in Berkeley of-all-places, pummeling those kids and teachers, pulling them around by their hair - a clear message to Americans, about what happens to those who question the prevailing paradigm. And John Corzine, Senator and Governor and potential heir to the Treasury-Office of the Secretary, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and all-around darling of the Wall Street set, walking away unscathed after $600,000,000 of investor funds, under his purview, go missing, as if it was just a bad bet? I'm not sure if it's a sign of our worship of the Market, or our faith in the Law, that either of these men, Corzine and Sandusky, are still alive. We are a society of laws, I keep hearing, but from my perspective, these laws seem tilted rather strikingly, pardon the pun, to keeping the majority in check, while letting a minority risk hundreds of millions of other people's dollars, and even rape children with impunity, from a pedestal.

And Ms Bachmann out there, talking about beating Sandusky to a pulp. This, from a woman who as President, would likely drop a nuclear bomb on Tehran. She doesn't look like she's going to have that opportunity, thank God. Which is curious, as God apparently told her to run. Isn't that funny, God sending such a message of consistent crazy talk. But then, there's Herman Cain, who God too convinced to run. I'm wondering why God wants such a cad to be president? I mean seriously, if public accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior are like what corporations used to think was the rule about written complaints (back when they still cared about customer service), then there are like 500 women this wannabe President humiliated sexually. If you consider too, going-public nationally is a bit more intense than writing a letter, the number is probably more like a thousand. That is some seriously ill mo-jo. But clearly, that kind is held in high esteem, in some circles. I'm starting to think God has a wicked sense of humor. I mean, really, who actually thinks pedaling some of the shittiest pizza in America is reason to be President?

Lest you forget, it would have been Obama who would have tapped Corzine for the Treasury post. I do have to say, though, his recent stall on the Keystone XL pipeline is the first major decision he has made as President that I agree with. Not that the Canadians are any less likely to find a way to continue to open up a wound in the North American continent here-to-fore unknown anywhere on Earth. Now that they can't just send a pipeline through the heartland, they are prevented by a mountain range in the West and ice in the North, and it's a damn long way from Alberta to Nova Scotia. But that route is over granite bedrock, which is a lot more stable than permafrost. How much do you think is at stake, in this next election? Just as The Congress is set to eviscerate the economy with a $1.5 trillion cut in spending. That pipeline would be a G-O-GO on about day 101, of any Presidency of any of the candidates running among the GOP. Then again, I'm not sure existing oil supplies, or the continued solvency of the EU, or the international bond market, will see that pipeline to completion, whoever is elected. Whatever the case, it cannot ever be built, to lead anywhere off the continent.

A guy showed up at the store, the morning after I wrote the last post. In a conversation about art with one of my staff, he let out that he had consumed seven grams of shrooms the night before. Good god, I said, Terence Mckenna met with the mushroom man on five grams! I took his presence as a sign, even if he looked sleepy, and a little skittish. He said he would find some for me, and I heard from him once, but he hasn't shown up since. Too bad.

All week, something I said in the last post has been sticking with me. What exactly am I advocating? Well, here's something. I've said it before. Dismantle every third house in some neighborhoods of Minneapolis, and use them to rebuild the others, to take advantage of solar heat. We might start with every house owned solely by any bank that is heavily leveraged in International markets. Start a trend. If our elected officials insist on acting like bank and Wall Street bitches, then I say, take the big banks down. While we're at it, start a new local gift-based currency. Appropriate as much land as possible to gardens. It's all going to happen sooner or latter, anyway. Might as well be intentional about it.

I had a premonition riding my bike to work this morning, after spending the evening with a woman, that all that has passed in this last 6,500 year cycle, all of the ever increasing suffering of the teeming masses, of biological systems everywhere, of the whole system of the Earth, is spiraling to some energetic point; out of which we will continue, spiraling energetically outward, hopefully in a more all-encompassing way. Every one of us has the opportunity in any moment to make any choice, that can set us entirely on a new trajectory. Here's hoping humanity makes a choice that will right itself with the Earth.

Oblivion is probably inevitable.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Post-Halloween

In a previous post, I wrote about the Christian propensity past for torturing and burning women. I suggested that such a thing - as we seem more interested in the happenings of Kim Kardashian than we are in anything that has ever happened - could happen again. I am sensitive to the charge that calling it out calls it into being. I am also aware that I am living in a culture that is not anywhere near so enlightened as it believes itself to be. In fact, it appears to me profoundly delusional, hardly more aware for all our privilege and available information and our sense of entitlement, than we were in the Middle Ages. It is more likely, actually, that we could revert back into officially sanctioned barbarity, than we are on the verge of the great awakening that I am advocating for. But then, I'm home alone on a Friday night drinking homemade wine and smoking pot, because saying so does not exactly make me a pariah...

I'm quite confident, actually, that my fellow Americans are not going to go completely insane. I don't think, but then, the same thing that was reason for you to be tortured and killed in the Middle Ages, a propensity for looking to plants for your salvation rather than men, is reason enough for the Government today to put you in a cage, and take everything you own but your life. And really, if you are in a cage, or on probation, or you are coming out of "school" with a hundred thousand dollars of debt, the government might as well own your life. And the vast majority of Americans, at least until very recently, have thought nothing about this arrangement. We have tacitly supported it, sometimes vociferously. Hell, even now, when at least half the population supports marijuana for at least medical purposes, the government of that great black hope* is raiding dispensaries. And if you are afraid reading this, is it because I have suggested there is salvation to be found in plants; or are you worried that a government agency might be eavesdropping, and you have been heretofore living unbeknown, in the midst of tyranny? Don't act too surprised. There is hardly a human alive who would not devastate the biosphere to improve his or her standard of living - which is also like saying there is hardly a human alive who will not accept any government that allows them to pursue an ever more expensive standard of living, no matter the consequences.

All I really want to do when I'm done inventorying (it is as tiresome a word to say as it is to do) the vast array of Monster Halloween merchandise the Twin Cities did not purchase, is consume about five grams of Strophoria cubensis. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who grows them, I don't know where to look, and I don't know that I can afford five grams. I do have syringes full of spore in my refrigerator, but they're not illegal as long as they remain spore, and there are no shortage of competing spore in this house. Mushrooms are not technically a plant, but their own kingdom entirely: Fungi. Or queendom, depending on the people who have held them in high regard. I am not averse to finding my salvation from any kingdom or queendom, including that of men and women, but I hold to the advice of the Oracle at Delphi, all things in moderation.

A reader left a bag full of vegetables, for me, at the store recently. I wouldn't be averse at all to a reader dropping by with five grams of shrooms. I have abundant skills, I was a general contractor, I'm open to trade for labor and intelligence and maybe conversation and friendship too, though I will pay if I can afford it. I'm open to it, but I'm not very optimistic, as I have about as many readers locally as I do on both coasts, and the dangers are very real - though law enforcement around here in my experience is more bite than bark and not very full of either.

That, or maybe twenty fresh leaves of the plant Ojos de la Pastora, or a hefty brew of the ayahuasca. I can do without the datura. I will gladly puff the DMT. Or even, 250 fresh home-grown seeds of the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory, as my harvest this year was as weak as the nightshades tomato and potato (though that very tricky cousin of theirs seemed to do just fine.) The Heavenly Blue are even legal, perfectly mundane; and sublime.

My garden harvest this year was even more weak than the profit at Monster Halloween, insofar as I failed to gather most of it, either the ripe watermelon or grapes or tomatoes or peppers or eggplant, in anything close to their entirety. Which part seemed to me a reason for the dis-favor I seemed to have found myself in, with the Goddess, which lately seemed to have changed but which now seems more like a tease. Which is fine. I'm not interested in pursuing any woman who's not into me. And there seems another book and maybe two and at least a story growing in my consciousness, I'll be looking at that second book and maybe releasing both, as a free download. Meanwhile doing everything I can to turn HD Masks into a hundred million dollar business. All, assuming everything doesn't go to hell right quick, like I half expect it to. And I don't drink and puff myself into oblivion.

Oh yeah, and the dance. And I haven't been singing. Oh yeah. (Insert laughter.)


*If Barack Obama has any hope of earning a second term, it's that there is no one sane who would want the job, or even a legitimate competitor. If he wasn't meant to be there, he wouldn't have that name.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween 2011

I have made it through another Halloween retail season. Halloween has yet to come, as I begin to write this, but most of this season's parties have passed, and so too the peak of Halloween purchasing. I have survived quite unscathed, the crucible that is the Wed-Saturday prior to Halloween. Americans are such procrastinators, is the new cliché. Sales were brisk, but still only 40% compared to last season. People loved the shop, many remarking what a cool store we had built, many hoping we would continue. We built the coolest Halloween store in the Twin Cities, and if it is indeed that, it can be said to be the coolest Halloween store in the Midwest. Sales per customer were high, a high percentage of those walking through did buy; had we had the traffic we had last year in Uptown, I'm confident we would have had the $400,000 October I speculated about, in a previous post. Instead, by most accounts, the Twin Cities emptied out the corporate costume boxes Halloween Express, Party City and Spirit Halloween, and left our locally owned and operated one-site shop looking like it was day one.

The reasons for our low sales are many. There is the economy, of course, a general sentiment of dreariness about the future of the economy, and a sense of malaise about the future of America. There was road construction clogging an already difficult series of intersections. There is a glut of Halloween merchandise in the metro, every corporate retail outlet feeding at the $6-7 billion trough, a bubble of pop-ups dotting the landscape not five minutes drive from any of the 2.5 million people living in suburbia. The Vikings have sucked, literally attempting to siphon a billion dollars through the funnel that is the State Legislature, to fund a fancy new stadium, at the same time they are playing some of the worst football in franchise history. And the great x-factor that I could not fully admit until recently, that many people have a deep aversion to traveling downtown to shop, no matter that we are at the edge of downtown right next to I-35, and there is plenty of parking. Despite that there were cameras and reporters from three of the four major local stations in the building, one of them twice, in our 45 days of operation. Only some x-factor greater than this deeply ingrained, mostly unconscious aversion, could overcome it, turning collective consciousness our way, which at least this one radical anarchist gorilla gardening Halloween store manager couldn't quite provide.

Though there must be some new kind of x-factor I can't quite name, at play, as this past week, one woman gave me her number without me asking, and another woman asked me out - neither of which experience has ever happened to me - and I asked out another woman who said yes, which hasn't happened in more than three years, and there is another woman who is clearly interested, and another I am very interested in who seems interested in me. All of them strong, independent, beautiful women. Though not a one of them really knowing anything about my life away from the Halloween store - and that bit of magic, and the meager income stream it provides, is about to dry up. And it's not clear that it would be good to inflict this blog on any of them. And certainly not the condition of my house.

I went with one of the partners to several neighborhood bars, Saturday night, at the end of our passage through the crucible. I wore the orange afro and the funky jacket and shoes, he wore a high-quality chimpanzee mask and shirt. We found very little joy where we went. We found partially empty, and out-of-business bars. We found exceptionally drunk people. In one bar, we were roundly ignored, with a low-grade sullen hostility. The partner remarked on it, and I reminded him that there is opportunity in every moment, and I closed my eyes and danced at the bar to the band playing in the next room. One guy approached the partner in awe, astounded that any man would wear a full-on monkey mask to a bar. It's Halloween, I thought, and kept dancing.

I didn't actually dance much, the last two weeks, outside the store. We found two young men whose child-like enthusiasm was a better fit, than my curious style that is as much a challenge; their joy was more appreciated than my, do you see what joy looks like. That, and I've eaten more CAFO beef the past two months than I have the past four years. And my tolerance for alcohol is higher than it has been since college. And the weed has passed from ally to something like a habit. I never did put together that band I kept thinking about. My memory has been less than pristine, in the minutia. I'm glad, actually, to be done with the store, though just as sad, to have to tear down something that in a way is so beautiful. Glad to be done with it though, so I can move on. HD Masks is calling. So to, the OWS. And some quiet solitude to clarify a few things, to pull back a bit and think. There are some writing ideas floating about, trails to be followed. Though I'd rather get laid this winter and otherwise actively participate in the world, than do the semi-dissolute monk thing like I did last winter. There seem to be some women who might like to help me with that. I'd rather not muck it up with gloom.

(Have I been as mistaken about the future of this country, as I have been about the immediate potential of this business, and consumer spending this Halloween?)

"It's hard to dance with a devil on your back," sings Florence and the Machine, at 12:51 am. "Shake it up, shake it off," I hear her singing, or something like that. That same partner of the monkey suit called me a fatalist, the other day. I couldn't disagree with him. It's true, my perception of the collapse of the culture has led me to darken my outlook about my own path, to dissipation. The call to dissolution has been loud. And then I awaken to discover anew that my life is full of beauty and abundance, and I am grateful, and whole new paths of opportunity open up that I had not previously considered possible.

Would I manage the coolest Halloween store in the Midwest, again? The only reason I do it, aside from the fact that it is my only money making opportunity right now, is the people. I love the people, the customers and my staff. I am also sick of them, at this point. It seems to me that many in these new generations, the Y and the millennial, think that showing up when you say you are going to show up means showing up when you feel like it. That, and confiscating their phone might be the only way to keep their consciousness out of it. Many people walking through the doors are deeply disrespectful, opening up random packaging and throwing the contents on the floor, stealing accessories from costumes, stealing wigs and anything small enough to conceal. I have hired six black folk the past two years, good people, and every single one of them skipped out. I have met a few good, solid black folk, and a great many who feel a sense of entitlement as egregiously foul as any, equally unearned. Despite the considerably fewer numbers of people walking through the doors, there have been a far greater number of people this year who were simply difficult, acting like if we didn't take 50% or more off every item, we were stealing from them, whining and contemptuous like little brats. That, and the point of sale system we use is designed by Canadians, who do not know the meaning of the word efficiency, who also feel themselves superior. How many people came to the counter, acting like they were forced to buy a costume?

Still, my favorite thing is standing at the register, talking with and teasing and flirting with the customers, with those who are open to it. Many are surprised to find the staff so friendly. It really is a different place, where people love to be, and the staff mostly do love to be here. There is more joy in this building than in any retail establishment I have ever encountered. Having facilitated that is worth something, I think.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Black Death

I consume very little visual media.* I do have a very large tube television in my house, given to me by a friend, a massive TV that takes at least two, if not three men to move any distance. There is a groove in my maple hardwood floor, to remind me of the time I foisted it alone, from the floor to a short, sturdy oak coffee table. Where it sits, a blank screen staring darkly out, at my living room where I dance and sing (and sometimes lament my station), cold and without life but for a few hours this past year.

There are times when all I want to do is disappear into that television. These times are rare, and I indulge that desire even more rarely. The only movie rental option I have right now is Red Box, of which there are two within easy biking distance from my house. There was a Blockbuster Video. Last winter I enjoyed perusing that selection, which I exhausted in a month. Blockbuster, like Hollywood Video before it, and just about every independent video shop, evaporated into the wind of technological annihilation, in the last decade. I might try Netflix - I could probably hook my computer right to the TV - but Netflix is not a company I choose to support, I don't need to be watching that many movies, and streaming video on the public wifi is an exercise in frustration.

I have already exhausted the Red Box option. The Eagle was fun, a nice picture of the ancient landscape of my Celtic ancestors, a strong reminder of how much more vigorous that time was, how much more unjust and violent. The Green Hornet was emblematic of a more optimistic time in America, a more immature and self-congratulatory time. Being so far removed from the reality of the day, and so cartoonishly nihilistic and juvenile, it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The Social Network was an excellent piece, well acted - also one more reason I am indifferent to Facebook, and it is not a film to hold up as a model of entrepreneurialism, as some have suggested.

The Red Box is no joy, waiting in line as people browse. I typically order mine in advance, on-line. That, or I know what I'm looking for. One day recently, I selected True Grit. The Coen brothers are masters at their craft, and Jeff Bridges at his (though Tron was boring), and little Ms Hailee Steinfeld was awakening in her grasp of the character Mattie Ross. We forget how effectively lawless we have been in America, for much of our history. And how captive we have been to a dreary Judeo-Christian ethic, that really isn't much of anything but a means of coercion and control. As a companion, I randomly selected Black Death, having never heard of the film, which I expected to be bad.

Black Death is set in the British Isles, in 1348 at the onset of the bubonic plague. For those unfamiliar with history, the bubonic plague ravaged Europe in the 14th century, killing anywhere from 30-60% of the continental population. It reappeared periodically, spread by rats and fleas and filthy conditions, until the 19th century and improved sanitation. It weakened the power of the church, and restructured society from a feudal state, to peasants rights and an awakening in individual consciousness.

It is something indeed to see it on the screen. The film follows a band of mercenaries in service to the local Bishop, with their world-wise but young and unavoidably conditioned guide, an initiate monk, Osmond. These mercenaries are seeking a village that is rumored to be untouched by the plague, due to the machinations of demons, and a necromancer: sacrifice, the dead enlivened, men eating men, etc. Born and raised near the village, Osmond volunteers to guide the Bishop's Envoy and his men, because he believes it to be God's will; and, he is secretly following a woman.

(If you intend on watching the film, and I highly recommend it if you appreciate period films and can handle the violence, I suggest not reading further until you have.)

On the way to this village, Osmond attempts to intervene, as villagers are about to burn a supposed witch. She is no witch, but a just, kind and generous woman who lives close to the earth, and knows something about plants and the power of blessing. The scene is a reminder of how much European consciousness was twisted by Christianity, and the presence of mass death - that any woman not wholly controlled by the consciousness of the Church was suspect of witchery, many good women tortured and burned in the name of God, literally millions. The Bishop's Envoy, Ulrich, knows the woman is no witch, but he kills her anyway, because letting her loose, the crazed villagers would only track her down and burn her, and it would put Ulrich and his men in danger, because the Villagers are convinced burning the woman is the only way they will be saved from the plague.

Osmond leads the men to the village they seek, where they find not a necromancer or demons, but a simple village led by a woman. In contrast to the madness and sickliness we have seen elsewhere, this village is clean, calm, pleasant and abundant. There is no plague. There is a nice scene, these soldiers, covered in armor and blood, wielding their weapons, standing in the middle of the village, as the villagers gather, curious, wary and yet somehow unafraid, unarmed and seemingly peaceful.

The woman, Langiva, played by Carice van Houten, is luminous, like the goddess Brigit herself, in all her beauty and nurturing and sexual aspects, and also in her viciousness. She is no necromancer, but she has played the role. She tells young Osmond that the villagers have found the woman he is looking for, dead in the woods, and shows him the body. Later that evening, she presents him with a compelling scene, raising his lover from the dead. Her magic is no match for his embedded notion of the afterlife, and instead of running to his lover as she supposes he would, he runs away, terrified; thereby stumbling into the original party of four sent by the Bishop, before the arrival of the current rabble, previously missing - hanging by their wrists, bloody and dead, crucified. Osmond is captured. The soldiers are drugged and captured, and a kind of psychological battle ensues, over control of the the consciousness of the villagers - between the dominion of God or the dominion of the Goddess (though She is not named, and these villagers are said to be godless).

In that epic scene, Osmond is presented with his lover. She has only been drugged, but she is not yet fully herself (damned belladonna, datura?). Conditioned by the church, rather than trusting his senses, Osmond imagines her spirit residing in purgatory, that the body in front of him is not his lover. He kills her to save her - thereby tipping the balance in God's(dis)favor. The pagan, God-forsaking village is brought to ruin.

Osmond learns of his error - that his lover was never dead, that he killed his lover - and in that knowledge he grows cruel, he takes up the sword in the name of God, and spends the rest of his days hunting and torturing and killing women who threaten the dominion of the Church, with their beauty and independent ways.

Black Death is a study in the power of ideas. It is a reminder of what happens, when a masculine God is worshiped and the feminine Goddess is denied, no matter the intention. To place a male God at the pinnacle, is to give sanction to the men of violence, who seek control and practice domination. Just as it would be, in any village where the Goddess is revered at the expense of the masculine divine. It is similar to the ideological divide in modern politics, insofar as the rule of one side over the other is still rule, domination by coercion and control. We can't seem to fathom a village in which the masculine and the feminine are equally revered, where one is necessary to the other in every aspect. Instead, we follow those who divide, who practice control, filling our heads full of demons we are meant to perceive, in whatever Other that is to be subdued, destroyed, crushed, killed.

In America, the idea that there are demons is rampant. One cannot be Christian without believing so, and at least half the nation identifies as Christian. Notice too, the popularity of films in which some kind of otherworldly presence appears, in the flesh, able - in itself - to do physical harm. It is equally conspicuous that hardly any of these emanations are in any way good; they are almost always of evil intent.

Meanwhile, we are almost wholly ignorant of history, and so very much at threat of repeating it. What really is the wide use of antibiotics for everything viral, in humans and our pets and our feed animals, than the putting off of the inevitable, exacerbating it the longer we put it off? What really do we suppose will happen, if more and more Americans, in this ruthlessly global economy, cease to have access to the most high-tech synthetic antibiotics? And when these plagues inevitably come, is the American mind capable of resisting those who will tell us that this is the work of demons - when it is really only a function of our ignorance of physical processes? What really is the difference between the necromancer who pretends to raise the dead, and the man of God who raises the imagery of demons, as a means to control the many?

There may be demons, somewhere. But they have no power, here on Earth in this Universe, but what we do, perceiving them..

Poor Osmond. So able to see that the "killing of witches serves men more than God," yet unable to see how deeply ingrained in him, the ideas of those who claim to speak for God. He sees his lover not in the flesh but through the prism of his training, and so believes her to be dead, her body inhabited by something unnatural. Having been drugged, she may well have been between worlds, or dimensions - but not in any way he could imagine. And in his naiveté, believing himself good, he does something awful, and a crack appears in his psyche, allowing 'demons' in. Thereafter acting in every way demonic, in the name of God, with the full sanction of the men of control and domination.

What is astounding to me, is that even today, knowing what we know about the Church and its persecution of women, that these villagers cannot be said to be of the Goddess, but only without God. If you go to the web site for the movie, you will find descriptions of the male characters who are in service to God, but not a single word about Langiva, or even Hob, the powerful man in service to her. Reading the website, you might think a woman does not appear in the movie at all, as if this were some sort of buddy film. Similarly, reading about the bubonic plaque on-line, you will find very little mention of any burning of witches.

I recognize Ulric and his band of mercenaries. I see their humanity, despite their butchery. I see the stories they use to order their lives. If there can be said to be anything like reincarnation, I suspect I was part of such a rabble, in some former life. But in this one, I am an Anarchist in service to the Goddess, which is to say, I am not in service and will not serve any tyrant, man or woman, pretending to act under the auspices of God or Goddess or no-god, who seeks to fill peoples heads with ideas as a means to control them, and hold oneself above. And on the whole, if it should come to pass that we repeat the story of the Black Death here in America, as it seems to me we very well could, then you will find me protecting women and children and the Earth from predation, by the men and women of God; speaking and writing about the ideas that enslave us, speaking and writing of my life in service to the Goddess, if for no other reason than hardly anyone will, and there is no balance one without the other.

Though that said, after more than three years in service to the Goddess, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to anyone. I have only gone there I believe, because the world is out of balance, and as far as I know, no one else has ever claimed to be an anarchist in service to the Goddess, explicitly. Undiscovered territory, so-to-speak, and I go there to see what might be found. I can say it has been lucrative, insofar as a means of ordering the Self. But I have found very little comfort in that service - nor can I say that I am not mistaken. I am my only evidence. And honestly, I don't much care anymore if anyone else believes as I believe.

*What a load of BS, I thought, as I read this later. How much time do I spend meandering through the Internet each day? Hours. One more reason not to take me too seriously.