Thursday, September 20, 2012


How much can happen in a week?

About a week ago*, I awoke to a story on NPR about organic food. Stanford University had released a study suggesting organic foods aren't any healthier than industrial foods. I was only half shocked, as I was only partially awake.

When I walked into big bank later that morning, into the break room, BBC teevee news was reporting on a Stanford study, suggesting organic foods are no better for you than industrial foods (though I think NPR and the BBC used the word "commercial.") That was when I felt a watershed feeling, as of the last gasping breathe of a dying paradigm. Stanford, NPR, and the BBC. The commercialism of life is officially systemic, such that no authority of any kind remains, that is not suspect of bastardizing reality.

Then an Egyptian American coptic Christian con artist, pretending to be an Israeli Jew, released a film. An American Ambassador was killed in Libya, in an attempted kidnapping (why else would the "rioters" have rushed him to a hospital while he was still alive?), and anti-America sentiment with all the vigor and all-the-more ferocity of the Arab Spring, was released, all over the world. Meanwhile, much of China is alight with anti-Japanese fire breathing, many a Japanese automobile smashed to pieces in the street, Japanese restaurants and stores trashed, Japanese compared to dogs and demons. While one of the (debatable) Americans running for President, has been making increasingly aggressive statements against Russia, Iran, Syria and China, and at least 47% of his fellow Americans. Oh yeah, Apple released the iPhone 5. QE3?

First of all, hospitals have no incentive to lower Health Care costs. In fact, they have a financial incentive to fill the hospital, just as the prisons do. Hence, there is motive built into the system to keep people fat, unhealthy, and preferably stupid. Hence, a Federal and State policy in defense of industrial food. Second, we Americans don't get to presume we have the right to 35%+ of the world's resources, and then get uppity about the blowback, or to blame the languishing economy on poor people. Third, that attempted kidnapping that went awry can't be explained away with stories about radical Islam, as wretched as Fundamentalist Islam is, when the very private brain behind American foreign policy, the Council on Foreign Relations, is praising al Qaida for their support of the rebels in Syria; as in, don't put it past the CIA to kidnap an American Ambassador, or pay al Qaida to do it, with weapons to be used in Syria, to incite Americans to war in the Middle East, to forget about the economy - when NPR, the BBC and Stanford can't be trusted not to eviscerate the truth with mass media absurdities. Fourth, I can't tell the difference between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. How many Christian pastors stood up this week and defended Ro-money's de-humanization of half the country, with the poor put to the proverbial boot? On the whole as Religions with a capital R, Christianity, Islam and Judaism strike me as hostile to women, to the weak and to life, and bent toward world domination. The old beliefs speak of a triple Goddess arising in this world as the archetype of the maiden, the mother, and the crone. Today they are all subdued by dominant visions of the One Male God (OMG), or the One Male Omniscient God (OMOG), as a triplicate tyranny in God the Father, Yahweh and Allah.

An email came through to our department Wednesday, in big bank, that there would be a managerial walk-through at 1:30, and besides not having any personal items at our computer stations, we were required to have our keyboards on our computer trays, NOT on the desk. I didn't see the email, and no one confronted me, though I can't be sure it won't be counted against me that I had my backpack under the desk and my keyboard on the desk. It's hard to imagine any of my immediate managers insisting.

This is big bank, thinking not of my comfort or health, but of orderly appearances. This is especially obtuse, this kind of oversight, as I've waded through two hundred and fifty different big bank proffered mortgage loans in default, the last two days. Talk about government incompetence? Say, institutional. Indeed, Government facilitated these loans I'm expected to do this one thing for, highlighting HUD settlement statements, 150 loans every day the next several days, but the banks profited, big time. Nevertheless, because I have a job to do, I cleared 100 yesterday, 150 loans today, through this stage of the process.

The largest loan of the 250 was $929,000. There were three above $700,000,  about 75 today from Maryland and Virginia, above $400,000. I don't generally feel too bad about my part until I see a loan under $200,000, the closer the loan gets to $100,000. The especially saddening ones are under $100,000, in rural areas, though the documents aren't necessarily indicative of refinancing for a quick cash infusion, whatever the state of the debtors. On the whole, these loans do speak of a people trying to step up in class, who overshot, who got suckered into a classic bubble, according to a commercial version of the American dream. The vaunted $25 billion dollar mortgage settlement between the big banks and the State Attorney's General, is vinyl siding and window treatments to a rotten house, a Cherrio sponge in a bucket full of sour milk. Something I may attempt to benefit from, and report on faithfully if I do, btw, as I am $50,000 under water.

For those readers who remember about my job search, an email arrived from HR, of the DREAM JOB - not just the DREAM JOB, the Job I Was Made To Do. I wasn't deemed worthy of an interview.

I'm not surprised, nor am I wrecked about it either. Big Bank is not my first choice, but big bank is a kind of blessing in disguise, lipstick on a pig maybe, but a blessing for me now, for sure. A paycheck every week! Though my sister made more in one night serving drinks last week, than I made in my 40 hrs of service to Big Bank. That was sobering. Turns out people don't drink less when the economy is shitty. Tough work though, hard on the body, slinging drinks. Tough I can't imagine staring at mortgage documents years on end (though defaults are sure to continue in abundance into the forseeable future, notwithstanding the wish making of the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg et al.) The benefits have abounded, for me; my house is cleaner than it has been in awhile, I've brought a lunch every day since I started, most of it from my garden, and I'm encouraged to think about orderly progress on the house and garden. There is much to do, including turning the garage into a greenhouse, tearing up more of the driveway, a paver patio by the pond, insulating boards for the windows, besides putting the garden to bed for the winter, and the full harvest of course. I get up every weekday at 5am with the alarm. I've economised somehow and my best dreams seem to come around 2am.

I wish I could show you pictures of my garden, though no image or series of images or words would suffice to capture the beauty of my garden, after a rain, in the twilight, in the fall. My garden is a lush, abundant, enchanted food and medicinal forest, compared to my neighbor's consensual, bleak, burned out yards of sod. There is a spontaneous landscape artist on the corner right now (with an easel,) painting the sunflowers in the front, which stand ten feet tall, next to the equally tall broom grass, and the heavenly blue morning glory's on the fifteen-foot, dead, spiraled lilac trunk I propped up right at the corner. Surrounded by cosmos, hyssop, New-England aster, tomatoes, cabbages, melons and sapling fruit trees.

I finished reading a book this week, called The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. Leonard Shlain's basic premise is, five thousand years ago, everywhere in many cultures the Great Mother was supplanted by a Violent Male God, wherever there is evidence of the emergence of the written word. The word, he claims, is linear, abstract, and analytical, which is the purview of the left hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with the right side of the body. The right brain is about emotion, connection, image and sound, intuition, art and dancing. The written word literally rewired our brains to be left brain dominant, hence the imbalance in the world, the right angles, the general aggressiveness, incongruous attitudes about life, economy, the earth and universal processes. The world is in process toward re-balance, a return to wholeness and equanimity between the opposites of our being, as evidenced by the re-emergence of the image, Shlain contends. Teevee isn't so bad, in this sense, insofar as the near universality of the image has primed the human brain toward a greater openness to right brained activity, a greater expansion in the feminine. Shlain believes we are on the verge of a golden age, in which the masculine and the feminine are in greater balance. He wrote his book in the Ninties, before 9/ll, though I don't think he would be surprised necessarily by the resurgenge everywhere of mysogyny, whether that be fundamentalist Islam or the white male American Republican obsession with controlling the womb. Like I said, the watershed, the final thrust, of a dying paradigm.

I gave the painter a watermelon. I've made juice from three kinds of grapes that grow here. I've made salsa, and I've canned tomatoes and peppers. And while I have the urge to store, preeminent, or at least evident, is a desire to share. I measure the true abundance of this garden by what I will keep and what I will give away. Trusting, when I remember, that what I give will come back.

Shlain though contends, it is not to do away with the word, with Logos, with the analytical and science, but to embrace the spontaneous, life as Art and the joy of being alive, emotion, connection and the relation in every aspect to all things. Because therein arises the essence of the next stage of our evolution, the dis-illusion of duality and the unification of opposites. Arising above all out of the body, as it is a fount of universal energies, to the degree we open up to it.

*er, two. LOL


Jason Heppenstall said...

The BBC are no better than the rest with regards to being impartial. Because it is a public body (remember them?) it is forced to 'show both sides of the story' even though it is by nature a liberal institution. Thus we get climate change deniers invited to every damned 'debate' about the climate and warmongering hawks talking about how to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Because we have a right wing government at the moment the BBC gets publicly flogged if it doesn't invite enough right wing nuts onto its shows and mention enough dubious privately funded research.

Sad, but true.

Martin said...

What the Stanford study, PBS, BBC, et al, do not realize is that nutrition isn't all that organically-grown food is about, although that's a big piece of it. Mostly it's about the absence of pollutants - and then there's the flavor and genuine 'aliveness' of the stuff; yum!

Re: the state of the world in general and all - not much any individual can do about any of it except to enjoy the moment and keep on keepin' on...

William Hunter Duncan said...


NPR is subject to the constant threat of the end of public subsidies, and so has come to be a purveyor of government and corporate spin, i.e. manipulation. I don't hear them warmongering so much though, unlike the bulk of privately owned news and entertainment media. Default mode, all failing the economy, incite war.


Well said.

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