Sunday, December 16, 2012

Repost - On Objective & Subjective Art

I originally posted this back in 2006.
I've been contemplating writing a post that discusses where I am at artistically and how my move to Southern Utah has forced me to reassess what my art is, what it can be, and what its purpose may be.
I feel that before doing that, I'd like to look back a little bit and see how this previous post resonates with me. I think it still stands pretty strongly in my psyche.
I will follow this up with my own thoughts in the next post.

What follows is the previous post from 2006:

Osho's take on art is something that i know a lot of artists are not ready to face.

For many creative folks, they are so used to the art being born of friction and pain that they cannot imagine any other way of doing it, so they remain in unhealthy realities and fixations so that they have a constant nourishment for their creativity.
they fail to recognize that there is another more lifegiving kind of nourishment available.
life is not all suffering. and our fixation on that suffering does nothing but reinforce it.
that is what the "bhagwan" had to say:

Insight on Art by Osho

There are two types of creators in the world: one type of creator works with objects - a poet, a painter, they work with objects, they create things; the other type of creator, the mystic, creates himself, he works with the subject; he works on himself, his own being. And he is the real creator, the real poet, because he makes himself into a masterpiece.

The subjective art means you are pouring your subjectivity onto the canvas,
your dreams, your imaginations, your fantasies.
It is a projection of your psychology.
The same happens in poetry, in music, in all dimensions of creativity -
you are not concerned with the person who is going to see your painting,
not concerned what will happen to him when he looks at it;
that is not your concern at all.
Your art is simply a kind of vomiting.
It will help you, just the way vomiting helps.
It takes the nausea away, it makes you cleaner, makes you feel healthier.
But you have not considered what is going to happen to the person who is going to see your vomit.
He will become nauseous.
He may start feeling sick.

Look at the paintings of Picasso. He is a great painter, but just a subjective artist.
Looking at his paintings, you will start feeling sick, dizzy, something going berserk in your mind.
You cannot go on looking at Picasso's painting for long.
You would like to get away, because the painting has not come from a silent being.
It has come from a chaos.
It is a byproduct of a nightmare.
But ninety-nine percent of art belongs to that category.

Objective art is just the opposite.
The man has nothing to throw out, he is utterly empty, absolutely clean.
Out of this silence, out of this emptiness arises love, compassion.
And out of this silence arises a possibility for creativity.
This silence, this love, this compassion - these are the qualities of meditation.

Meditation brings you to your very center.
And your center is not only your center, it is the center of the whole existence.
Only on the periphery we are different.
As we start moving toward the center, we are one.
We are part of eternity, a tremendously luminous experience of ecstasy that is beyond words.
Something that you can be... but very difficult to express it.
But a great desire arises in you to share it, because all other people around you are groping for exactly such experiences.
And you have it, you know the path.

And these people are searching everywhere except within themselves - where it is!
You would like to shout in their ears.
You would like to shake them and tell them, "Open your eyes! Where are you going? Wherever you go, you go away from yourself.
Come back home, and come as deep into yourself as possible."

This desire to share becomes creativity.
Somebody can dance.
There have been mystics - for example, Jalaluddin Rumi - whose teaching was not in words, whose teaching was in dance.
He will dance.
His disciples will be sitting by his side, and he will tell them, "Anybody who feels like joining me can join.
It is a question of feeling.
If you don't feel like, it is up to you.
You can simply sit and watch."

But when you see a man like Jalaluddin Rumi dancing, something dormant in you becomes active.
In spite of yourself you find you have joined the dance.
You are already dancing before you become aware that you have joined it.

Even this experience is of tremendous value, that you have been pulled like a magnetic force.
It has not been your mind decision, you have not weighed for pro and for against, to join or not to join, no.
Just the beauty of Rumi's dance, his spreading energy, has taken possession of you.
You are being touched.
This dance is objective art.

And if you can continue - and slowly you will become more and more unembarrassed, more and more capable - soon you will forget the whole world.
A moment comes, the dancer disappears and only the dance remains.

. . .. ... ..... ........ .............

Question: Is it ever possible to paint a totally satisfying painting?

Osho - The Book of Wisdom, Discourse 20

WHILE PAINTING, EACH MOMENT can be totally satisfying. But once the painting is complete it can never be totally satisfying, because if it is totally satisfying the painter will have to commit suicide. There will be no need to live any more.

That's why I say life is longing, pure longing -- longing to attain higher and higher peaks, longing to go deeper and deeper into existence. But each moment can be utterly satisfying; that difference has to be remembered. When you are painting, each brush, each color that you throw on the canvas, each moment of it, is totally satisfying. There is nothing more to it. You are utterly lost, possessed, if you are a creator.

If you are only a technician then it is not so. The technician is not lost while he is painting, he is separate from his painting. He is just using his knowledge. He knows how to paint, that's all. There is nothing in his heart to paint -- no vision, no poetry, no song. He has nothing to create, but just the technology. He is a technician, not an artist. He can paint -- but while painting it is not meditation for him, it is not a love affair for him. He is doing it; he is a doer, separate. But the creator is not separate while he is creating, he is one with it. He is utterly lost, he has forgotten himself.

That's why when painters are painting they forget about food, forget about thirst, forget about sleep. They forget about the body so much that they can go on painting for eighteen hours without feeling at all tired. Each moment is absolutely satisfying.

But once the painting is complete, a great sadness descends on the real painter. These differences have to be remembered. When the painting is complete, the technician feels very happy: a good job done, finished. He is feeling tired; it was a long tiring process, no contentment on the way. He was just waiting for the result, he was result-oriented. He wanted to finish it somehow, and now it is finished. He takes a deep sigh of relief. He is happy, not while he is painting but only when the painting is complete.

Just the opposite happens to the creator. He is happy while he is painting; once the painting is complete, a great sadness descends on him. "So it is over? That peak, that climax, that orgasmic experience is over? That thrill, that adventure, that going into the unknown is over?" ... just as lovers feel sad after a deep orgasm: a subtle sadness, beautiful in itself, of tremendous value -- far more valuable than the happiness of the technician, because out of this sadness another painting will arise, out of this sadness another longing to soar high, another aspiration to reach beyond, another search, another inquiry, another pregnancy. The painter will be pregnant soon, will feel full, so full that he will have to share it again.

It is said that when Gibbon, the great historian, finished his great work about world history.... Thirty-three years it took to finish it, and he was so tremendously happy for those thirty-three years that it is said that he didn't age. He remained exactly the same, as if time never passed, as if time has stopped.

But the day it was finished he started crying. His wife could not believe it. She said, "You are crying? You should be happy, you should dance! The work is complete."

Gibbon said, "The work is complete. Now what is left for me? My life is complete." And within five years he aged so much, and by the seventh year he was gone.

IT IS SAID that Vincent van Gogh, the great Dutch painter, committed suicide when he felt that he had done the perfect painting. It is possible. If the painter feels the perfect has happened, then there is no point in living. The creator lives to create. The singer lives to sing, the dancer lives to dance, the lover lives to love, the tree lives to bloom -- if it has bloomed and the perfect flowers have come, then what is the point of prolonging a futile, meaningless existence?

Your question is significant. You ask: "Is it possible to paint a totally satisfying painting?"

Yes and no. Yes, while you are painting it will be totally satisfying. And no, once it is over you will feel great sadness. But that sadness is also creative, because it is only out of that sadness you will again start moving towards the sunlit peaks.

And in this life nothing really is ever perfect or can ever be perfect.

You will be surprised that I believe in an imperfect God. You will be shocked, because at least all the religions are agreed on one thing, that God is perfect. I don't agree, because if God is perfect then Friedrich Nietzsche is right that God is dead. God is perfectly imperfect -- that much I can say. Hence there is growth, evolution; hence there is movement. It is always, always coming closer and closer to perfection, but it is never perfect and it will never be perfect.

Nothing ever is perfect. In fact imperfection has a beauty of its own, because imperfection has a life. Whenever something is perfect -- just think, contemplate -- whenever something is really perfect, life will disappear from it.

Life can exist only if something is still imperfect and has to be perfected. Life is the effort to perfect the imperfect. Life is the ambition to make the ugly beautiful. Something of imperfection is a must for life to exist, for life to go on growing and flowing.

Nothing ever is perfect. Or if something any time happens to be perfect, in the East we have a right vision of it. We say whenever a person becomes perfect, that is his last life. The scriptures give different reasons for it; my reason is totally different. I say yes, when Buddha is perfect he will not come back, because perfection means life is no more possible. He will disappear into the cosmos.

RABINDRANATH, a great Indian poet and mystic, prayed his last prayer to God: "Send me back. Remember, I am not perfect. Send me back. Your world was too beautiful and you gave me such a precious life. And I don't want to disappear yet: I have yet to sing many songs, I have yet to paint many paintings, there is yet much in my heart which needs to bloom. Send me back, I am not perfect! Send me back."

That was his last prayer; he died praying this way. It is one of the most beautiful prayers and one of the most beautiful ways to die. How can one thank God more than this? "Your world was beautiful, I loved your world; I was not worthy of it but you made me. I am not worthy to be sent back, but still, your compassion is great. At least one time more, send me back."

LIFE KEEPS GROWING. Nothing ever is perfect -- or whenever something is perfect it disappears, it goes into annihilation. The Buddhist word is nirvana. Nirvana means annihilation, nirvana means cessation. Literally, nirvana means "blowing out the candle." Just as you blow out a candle and suddenly the light is gone, gone forever, has disappeared into nothingness -- that is nirvana. All the buddhas say whosoever becomes perfect moves into nirvana, goes into annihilation.

Don't hanker for a perfect painting, otherwise the painter will die. And you have yet to sing many songs.

And the painting cannot be perfect, the song and the dance cannot be perfect, for a few more reasons. One: when you visualize it in the deepest core of your heart, it is a totally different thing. When you start painting it, you are translating it from the subtle to the gross. In that very transforming, in that very translation, much is lost.

Hence no painter ever feels satisfied when he finishes his painting. It is not the same as that which he wanted to paint -- similar, but not the same. He has some vision to compare, it has fallen very short. Hence he starts another painting.

RABINDRANATH again has to be remembered. He wrote six thousand songs -- seems to be the greatest poet the world has ever known -- and each song is a beauty. But when he was dying he was crying, he was saying to God, "The song that I wanted to sing, I have not sung yet."

An old friend was by the side of the bed, and the old friend said, "What are you saying? Have you gone mad? You have sung six thousand songs. In Europe, Shelley is thought to be one of the greatest poets. He has sung only two thousand songs. You have defeated him three times. You should be happy and contented!"

Rabindranath opened his tear-filled eyes and he said, "I am not. Yes, six thousand songs I have sung, but you don't know the inner story. The inner story is, I wanted to sing only one song! But because it never was possible.... I tried once, failed; I tried again, I failed. Six thousand times I have failed. Those are all efforts, and I am not satisfied with any of them. That which I wanted to sing is still unsung."

In fact nobody can sing it.

Buddha used to declare in every town, wherever he would go, "Please don't ask these eleven questions." In those eleven questions, all important questions were included: God, soul, death, life, truth, everything important was included. Why? "Because," he would say, "they cannot be answered. Not that I don't know, but to bring them to words is impossible."

There was an ancient mysterious wall which stood at the edge of a village and whenever anyone climbed the wall to look onto the other side, instead of coming back he smiled and jumped to the other side, never to return. The inhabitants of the village became curious as to what could draw these beings to the other side of the wall. After all, their village had all the necessities of living a comfortable life.

They made an arrangement where they tied a person's feet, so when he looked over and wished to jump, they could pull him back.

The next time someone tried to climb the wall to see what was on the other side, they chained his feet so he could not go over. He looked on the other side and was delighted at what he saw, and smiled. Those standing below grew curious to question him and pulled him back. To their great disappointment he had lost the power of speech.

THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN cannot say. That which has been seen cannot be painted, cannot be reduced to words. But still each one has to give a try. The world goes on becoming more and more beautiful because of these efforts. The world is beautiful because of the six thousand songs that Rabindranath tried, although he failed to sing the song that he wanted. Those six thousand failures have made the world far more beautiful than it ever was. It will not be the same world again, those six thousand songs will go on resonating.

So go on painting, go on creating. Yet I tell you again and again, you will never be satisfied. I bless you that you should never be satisfied, but let each moment of your creativity be a great contentment. But when something is finished, move ahead. You have infinite capacities to create; you are unlimited, you don't have any limits to your potential. You are not aware what you can do, and you will never be aware unless you do it!

Hence the greatest creators are aware how poor has been their creation, because they become aware, more and more aware, how much more is possible. The ordinary person who has never created anything is not aware what he can do. There is no other way to know what you can do unless you do it. And while doing it you can see that what you wanted to do, what was very clear in your inner world, has become very dim and ordinary when it has been brought to the outer.

You will try again. Each effort will become better and better and better, more and more perfect, but never perfect.

. . .. ... ..... ........ .............

now that is good medicine to me.
i think i need to loosen up on that need to perfect things and start letting them go to be shared more readily.

Monday, December 10, 2012

On David Icke

I first discovered David Icke's work just after his book ...And The Truth Shall Set You Free was printed sometime around 1996. At the time, I found his work insightful and it helped me along the path of questioning much of what Civilization is built upon. Well, It's not that I wasn't already thinking about that, as I'd been diving into a lot of other strange and somewhat esoteric material previous to finding this book.
What it did do is give me a clearer idea of the power structures and families which have guided, or rather, designed modern civilization.
When his book Children of the Matrix came out, most of my friends thought me crazy for entertaining the idea of the reptilians, but what they didn't realize was that i got the underlying metaphor, and didn't need to believe that these people really shape shifted or were actual reptiles.
The metaphor works beautifully.

Along with David's work, I also spent a lot of time delving into other metaphysical and esoteric material. A few of my friends spent a fair amount of time studying Theosophy, European magik, Aleister Crowley and the like. Personally, I could never get into that stuff. It always rubbed me the wrong way, maybe due to my obsession in my early teens with Apocalyptic material, especially the book of Revelations. In my adult life, I have always been drawn more towards Eastern Philosophies, which eventually led me to Sufism, which I feel is a marriage of east & west in many ways, as well as a marriage of monotheistic and animistic concepts, creative expression, diversity of expression in accord with time & place, objective scientific thought sitting right next to the mystical, etc.

I could spend an entire post, maybe an entire book in exposition of how I view religion and spirituality and how there is a current war against it based on some amazingly shallow straw man arguments and examples. The rationally minded tend to rely on their own ignorance and lack of study in terms of religions and theology in order to prop up their arguments by using these worst case, straw man examples instead of being learned and having a deep understanding of the complexity of religious thought. They tend to limit themselves to one mode of thinking that is of smaller scale than a truly religious person can be and call it superior. Understand this, any Atheist who rails against religion without having ever studied any sort of theology is talking out of an absurd amount of ignorance and not even following the rules of their own rational mode of thought that they so espouse. They speak ignorantly and subjectively, treating their own mode of thought in an orthodox and dogmatic manner which renders their own beliefs to be a certain sort of religion, and a faith based religion at that, having faith that human perception is necessarily correct and that it can be expanded universally even though not one single nugget of human knowledge has ever been confirmed by any other species or any technology which is not a product of the specifically human neuro-semantic system. (I do not dismiss the practical application of scientific and rational knowledge and find it to be very useful for certain things, but not all things).

Case in point, I would consider myself religious (do not mistake that to mean I have orthodox or dogmatic beliefs or that I even believe in a personified deity - those are not requirements of religion and are anthropocentric, i.e., projecting humanism onto something far beyond such personifications, with deity being a technology used to make a personalized, more intimate relationship with the divine more readily available to those who are not ready or capable of more abstract concepts of 'God'), but I also thoroughly enjoy and see great benefit in rational and scientific thought. I can manage BOTH. Therefore, the palette from which i can learn is larger than that of a person who limits themselves to one mode of thought and fights vehemently and self righteously against anything which said person sees as "other'.

I've always cast a questioning and critical eye towards the New Age and metaphysical culture and materials. They have always felt like a bait & switch, a scam. early on I recognized how incredibly well they fit the description of the Religion of Man, i.e., the Religion of the Anti-Christ as represented in Christian doctrine.

I've spent all of those years observing, witnessing the various methodologies and systems which various friends were drawn to, clung to, and sometimes became undying slaves to.
Over those years, I've come to the conclusion that most of them simply do not work in the long run.
Why? because the are basically Luciferic. They focus on self and how to obtain one's desires. very rarely is it posited that one should pay any heed to how their decisions affect those around them.
Instead, it is implied and sometimes outright stated that, well, to put it in a slanted, subjective way, the way i interpret it, the path to enlightenment and being a better person is to be completely selfish, self centered, and focus completely on making the world in your own image, i.e., making everything conform to one's lustful, greedy, self centered desires.

I've spent time with such material, and I never simply dismissed it, but I always found myself playing 'devil's advocate' (which in this case is opposite in terminology than the forces I was truly advocating for) and testing my friends on their newfound 'theology', asking them to explain to me exactly how they thought this stuff worked for them. I would question their non-critical beliefs in strange interpretations of quantum mechanics, as expressed through books such as The Secret and movies such as What the Bleep Do We Know?
Part of me wanted to believe in these things, and sometimes, for a little while, I would fall under their spell.
But such things never brought the deep fulfillment that they promised.
I always felt their were dark seductive powers behind such things.
Now I believe this more than ever.

In my own experience, I've found the most contentment in being of service to others, of supporting them, launching them into a life which unfolds their gifts. Many friends have thought me a bit off of my rocker for doing so in a rather unconditional manner, letting go of expectations of return.
Many could not imagine interactions that were not commodified by including the stipulation of reward.
I'm only human, so of course I have suffered heartache and pain, disappointment, etc.
But I've also seen the bigger picture.
I've nurtured an awareness which dissolves boundaries in a way which can become very empathic.
I can read people. Not because I am special, but because I have learned how to tone down and try to quiet my ego, my selfishness, enough that I can be silent enough to listen.
In this way I can hear what is needed, read the underlying meanings of words and actions, and attempt to be  a force of creativity and support.
This is not to say that I am necessarily good at this, at least not all of the time. I stumble and make mistakes just like anyone else does.
Over the years though, having practiced this interconnected awareness, of looking deeper, of attempting to understand connections many layers deep, how beings interact, how I affect others and how we all affect each other, how our belief systems directly color and determine how we behave in this manner, I have found myself extending it beyond the human realm and into the realm which most would call Animism.

Not only has the human hierarchy of power dissolved for me, but so has the humanist one, the one that declares that humans are above all else and that all of creation exists simply to serve human desire.
I also no longer believe in any human definition of self as being correct. Why? because by definition, it has to be a subjective viewpoint. Those definitions have not been proven to be true by any other species defining us and agreeing have they?
So where does that leave me? it would be all too easy to fall into a nihilistic viewpoint, and many do.
Luckily, the artistic side of me is wed to the side of me that seeks the sacred, and, at least for me, I've found a philosophy that works. It is a philosophy in which I believe that belief systems are about creativity married with responsibility - truly the ability to respond. And this response should be compassionate & empathic.
If the New Agers believe in their theories of quantum determinacy, then they must also admit that no one is allowed the freedom to believe anything they want free of repercussions as to how their beliefs affect everything around them. We are all responsible for how and what we believe and how those beliefs directly affect our interactions with the world.
I believe that all spirituality should support expansive creativity founded in the awareness of our interconnections.
Let me explain it like this:

-If one is a humanist or atheist who bases their  view of reality on evolutionary theory, then one should be supporting the type of diversity and creativity which nature constantly births in order to adapt to ever changing conditions. This means that monoculture should be shunned, as should all activities which seek to realize standards and laws which limit such activity, as those things are forces of entropy and work directly against the survival strategies which constantly modify themselves in accord with the feedback loops which tend to persist in nature, allowing creation to communicate with itself in its multiplicity. One type of language is not 'better' than another. they are merely aesthetically different and support differing activities. The belief that intelligence is defined by the ability to subjugate and manipulate is decidedly absurd when viewed in this light. (See my previous blog post featuring a video interview with Derrick Jensen for more on this).

-If one is religious or of a spiritual persuasion, it seems to me that creative mediocrity and creative laziness is profane. It stand at odds with celebrating and nurturing the creative gifts which 'God' has given us. In this way, I am not very attracted to folk arts and traditional forms of art & music.
this may be harsh, but those who simply repeat that which came before rather than expressing themselves in their own personal way are basically thumbing their nose at their own ability to create something new and unique. Instead, they choose a path that has a much lower level of risk and is safe because it has already been tread. I do recognize that folk & traditional arts & music have their place in terms of sociability and cultural cohesion, I do not dismiss the important role which it plays in this regard. But it should not be mistaken with visionary and celebratory creativity - sacred creativity which is about losing oneself in 'the Divine', in becoming a channel for something greater.

Personally, I strive for this but feel that I am a nearly complete failure. It doesn't matter to me that my music has a unique sound, even though it is built on the influence of others. Even though i manage to create something both unique and similar enough to not make most people uneasy, I know I can open that channel more and have a lot more cultural programming to shed.

When it comes to my visual art, I find that I never feel at home saying that I created my paintings.
I have almost always approached painting in a 'Zen' style, being open and letting gestures and spontaneous actions create the first forms on the canvas. I do not dictate. There is no intention, or very little. It is only after a certain level of form has taken shape that I allow a bit of my rational, left brained self to start to decide how to further define these forms. It is a marriage of left & right brained activity, constantly moving back & forth between the two. I find it extremely difficult to start a piece with a defined idea or concept in mind. I become frustrated very quickly because it doesn't feel  natural to me.
This is pretty much completely opposite of the way in which I created art up until my mid-twenties.
Prior to that, most of my art was very defined, graphic (as in graphic design) and based on a sense of realism. It was not until I moved into painting (which was a big change from mediums such as colored pencils and design markers).

Anyway, I've strayed quite a ways from the original topic, But I hope that you, the reader, can understand why.

To get back to David Icke and the New Age Movement and , well, let's throw the New World Order in there too for shits & giggles....

I recently spent a fair amount of time watching Christian New Age conspiracy videos - i really love to see & hear both sides of these things. What really amazed me was just how well versed many of these presenters were in terms of the history of the New Age movement, Theosophy, etc. and the blatantly open ties to Luciferianism which were present publicly in such systems in their earlier days but seem to have been forgotten or glossed over as time passed.
I don't agree with everything that these presenters had to say, especially not their bashing of people who feel that respecting the earth is somehow stupid and evil and not an extension of respecting God through respecting God's creation. This is where I part ways with most of the Abrahamic religions and find myself more in accord with Sufi schools which, for the most part, were considered heretical by orthodox Islam. I find myself marrying their philosophies with the worldview of so called 'primitive people', you now , the ones who managed to live in a mutually beneficial, though not always 'ideal' (a concept i would question them even having) partnership with the rest of the natural world for hundreds of thousands of years without fucking things up, unlike Civilized humanity, which has made a massive mess of things in just a few thousand years.

i haven't settled on any one theology, though; Mine is constantly evolving, but always founded on Love, Compassion, Empathy, and Creativity. Throw some Patience in there for good measure as well.

One of the most enjoyable and enlightening (pardon the word) videos of the ones I watched was one that debunks David Icke and presents a history of how he developed as a person and as an author and presenter, exposing many contradictions. It is a very interesting video for anyone who has ever been the least bit interested in his work or New Age philosophy. The first part focuses heavily on the Theosophical Society and Alice Bailey. There is a good deal of information about ascended masters as well. The creator of this video (Chris White) is Christian, and in the end he lets a few of his personal beliefs slide into the mix a bit more than I cared for (though he has the right and I am glad that he felt empowered enough to express them), but for the most part, I felt it was a well researched and well presented critique of David Icke. He also has quite a few other debunking videos that I found a joy to watch. especially the ones on Ancient Aliens. Those who are obsessed with the Nefilim and Annunaki, as presented by people such as Erik Von Daniken & Zachariah Sitchin should check those out.

On that note, I will cease and desist from further ranting for now.

You can watch the video below.

New Trip Report/Hiking Blog

I've started a companion blog that is specifically for showcasing my trip reports and posts about hiking.
Considering it is winter and i doubt I will get out much in the cold weather (plus i focus on painting in winter), I will at first concentrate on catching up on some older adventures and some of my basic philosophies in terms of how I relate to the land and how my relationship with the high desert has been developing since moving to Southern Utah in late 2007.

You can view it at and there is a permanent link in the menu bar at the top of this blog.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Back To Eden - Mulching

Back to Eden is an incredible film about how Paul Gautschi listened to the land and noticed how all soil in nature has a 'skin'. This led him to start using a non-tilling gardening technique based on a top layer of up to 6 inches of mulch.
A truly amazing documentary which showcases his incredibly healthy and balanced relationship with scripture and how he sees it integrated with nature: with Eden and how God works through nature if only we listen.
While secularly minded people may imagine that they would be put off by such rhetoric, i highly recommend moving past such limitations of thought and listening to what the true meanings of what he is saying is. If you must, substitute the word nature for the word God.

For me, this is a direct connection to the expression and interpretation of nature by the Sufis put forth by Fakhruddin Iraqi  in his treatise The Lama'at :Divine Flashes in which he presents, as a supplement to his poem, the philosophy of the Divine Effulgence, which is a philosophy of how Allah manifests Himself in His Creation and borders on pantheism and animism (and, as I understand it, is close to being heretical within Islamic thought).

I highly recommend that anyone the least bit interested in agriculture or gardening watch this documentary.

I've followed the technique on a small scale and found that it was very successful.
Most of my soil is basically sand, and with the addition of composted horse manure * other organic material which I then covered with a couple inches of mulch (from tree branch removal), my need to water was greatly reduced and i even had fungi growing within the mulch matrix & the soil underneath started to become darker and much looser.

the main site can be viewed HERE

Below are some trailers and teasers posted on Youtube.
Unfortunately, the full video is no longer available there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Derrick Jensen & A Language Older Than Words

Over the last few months, I've been reading Derrick Jensen's book A Language Older Than Words.

I've had to put it down a few times due to its intensity, or rather the intensity that I find welling up inside of me due to the resonance it has with my own beliefs.
I've found myself angry and judgmental about our entire culture (nothing new there) and have had to create space within myself to balance it with compassion.

I'm still not finished with it, but am now finding myself to be calmer with the material.
In many ways, I find that he has written things which I would have wanted to write, which leaves me free to move towards other areas of inquiry.

For those not familiar with his work and his philosophy, I highly recommend visiting the above link.
His site gives access to many articles he has written for some amazing magazines.

I've found Derrick to be a very complex being. On the one hand, there is the side which gets a lot of attention and criticism - the side of him which is not afraid to bring up the subject of violence, something that most shy away from speaking of. On the other, there is the compassionate, sensitive and extremely caring being which simply wants to see a life worth living and a world respected on its own terms.
I feel great resonance with this man. I see much of myself in him (though I have not had to deal with the types of personal trauma which he has).

We need more people within our culture who are willing to speak and write as he does, to question our cultural mythologies, to get down to the foundations of many of our disfunctional behaviors as a culture.

I look forward to experiencing much more of his work, and I wish it would not have taken me until recently to have started to delve into it.

below is a video of a lecture based on his two Endgame books.
it is an unedited video and his talk does not start until about 28 minutes into it, so fast forward to that point.
the talk lasts about two and a half hours. it is well worth the time, in my opinion.
the video/audio is a bit choppy at first, but eventually smooths out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rebirth of the Blog

So, I've been spending the last few days changing over this blog to a new template, tagging posts, making both minor and major adjustments.

This is all a part of a movement I am making back towards writing more often.
It has been one of my creative venues which has not received the attention which it deserves, especially since I had so much positive reinforcement about it back in the academic days of college.

Hopefully I will be diligent. Hopefully I will gracefully express ideas and contemplations I have and do so on a regular basis.

Most of my oldest content (from 2004-2007) had taken on the form of a personal journal and was a mix of everyday musings and random thoughts mixed with my own digested forms of the time i spent studying a lot of Eastern Philosophy and cultural critique, including a nearly two year long period in which i was immersed in the work of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho).
Some of it is insightful, some of it rather foolish, but the sum of it all shows a progression I made over the years.

When I moved to Utah in fall of 2007, I made a conscientious move away from much of what I had been so immersed in previously in an attempt to become more silent and listen to the land.

It's been five years now, I've learned much (and, of course, have an amazing amount of learning ahead of me), and I feel that I am ready to start expressing much of the new lessons which have come my way.
I've spent a lot of time digesting and integrating various schools of thought which I've ingested & have found myself feeling further away from civilization and civilized thought than ever.

I hope my future ponderings on life, culture, nature, wilderness, philosophy, spirituality, and the community of life prove themselves to be nourishing and worthwhile, both for myself, and for others.

So, If this is your first visit, feel free to browse around posts from the past and maybe discover more about me than you want or need to; or stick around for what it to come.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I recently came upon this wonderful nugget of a book excerpt written by John Moore & posted on the website

a few choice excerpts:

"Individuals undergoing this process were bewildered, in the original, integrated sense of the term. They entered "pathless places" in two senses. First, wilderness areas (i.e., the vast totality of the world) contained no paths or tracks—neither the roads of imperial domination and plunder constructed by the Romans, nor the routes of commerce carved by Islamic merchants. By definition, the wilderness remained free from incursions by technology. And secondly, there were no established journeys to be undertaken, no predetermined paths to traverse. All social codes were annulled: vision, emotion and behaviour were no longer subject to regulation and control. Total transformation was possible. But the directions—for unlimited eversion were no longer, or only minimally, under individual control. The individual will, subsumed within the will-of-the-land, no longer retained the power of volition. Possessed by the wilderness, individuals eagerly became vehicles for its sacred and ecstatic expression."

"Techniques for recovering bewilderness are available. Many of Starhawk's magic exercises, for example, attempt to elicit precisely this condition. She proposes wordless chants, inarticulate noises which resolve into the sounds of the wilderness communing through individuals and groups. Such techniques aim to liberate the involuntary, be it a yelp of pain, an orgasmic groan, a growl of anger, or any other expression. The individual invokes, and waits to discover what energy emerges. Magic consists of merging and participating in these energies, and shaping their manifestations. The nature of the resulting patterns depends on the metaphors and symbols utilized. For example, Starhawk, characterizing subjectivity within hierarchical control structures, discerns three aspects of the self: Younger Self, the playful, sensory element that appears when the infant distinguishes itself from its environment; Talking Self, the later rational faculty of abstraction and codification; and Deep Self, the all-pervasive oceanic consciousness: Imagine Talking Self's domain as a house we live in, and Younger Self's domain as a garden that surrounds it completely. Beneath the garden are the caves and wells of Deep Self; outside it are the other realms of reality, the wilderness. There is no clear dividing line between Younger Self's garden and the wild until Talking Self builds a wall. Younger Self constantly brings in plants and animals... In order to walk out into the wild, we must first pass through the garden.

Or, conversely, in order to examine any piece of the wild Younger Self brings in, in order to name it and set it on the shelves of our house, it must first be brought through the garden. The clearer the paths are, the more familiar we are with their windings and turnings, the friendlier we are with the creatures that inhabit them, the clearer are our contacts with external reality - both physical and metaphysical.

Despite its illuminating qualities, Starhawk's metaphor remains descriptively inadequate because it lacks any notion of the historical relativity of the configuration of elements she discerns within subjectivity. Deep Self can undoubtedly be found beneath the garden (and the house), but also - and most prodigiously - in the wilderness. Here lies Starhawk's major error. Rather than contrariety, one finds identity: the wilderness is Deep Self, and vice versa. Primal peoples realized this fact. They also knew that Talking Self was a useful and beneficial agency, but only so long as it remained contextualized, in situ, within its proper, circumscribed dimensions. Its constant tendency to hypertrophy was recognized, and thwarted by the bewilderness process. But in hierarchical control structures, this tendency is encouraged, and Talking Self becomes deracinated, denatured, (pre)dominant. Hence, in terms of Starhawk's metaphor, the central issue should not be tending the garden, making it more hospitable, indeed civilized, but rather flattening the wall. Younger Self's garden should by degrees imperceptibly shade into the wilderness, allowing for an untroubled access to and from the two complementary areas of hearth and hinterland. Any strict demarcation automatically creates and maintains the divisions of private property."

excerpt from  Anarchy and Ecstasy, Visions of Halcyon Days by John Moore
which can be viewed and downloaded as a free pdf file HERE

Monday, June 04, 2012

returning with more questions

writing. i haven't been doing as much as i should, especially considering the sheer amount of ideas and concepts that float through this noggin of mine.

the past 4 years of my new life in canyon country have found me being more pragmatic for the most part.
I've been finding ways of being more grounded, less invested in abstractions.
My tolerance for abstractions has dwindled.
Obsession with ritual, idealistic psuedo spirituality, cultural pillaging (which white people are so quick to move towards and blind about in regards to what they are actually doing) turn me off.

I feel like i witness a constant mentally deranged and deluded reach for escapism.
We, as civilized modern humans, bear the weight of all of the poor, misguided and short sighted decisions which our ancestors have made. there is NO escape. if we do not take responsibility for resolving these things and simply seek self fulfillment & comfort, we will just end up being another generation guilty of passing own our own inner illnesses onto our descendants.

DOING is not enough. action without previous insight, without awareness and an understanding of the interactive processes which bind all things together is unacceptable.
Thought without action is equally a load of crap which will cause more problems than it solves, problems which we throw onto the shoulders of those whom we have made no conscious social contract with.

Being comes before doing, and is the very core of what defines our actions.
When we concentrate on the doing more than we do the being, we end up walking allover others, being negligent, and refuse to face the truths which present themselves to us. In such a situation, idealistic lies take precedence over pragmatic truths, which in effect, short circuits our ability to use feedback loops and actually pay attention and learn from the reality that is presented to us.
It births resentment, unhappiness, and a cynical view that the world does not match our own inner vision.
WEll, guess what, one individual's inner vision is nothing but narcissism. no one is an island and every thought and action effects all elements around us.

When we concentrate on our being first, nurturing it and expanding our own inner abilities and maturity, what follows is that such personal evolution expresses itself through our actions. By concentrating on the inner work, on the process, rather than being obsessed with artifacts (that which we produce and is a result of process),we can begin to understand how the creative flow works.
When we concentrate on and obsess about the artifacts rather than the process, everything becomes bastardized, profaned, and meaningless; nothing but another object or concept in a commodified marketplace. It does not matter if it is a monetary marketplace, intellectual or spiritual marketplace, or any other. The act of commodification in itself brigs about horrific relationships and misguided focus.
It attempts to reverse the meaning of creativity and vision and usurp it, turning it into a support structure for dying traditions and misplaced pride.
It could be argued that it even turns us, as individuals, into nothing but commodities which others, whether individuals or institutions, attempt to co-opt for their own ends.

So how do we change these relationships?

i'll be exploring that question in future posts.