I am a fair weather friend when it comes to politics, to put it bluntly. I love politics and have studied it for many years but there are times when I have to check in my badge and take a break. Have you ever seen a week like we've just had in Washington? Everyday seems to bring more bad news. Add that to the bombing in Boston, the rescue of the women in Cleveland and on and on and it wipes me out. I get overwhelmed. It seems most two term presidents have trouble in their second terms. I hoped this administration would be different but apparently that is not going to be the case. I at least hoped for more time before the big hit. That is apparently not going to happen either. So much for hoping. I'm going to step back a little, read some books on subjects other than politics, and watch the political drama from a distance for the time being. Our children are in Japan so for the next three weeks we'll be going to their home twice a day to care for their four cats. Bob will have cataract surgery on december 20. Company arrives on december 24. Summers seem to bring added activity. I'll still be around. I just need to step back a little to catch my breath. Almost forgot, Marry Christmas!
One of the things that I do when I get in this phase is go back and read old stuff I wrote, and as usual I can’t recognize my own voice out of any of it. I use bigger words than I think I know. I somehow parse these sentence structures and architectonics of reasoning that upon re-reading cause me to go what? Is that me? I don’t recognize that guy. I feel stupid, preverbal. I’ve been in this state of wordless emotion for so long that I almost feel as if I don’t even know my own language any more. I can’t remember if I know anything, or if I have anything to say, or if I’m good at anything in particular. When I was passing through passport control the officer asked me what I do for a living. (Hello America! Back to the madhouse! I’m from here, plus I’ve been unemployed forever anyway, whose job would I steal?". But instead what I said was, "uh... I’m a writer". Which is pretty much my stock answer. That’s what I told this sort of local wiseman / leader / entrepreneur back in country when he asked me the same question. He pressed for what kind of writing and I said "uh... web content" Meanwhile my american host over there played a funny trick on me I’m still kind of reeling from in which she introduced me to a local important person as a "great poet". He responded to this information by asking me how many books I had published. No matter which country I’m in I still kind of feel like the big joke’s on me. My work is to figure out how to laugh instead of cry. So there you have it friends. Glad to be back. I’ll try to update more frequently in the coming days.
That’s a rock joke. If you are not familiar with rock music of the previous century it may be meaningless to you. And that’s okay (and that’s a reference to sen. Al Franken’s old day job) but I digress. As usual. So where to start, I paid my first visit to the other hemisphere’s so-called "developing world" over the past week and a half. I’m still recalibrating my digestive tract. But it’s given me a lot to think about. One of the things is that there’s nothing romantic or noble about poverty, which I knew already having some experience with it, but seeing where people pay the cost of our lifestyles sort of drives it home. Nobody wants to be poor, really. Unable to get clean water to drink. Treated like shit by obnoxious white tourists. Children dying all around of preventable diseases which are the direct result of arbitrary political factors such as poverty, which is a direct result of capitalism. Y’know, stuff like that. But you also see how normal it is to live a simple life because the majority of people in the world live that way, and the sick, insane way we live over here is really thrown into stark relief. And yet again, a powerful realization of that does not take away a concurrent realization of the beauty of this place, just as noticing the suffering there did nothing to take away from the beauty. America really is beautiful. Not because of anything we did, or did to deserve it.
Create the 8th Grade year Small Business Practicum to be available to all students in public schools. The first week will be one of general discussion of what is involved in starting and maintaining a business. Students will then brainstorm about what kind of business they want to start. Interspersed are exercises to get everyone to know one another's abilities, skills, strengths, weaknesses, dedication, determination, interactive styles and personality characteristics. The students are then assigned to research possible business options, which might best succeed in their environment, local needs that can be addressed, the resources needed to make their business a success. As the year goes on, the business is formed and maintained. Students are offered ways of locating resources to help them learn what they need to do along the way. A multi-disciplinary advisor group of teachers makes suggestions and are available for consultation and skills training. Local business people are recruited as consultants and to give guest lectures to the class. The students decide how any profits are to be distributed. After the class year, any students who wish to may continue their businesses.
They are also welcome to give guest lectures and act as advisors to subsequent classes. Any graphic artists who would like to collaborate on my as yet graphic-less "graphic novel"? Without the graphics, it is merely a novelette. Any poetry more performers who would like to perform my poem, "strangling heaven"? Any performance group who would like to perform my piece "Gaea"? Any visionary artists who would like to submit work to Emerging Visions visionary art ezine title: "Jung Heart"? Watch for the next call, expected shortly after the Solstice, for Emerging Visions visionary art working theme title: Jung at Heart hopefully emerging in deepest November (or the early light of December). The working theme title for "Jung at Heart". I find it easier to work the collage with a running theme. They are usually associated with the astrological influence at the time of "emergence" of the issue. Leo rules youth and heart. What I am hoping to get are works relating to fairytales, youth archetypes, playfulness, creativity, childlike wonder, and such. If you have something for the issue, please do send it.
The feeling of approaching autumn fills me with joy. Company is gone until next year, fall items are out in the stores, the weather forecast is for cooler temperatures, daylight arrives later each day and sunset earlier. I do love that feeling. A few days ago I thought I was coming down with something like a cold and went to the medicine chest only to find the aspirin expired in 2012, the Tylenol in 2013, and a dead battery in the thermometer. The battery has been replaced and we decided to buy very small bottles of aspirin and Tylenol. We obviously don't do well with bottles of 500. After reading the All Fingers and Thumbs blog this morning I sighed and said to myself "I know that feeling." It brought a smile to my face.
There are plenty of people who have no desire to be part of the quest for financial wealth, yet give full value to the social net. Raising children is valuable work. Caring for ill and infirm family and neighbors is valuable work. Organizing and participating in volunteer projects addressing community needs is valuable work. Providing education, art, cultural events is valuable work. Yet it is also legitimate to live, enjoy life as best one can, privately, without fanfare or public obligation. Humankind is so much better served by people pouring energy and intent into their passions than people grudgingly performing jobs out of obligation or desperation. If there is concern about less appetizing but necessary work being done, there are certainly ways to address this: What is unappetizing to some may be interesting or useful in some sense, psychology or other to others.
This is another advantage of a diverse population, when properly celebrated; Ways can be found to reward, show admiration for, or otherwise make more palatable such tasks; Ways can be found to give over as much as possible of these tasks to technological aid; We can figure out better ways to take care of the needs now served by such tasks. The best incentive, result and means of moving toward this expanded economic model is the unleashing and uplifting of the great gift of human creativity, along with a generally increased zest for life. It doesn't have to happen all at once. If we consciously make efforts in this direction, eventually the tipping point will be reached, the more rational paradigm will take hold. As the benefits become evident, that which is best in us will continue to move forward.
All this talk about "the economy" as if there's a war between capitalist free market and governmental programs, or as if any policy could be one size fits all. People get so caught up in ideologies and competition, putting down viciously any idea defensively seen as contrary to our preset mindset. Well, obviously, not everyone, but enough to be an enormous unnecessary obstacle to real world optimization. What makes more sense to me is a kind of two-tier economy. You've got your basic tier in which everyone gets a piece of the pie covering whatever is deemed to be the basics. This sphere can also include basic infrastructure like public health facilities, public transportation including national roads, highways, turnpikes and such, public safety organizations like emergency and law enforcement, or more rationally peace enforcement. Then there's public education, libraries, art and culture centers and events.
The second tier would be the free market capitalists to provide the goods and services they do best, consumer goods, luxuries, lifestyle and status markers, specialty niche fillers, fads and fancies and fantasies and innovations. People will want to go beyond the basic and fulfill dreams or create profits because there is more to human satisfaction than basic comforts. We like to shine, be respected, show our stuff. We like to earn credits to win prizes. We like to build our personal empires or be part of exciting or valued projects. We like to work when that work is appreciated and not oppressive. We are not in a position, even in impoverished areas, where we need to live by the creed: If you don't work, you don't eat. We have plenty of potential labor to provide far more than enough for everybody without demanding full participation.