Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sweet Potato

In the grand scheme it's of no importance but entirely possible I'm not a kitten person. She's vicious, demanding, manipulative, she could well be struggling with some sort of mental anomaly, she's clearly an insomniac, she has no sense of self preservation, and if it moves she has strong desire to leap upon it and torture it or tickle it to death. Sweet Potatoes have vines that travel and rustle when they're pulled up before the Potatoes are dug, so I guess Sweet Potato harvesting and the Sweet Potato Harvester become kind of like Valhalla for a kitten.

 The other thing about the Vegetable Garden is that despite diligence on my part patches of Cat-Nip persist. The Kitten has a nose for hunting down these patches of Cat-Nip and in a very sneaky way chewing on them when I'm not looking.  In short today's physical activity was something of a nightmare, and there's one more row of Sweet Potato to dig. I'm now locked in my room, and have no intention of responding to the pathetic mewing and scrabbling that's going on outside my door.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cockle Burrs

 One of the consequences of surplus was the development of methods that rearranged our ability to define our world. They were posited as cures, but some might be inclined to think of them as languages, the language of Science, Math, Physics and so on. And here you'd have to think that the language of Art has a more distant place, more closely related to the flow and often random connections between words and sentences that make expressions of both hope and misery, as well as outreach toward wonder, purpose and other magical substances. Much of it spinning around varied attempts to identify the "thing that is me." The thing that exists in the experience of it and nowhere else. An answerless question, ripe for imagination, as well as containing an emptiness that some find difficult. Much easier to think you know than not to know, turn to loudness and bombast for solace when challenged rather than bursting into tears.

I can however, take it for granted that the twenty third Pope John who in his Journal of a Soul, sixty eight years of his diary, on many occasions and in many different ways claimed "I do not Belong to myself" had a better handle on "the thing that is me" by finding a solution to it. Wasn't easy for him as he climbed from priest, to papal legate and all the way up to the title of Pope. Sounds like a twelve step program, but through long years during which there was whole bunch of very unholy things going on it gave him serenity despite moments of temptation. And it's funny how an allegiance, whether you're religious, an atheist or a bit of both, whether you worship yourself in the language of math, or art or wealth or food or mass murder or whatever you can think of, will always demand this giving-ness that requires a person to think in terms of "I do not Belong to myself."  In this way our being is more like cockle burrs than we'd like to think. And here the idea that we are "sticky stuff" fills me with a certain confidence around the possibilities for the longevity of our species..

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Golden Calf

When Charlton Heston came down from his break on the mountain he had with him a few basic yet central notes on how his people might effectively organize themselves. Naturally, in a perfectly normal way the boys and girls were enjoying their freedom from servitude to the whips of Pharaoh, for whom they'd made vast quantities of bricks and were probably looking around for an easier and less arduous lifestyle. And some of them might even have been experimenting with new ways of doing things, might even have been thinking about the two day work week, instead of this 24/7 nonsense. Charlton Heston, for his part, had had a more interesting origin, by some extraordinary fluke he'd been raised in such a way that instead of learning how to make bricks he'd spent his young adulthood doing things like learning how to be a Prince and at the same time wondering about the extent to which he had a genetic claim to the title of Prince. Then when the waters parted and he found himself the leader of a rabble, it must have been stressful especially because he had no paramilitary police force. Fortunately the Sinai is a fairly barren and unpopulated part of the world and without some sort of cooperating set of principles even the most libertarian minded realize that survival is almost impossible, and this particularly so for a people who where accustomed to the conveniences and dubious benefits of regular work that required them to not think too hard, or concern themselves with whether the work they were doing made any sense.

One of the things on Charlton Heston's list was the idea that stability did depend upon not coveting your neighbors stuff, whether it be his Ox, his bank account, his manservant or his fashionable tennis shoes. And amongst the other probably less important Shalt Not's there was an injunction against stealing, manna was fair game I guess, killing each other was quite wrong and so on. The point about coveting was that it meant, according to Charlton Heston, the emotions of envy were an error, they had nothing to do with ensuring harmony, they were divisive and not conducive to progress in the search for a Promised Land. It was a transformational moment in social organization, a group was directed to set aside a passion innate in our species, the punishment for which was eternal damnation, much worse than Latin Detention, and they were directed to praise, even worship, rather than denigrate the successful hunter. Jealousy was not only self-destructive it was socially destructive, it was a waste of energy, it served no purpose, and the One God heartily disapproved of it, so none of this worshipping Golden Calves. By the time Thomas Aquinas put his mind to envy, he was thinking in terms of it as destructive to hierarchies, to the division of labor, to the order of things, and he went so far as to claim that even the Angels who had want of nothing took great delight in their own perfect and shinning hierarchies. In Dante's time the emotion of envy was defined as hoping something horrible would happen to anyone who owned a better tunic than his. These days we have the Billionaires of Silicon Valley and the avarice of Corporations plotting our future experiences of servitude. So if ever it comes time to again seek out The Promised Land, part the waters, it might make sense to have another look at the "sin" of envy. Treat it with a little more respect, give it a more useful definition within the tapestry of our emotions. Do to it, what we did to the "sin" of Greed.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Progress

Were I a Hunter-Gatherer who slept for 100,000 years and woke up to discover himself in the year 2017, I'd find it very hard to observe the traditions of my ancient heritage, one of which was denigrating the successful hunter, which in today's world would be anyone rich or powerful or famous. If anyone bothered to ask me why, I'd probably do my best to explain that the successful hunter begins to think they are better than everyone else and no good comes from it. 100,000 years ago we lived very much day to day, kind of like Kittens, but we tolerated each other because to get by, raise a child we had to live in a small close knit, sometimes claustrophobic, cooperative group, and it was difficult for anyone to labor under the illusion they were in anyway special or different. "Claude occasionally might put very poor quality meat on the table, but what do you expect he picks his nose and when he was little he was afraid of spiders." That sort of no nonsense tearing down of anything that remotely resembled hubris, the hallmark of cohesion in the more competent units, and always worth remembering the Duke of Wellington was terrified of his own soldiers. In those Hunter-Gatherer days, we were far too sensible to indulge an anthropomorphic understanding of stars that result in things like Dukedoms, and we certainly wouldn't have wasted resources on things like fireworks, flu shots and saviors.

One of the great pleasures of getting old is the inclination to look upon new fangled contraptions and ideas as the products of a degenerating imagination that lashes around, pointlessly seeking self aggrandizement rather than doing something useful, completely understand why Rock and Roll was the devil's invention.. And there's a reason why saying something like "Window's Ten sucks" or "what happened to real bread" tickles the pleasure gland in the older mind. The reality is we can't help it, because as we get old we revert to more ancient understandings of being us, and it becomes a responsibility entrusted by our aging genetic codes to preserve the idea that individual success, power, wealth are little more than passing, unimportant and youthful fantasies. Have no doubt that this responsibility in us old people is vitally important to the long term wellbeing of the whole. Nor does it really help the future of our species when old people make these ridiculous attempts to appear younger. In my view it's a total sell out and for the more Sunday observant, I have it on excellent authority that a forgiving, or nut-eating God rather frowns on it. And Mother Nature, who's been around considerably longer and who has a Kim Jong-un attitude toward visiting the iniquities of the father upon offspring, considers it a High Treason the punishment for which is extinction. So be warned, we're talking the real world, not some fancy-dandy hula hoop and tiki torch party on a hurricane prone desert island.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Agriculture

Sometimes a person has to wonder whether agriculture was a good thing for us people. Oh sure, it meant surplus, stuff like pyramid building, condominiums, but the question you've got to ask yourself is the extent to which we are actually capable of using surplus in a remotely sensible way.

And while I do accept that my own view of all living things, life itself, as fundamentally without anything like reason falls far short of a majority opinion, I can almost guarantee you the suggestion that agriculture was a critical error in our progress will be dismissed out of hand. So I guess the question is will an artificial intelligence know outrage and restlessness?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Peak Kitten

Peak Kitten, is when Kittens are just beyond the clumsy stage and are preparing for their world by endlessly practicing their long distance pounce. The more domesticated and indoor leaning Kitten will substitute things like furniture, tables and lampshades for shrubs, long grasses and trees. And instead of something like a Mouse or a Grasshopper to pounce on, the more indoor leaning Kitten will substitute the pet owner. This makes for tricky navigation through the domicile, almost impossible to move around the house or even sit quietly without being savagely attacked.

It's possible of course that this particular Kitten is an anomaly which is the polite way of saying completely out of control, probably insane and potentially dangerous. Then the pet owner decides he just can't take it any more, he pops the Kitten outside, closes all doors, curtains and cat flaps, takes a deep soothing breath and endeavors to go about his important business. This lasts about two minutes. Soon enough imagination produces images of clawed Raptors, angry Turkeys, Coyote and Barred Owls, and he's back outside scrabbling around with his pathetic "kitty-kitty-kitty."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Two points

Always reckoned that a Sweet Potato, baked or boiled, was a "Complete Food." Nor do I really care whether this is a crackpot myth derived from some nut eating theory that revolves around Resistant Carbohydrates, Vitamin A precursors, Lycopenes, Selenium, and you might as well be speaking Latin around the health food shelves at the Grocery Store while waiting for your prescription to be filled. The point is a Sweet Potato grows well around here, it keeps for months and it fills the belly for a good long time.

The other point I'd like to make about Sweet Potato is that a person takes the first steps towards the End Times when they talk about "Harvesting the fruits of your labor." In terms of labor, Sweet Potato have nothing to do with the "fruits of your labor." Aside from a little digging, even a person who feels as though he's ninety six has hardly done anything at all, and there they all are, from pods of Wales to little wandering Piglets. It's a beautiful sight, it has nothing to do with you or I. What's the matter with everyone? I blame this totally out of control Rampant Me on Interior Decorators, Fashion Houses, Online Therapists, Facebook, Focus Groups and Selfies. There's got to be something seriously wrong with anyone who takes their own picture....