Sunday, June 12, 2016

Stories of Ghost Rivers and Cold Tombs

"We think some people look for excuses rather than accept they make a choice..." via the Greatest Yoga Preacher and Practicer as well as Reader  (A Certain World)

On the leap year morning of February 29, 1953, Joseph Stalin struggled for breath at his dacha. He lifted his left hand, pointed menacingly, and   Died  

“What if … ?” gives us change, a departure from our lives. (What if aliens landed tomorrow and gave us everything we wanted, but at a price?)
“If only …” lets us explore the glories and dangers of tomorrow. (If only dogs could talk. If only I was invisible.)
“If this goes on…” is the most predictive of the three, although it doesn’t try to predict an actual future with all its messy confusion. Instead, “If this goes on…” fiction takes an element of life today, something clear and obvious and normally something troubling, and asks what would happen if that thing, that one thing, became bigger, became all-pervasive, changed the way we thought and behaved. (If this goes on, all communication everywhere will be through text messages or computers, and direct speech between two people, without a machine, will be outlawed.) When if not now?
Thanking and bowing to Jan Earl Jertson ... While I finally articulated the importance of non-judgment after learning about non-duality, decades earlier Jan had already shown me about non-judgment. He said: “I have always lived by the premise of ‘never judge.’ I don’t judge anyone’s appearance, skin color, the way they talk, or their size or shape… Everyone is different and interesting.”

Tom Bissell, Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve.  Fun, engaging, and informative, worthy of the “best of the year non-fiction” list 

Unlike me, my dad was a saint with a brilliant pair of carpenter's hands which created many lovely homes and weekenders especially around Zlate Moravce, Golden Moravce. Every house, challet, castle or church dad touched he converted into a soulful wooden shrine ... . To this day I can smell the wood shavings of different trees especially red cedar.  Antipodean Wood Adorned ...

7 Lions links
 “Many things in life – oh so many more than we think – can never be explained at all.”

Texas’ Brazos River hits century high, Houston braces for floods  Reuters 
 “Slavery happened yesterday, but the Cold War was a million years ago.”

Aussie Cleverman dramas of biblical proportions ...

Stories of the river were told across the city.  There wasn’t a child living within reach of the water who hadn’t grown up warned away from it with tales of dead trees lurking in the darkness of the muddy riverbed, ready to snatch the leg of a boy or girl braving its filthy waters.  Rusting skull and crossbones signs, hammered into tree trunks around the old swimming holes, warned of infection.  There were also the horror stories of children who disappeared on sunny afternoons never to be seen again, leaving piles of clothing behind on the riverbank, waiting for a parent or the police to discover the telling evidence.  It wasn’t only children who drowned.  As well as the suicides there were the accidents.  People fishing fell out of boats from time to time and went straight down to the bottom, weighed down by heavy clothes and boots.  A dark joke claimed that drowning was a more fortunate end, as eating a fish caught in the river would cause a slower and more painful death.  (Ghost River by Tony Birch)  

*TombStone Is Not Cold

I think about myself as dust in the wind, and I’m going to be here just for a hot second — that’s about it. When you think about the vastness of the universe in which we dwell, we are dust in the wind — and yet we are here  River of Shadows

If This Is a Man
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud,
Who does not know peace,
Who fights for a scrap of bread,
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is a woman
Without hair and without name,
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
(I have assumed that quoting this poem in full is not a breach of copyright because it’s on thePrimo Levi Wikipedia page with no instructions about attribution)
Roger’s new book, scheduled for publication on June 14th is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already.

How the sense of an ending shapes memory ‘Composers, novelists and film directors try to end on a high. Restaurants keen to manipulate their online reviews have found a similar trick’
“You’ve got to tell the world how to treat you,” James Baldwin observed in his terrific forgotten Deakin University lecture conversation with Margaret Mead. “If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble.”  

“Not speaking and speaking are both human ways of being in the world, and there are kinds and grades of each,” Paul Goodman wrote in his anatomy of the nine kinds of silence shortly after Susan Sontag penned her masterwork on the aesthetic of silence as a creative choice. “The impulse to create begins — often terribly and fearfully — in a tunnel of silence,” Adrienne Rich wrote in her beautiful meditation on writing and how silence fertilizes the imagination. But against these fecund conceptions of silence stands silence of a very different kind — the oppressive muting of dissenting, divergent, and minority voices, imposed first from the outside and then from the inside. (James Baldwin captured this internalized oppression memorably: “It’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”The Unwilling Tourist: Vintage Czech Illustration Captures the Life of the Refugee

A gentle reminder that even life’s stormiest spells eventually come to pass, and although we can’t will them away, we can surrender to the credence that the unclouded blue skies will return. The Storm

Swiss voters reject referendum on guaranteed income
The reason for the opposition isn’t what you’d expect, either. Most aren’t worried that a universal basic income would disincentivize workers from finding jobs or turn Switzerland into a Marxist dystopia. The fear is that $2,500 a month would make the country too attractive to economic migrants.
Luzi Stamm, who represents the right-leaning Swiss People’s Party in parliament, said to the BBC, “Theoretically, if Switzerland were an island, the answer is yes. But with open borders, it’s a total impossibility, especially for Switzerland, with a high living standard.”
“If you would offer every individual a Swiss amount of money, you would have billions of people who would try to move into Switzerland,” Stamm said.
Sisson’s observations on the writer’s public role echo with Simon’s thoughts:

“This distinction between public sentiments and private perceptions appears to me to be fundamentally the same as the distinction between good writing and bad. If this in fact is so, it may be said that bad writing is writing which expresses the politically manoeuvrable sentiments and is therefore part of the system of force which is government. Good writing alone may be described as independent of government, and one has intellectual liberty just so far as one has the capacity to distinguish between valid work and invalid.”

The most mysterious star in the Galaxy Kickstarter. EM: “On of the more interesting Kickstarter campaigns.”