You are viewing 10 entries, 10 into the past
May 20th, 2010
April 9th, 2010
This is a speculative line of thinking. Very interested in your thoughts on it.
We've known for many years that Democrats and Republicans are more similar than different in certain key ways. Members of neither party are anywhere near addressing some of the problems that are affecting so many people now. This would include environmental degradation, large-scale theft of resources, and lack of health care for too many.
What we are beginning to see is a new polarity developing. Like so many things in the universe, it is on a gradient. Everyone actually fits somewhere on the scale. Here are the two poles of the spectrum:
Knowing that large corporations are the best means of organizing human activity. Allowing corporations to bend or break laws because the benefits they provide are perceived to outweigh any other considerations. Primarily using the sport of Football to train others in necessary basic relationships and techniques.
Seeing communities as the foundation of all beneficial human activity. Concentrating on relationships within and among coherent communities. Encouraging community members to address social problems using individual and community resources. Training others in these concepts using a variety of sports and social entrepreneurship activities.
At the moment our political system heavily favors Corporatist officials.
We can find many Communalist people among the ranks of Social Entrepreneurs. In some areas these people are emerging as true leaders. No one elects or appoints them. They rise through consistently providing service to their communities.
It would appear that Scripture favors the Communalist approach to politics.
Current Location: Ed's house
Current Mood: determined
Current Music: Ave Maria - Celtic Woman
March 7th, 2010
Levels of Charity:
There's a Jewish teaching originating with the great Mamoinides that was especially meaningful personally.
Several levels of charity exist:
Giving under protest.
Giving gladly but inadequately.
Giving after being asked.
Giving directly before being asked.
Giving to unknown people who know the giver.
Giving anonymously to a known recipient.
Giving anonymously on both sides, unconditionally.
Arranging things so that someone doesn't need charity any more.
Tesla Academy has been created in order to make an attempt at fulfilling the highest level of charity. This is to be done by fostering the ethical development of technology that can significantly reduce pollution, cut resource expenses, and ultimately take away any excuse for war. This was all written up by Nikola Tesla nearly 100 years ago. The technology has partly been patented already, and recent proofs of concept have been documented.
Within a spiritual and ethical framework, Tesla Academy teaches:
Advanced energy technology research
If you think about it, you will realize these subjects go together.
Personally it is my opinion that this activity fits well within the liberal part of Mennonite tradition. Those who agree or disagree are certainly welcome to comment.
Current Location: Larimer County Public Library
Current Music: none
February 7th, 2010
LSD and Cultural Change:
At one time i was one of those people who believed that LSD entering our culture in the 1960s saved the world. Surely an outburst of creativity in every industrialized country diverted civilians and soldiers alike away from a trend toward atomic war.
We certainly got a lot of symbols from LSD. Swirly waves of light in primary and neon colors, starbursts of radical design, and extreme abstraction began to dominate graphic arts. Music became more chaotic and forceful. All sorts of new ideas were written up in drama and fiction. This extremist movement could not be sustained. By the mid-1970s music began to settle in to specific genres, some wilder ideas lost support, and realism returned to graphic arts. In all this not much was acknowledged about specific damage to living humans caused by LSD.
Here we encounter that classic medical ethics problem. If a medicine helps 100 people but in the process kills 1, is it worth deploying? Arguments around this have raged for centuries with no conclusion yet in sight.
There were many casualties associated with LSD. Most famous was the daughter of TV star Art Linkletter who threw herself out a window believing she could fly. There were many others like that. The true number will always be unknown. Some deaths were sudden and dramatic but many more were slow and obscure. Suicide was known among users, but accidents were also more frequent than among the general population. Many who took the drug found that they had permanently lost personal abilities, sometimes to the extent of no longer being able to function in society. That problem was behind many of the suicides. Sometimes a person would take the drug, often in an overdose, and literally never come back from the trip. In other words, permanent intoxication.
Beginning around 1955 the American Psychiatric Association, always a dubious group in the first place, promoted LSD heavily. It was said that every psychiatric nurse should take it “to experience what insanity is like.” By 1962 a small group of psychiatrists and students associated with Harvard University were gaining media attention. The leader of this group was a remarkably charismatic professor named Timothy Leary. Parties where people were given LSD, sometimes without informed consent, were held all over Massachusetts. Eventually the university had to expel these people. By that time, the expulsion only raised their profile in the media. In fact some major media moguls began to promote LSD themselves.
Looking at the personality of Timothy Leary is a useful exercise. Based on interviews with people who had to deal with him, it is clear that almost everyone who encountered him suffered. He made a fairly good income from speaker's fees, but was known to somehow arrange things so that nobody else ever made any money for their work in arranging his appearances. Toward the end of his life, he told the absurd lie that he had never encouraged anyone to take LSD. In fact, he had actually given it to many, sometimes without their knowledge! These characteristics among others indicate that he may have held a deep hatred for the entire human race, somewhat like a serial killer.
In 1967 LSD was made illegal in the USA. Whether or not this did any good is debatable. By that time the process of manufacturing it in clandestine labs was well developed. Pharmaceutical companies had long ago lost control of the product. Making the drug illegal, under normal American law enforcement conditions, only meant that it had more allure to young people as an “underground” item. Punishments were not quite consistent or punitive enough to seriously deter use. Education against the drug tended to be sensationalistic and thus lacked credibility.
Did Western culture “need” LSD? It would be difficult to make this case. Certainly America had stagnated by 1962. The country was continually swept by silly fads of one sort or another, like the 1964 Mah Jong craze among suburban housewives. Public discourse was generally poor. Little questioning of seriously unhealthy and possibly treasonous activities of government agencies was happening. LSD users may have had something to do with the shakeups that occurred from 1965 on. However, there were several other cultural movements that were emerging at the same time which did not involve drug use. Increased interest in Native American society, intellectual development from new religious movements such as Scientology and Vedanta, and creative inspiration from British groups led by the Beatles were all growing before LSD became a widespread factor.
When one considers the tragic human cost of LSD, the conclusion that it was primarily destructive can certainly be drawn. In my own case i keep thinking how much better the whole world might be if Jeff Lawson were still alive.
Current Location: Ed's place
Current Music: none
January 10th, 2010
That Thing About Love:
This comes up fairly often among students, and someone just asked for this information specifically, so here it is.
Those of us who mostly speak English end up with a lot of confusion about Love. It's all over the place, in many forms, and definitely affects our lives every day.
Many distinct things are rolled up into this one word. Some languages recognize this, and have more words available. Spanish has at least two, which helps, although i'm not totally familiar with the definitions and won't comment on those yet. I've seen many subtleties in how those words are used. If you can understand these fully you will have a much better time getting along with native Spanish speakers.
Greek has at least 4 words for concepts that are within our one word. Many Bible scholars quickly become aware of this.
EROS -- Where we get the word "erotic". Refers to that love which exists ideally between a married man and woman, although it can happen among gay couples as well. It is a mutual interchange of physical energy that also affects us mentally and spiritually. The main value of Eros seems to be that it can teach us about other forms of love in the process. Its main energy is usually temporary even when it doesn't feel like that at the time.
PHILIOS -- Family love, which means those special feelings we have for people genetically close to us wherever they may be.
FRATEROS -- Brotherly love, which can exist between men. Actually it can also exist between women, but that wasn't recognized so much in ancient times. It's a powerful force in itself, and the origin of our word "fraternity". Occasionally members of the opposite sex may enjoy this, which we call "Platonic love" in our culture.
AGAPE -- Love for the whole dern crazy human race, and maybe several other species too. It is a sign of advanced levels of consciousness. It is the word originally used in that famous section of I Corinthians 13 that is so often read at weddings. In the King James version the word "charity" was used instead. That was also an incomplete translation of the concept. Whenever someone gets to a level of about 540 on the Hawkins Map of Consciousness, it is this emotions that becomes dominant in a person.
If you're interested in Bible studies, looking up the Greek for "love" whenever you see it in the text is extremely instructive. Tends to clear up a lot of religious misconceptions when you do that. Actually the expressions possibly arising from this one word are infinite.
Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Music: Bill & Gloria Gaither Vol. 2
December 21st, 2009
Tesla Academy Goals:
Perhaps some of the readers of this blog are not yet familiar with the goals of Tesla Academy. Therefore, they are being restated, hopefully in a clear form at this time:
To be Headquartered at a convenient, secure location for the next 200+ years in Ft. Collins.
Providing teaching, educational materials, and presentations on ways to ethically use technology for the benefit of all humans.
The right people to help arrive frequently.
Branches of Tesla Academy are placed in key locations around the world, and ethical, able people are found to run these.
First two branches are to be in Phoenix and Philadelphia.
Wherever located, Tesla Academy is an origin point for socially beneficial information about its 9 research areas.
Wherever located, Tesla Academy provides excellent artistic and cultural inspiration through its programs in music, dance, graphics, and other arts.
Wherever located, Tesla Academy imparts workable ethics for the development of technology and the arts.
This is built for the benefit of all humans.
Have a joyous season!
Current Mood: excited
Current Music: Proof of Concept by Lackluster
November 20th, 2009
Preliminary Virus Observations:
Whether or not viruses infect any particular individual, they are now uppermost in the minds of many people worldwide.
Data about current characteristics and infection patterns is extremely difficult to obtain right now. Each national government is dealing with situations in unique ways, and the efforts are often contradictory. Here are a few points to consider as this is being written:
Any individual virus, or the sum of virus particles infecting a human or animal, is not a conscious entity.
From the standpoint of an infected individual it can appear that a virus is attempting to re-design some or all of a material body.
Apparently, the sum off all particles of any virus is conscious. This is a new concept to many researchers: Dispersed Consciousness.
What this means is that the relationship between any infected individual and the virus does not conform to any existing knowledge about inter-species communication. It also means that communication with viruses might possibly be established.
Some of the factors contributing to this observation include:
It appears that viral dispersed consciousness operates outside the parameters of space as we know it. Apparently the consciousness is more or less equally distributed among all physical particles of the virus present on the planet at any particular time. It is not yet known how these entities experience time. We do know from the science of Applied Time Dynamics that individuals have widely varying experiences of time, usually linked to one's level of personal consciousness.
Physical mutations can arise spontaneously among viruses. How these affect the parameters of dispersed consciousness or the possibilities of communication is not known at present.
Since at this time tools to deal with virus infections are limited, one thing that people in restricted circumstances can do is to attempt the establishment of communication with viral dispersed consciousness entities. Some of these efforts could be of an artistic nature. This unusual step is being advocated partly because in many cases it literally won't cost anything. Playing music for affected patients can thus be recommended. Visual arts may be helpful too. These attempts should not be regarded as religious. A proper attitude might be what one would think when trying to tame a dog or a lion.
Keep in mind that these observations are preliminary and highly subject to modification. This data is being made available at this time, in this form, only because some people are in desperate situations with few resources available. Further observations, experiences, and comments are certainly welcome and will help further this work.
Current Location: A friends' trailer in Cheyenne
Current Music: none
October 29th, 2009
That 86 Toyota was a wonderful little car. It fit me well during a difficult time -- got it in 2004. Small, relatively economical, and incredibly dependable. But over the past few months it really started to show its age. Handle fell off the driver door. Windshield cracked up (a common problem with that model year). Then the exhaust system fell apart, so that every time i got stopped for a train, which happens a lot in Ft. Collins, my life was at risk. Final straw was getting pulled over last week -- that hardly ever happens! So the car was simply not legal to drive any more, and it would cost more money than i make to get it fixed.
Sunday i called a friend from church about the car situation. First thing Monday morning, he came up with a car! So the Toyota is sadly going to that Great Crusher In The Sky. Now i'm in a white 92 Oldsmobile. It's really nice, even if a little dinged here & there. Runs great! Someone was going to have it crushed, so it's like getting a whole new life. Should hold up while other projects get funded. And it means i will be able to continue substitute teaching, and maybe get out to New York in December when the substitute work is a little thin.
Have decided to share this story around with lots of people. Maybe it will encourage some of us. We need to know that even with a lousy economy, an insane government (normal for this planet), and monstrous difficulties keeping families together, miracles still do happen!
Thanks everyone for your prayers!
Current Mood: jubilant
Current Music: Shaman Jammin
October 14th, 2009
After getting accused of being a "Hippie Who Never Grew Up" this was written. Didn't know where else to put it, so here it is.
(c)2009 by Michael Riversong
What is a Hippie? If it was a social aberration, then the idea of it having been a youthful folly, and that anyone who still is in that mode after living most of an average lifetime truly "never has grown up", then using that term in a negative sense is appropriate.
What if Hippie is something else? In the Hopi language there is a word "hipi" that means a special kind of person who carries on traditions of an ethnic group not of one's birth origin. There's quite a bit to this traditional concept which is beyond the scope of this article.
From an anthropological perspective it is possible to regard Hippies as a variant group within a particular ethnicity. However, it should be noted that many Hippies were from diverse groups.
So what was the Hippie Culture? We know that it involved long hair, loose standards of grooming, general rejection of established living standards, and tolerance of diverse life choices. Drugs were a part of it, which will be covered in a separate paragraph.
My own experience might help us understand a bit. I first remember preferring long hair in 4th grade. Nobody knows why. That was in 1961, long before the idea of "Hippie" was ever mentioned in the media. We never saw anything about it in the Rocky Mountain region until 1965, and for the next two years it was quite rare around us. By 1967, there were a few highly visible Hippies in Denver and Boulder, hardly any in Colorado Springs and other towns in Colorado, and few in the Denver suburbs. Most were in some way associated with opposition to the Vietnam War.
In 1969 street drugs became widely available. I personally resisted pressure to use them. This pressure was relentless and came from classmates at my suburban high school and members of the Unitarian Church youth group i was associated with at the time. Finally in April of 1970 i caved in to marijuana, and in August of that year to LSD. Marijuana didn't become important to me until over a year later. Inspired by Hippie ideals, i engaged in constant political, journalistic, and musical work throughout high school and during the first year of college. I grew my hair long, engaged in multiple relationships with the opposite sex, and expanded my liberal outlook. Interestingly enough, many Hippies heavily criticized me for having too many "straight" friends. Eventually drug addiction made it impossible to continue most of my work.
But Hippies were not originally about drugs. Distinctive elements of the subculture were entirely separate from street drugs, and did not depend on them at all. In fact there were many Hippies at the time who did not do drugs to any great extent.
Hippie culture embodied a set of ideals. Many of these ideals were based on necessarily incomplete perceptions of Native American culture. The phenomenon of indigenous people sometimes transferring parts of their culture to invading societies is known among anthropologists. These ideals included:
Tolerance of social, religious, ethnic, and sexual diversity.
Elimination of all racism and sexism.
Compensation to formerly oppressed people.
Disconnection from the necessity to do destructive work in order to survive.
Responsible stewardship of the environment.
Recycling whenever possible. (Many Hippies commonly wore military and marching band uniforms partly because they were more durable than anything else at the time.)
Joy in creating music and art.
Cultivation of communal living.
Easy charity for disadvantaged and dispossessed people.
These ideals have been held by other cultures at times in history. Rarely has any group of humans managed to hold all of them for any extended period of time. Some Hippies with Christian backgrounds or connections were aware of how the Book of Acts community lived, and were actively striving to re-create it.
Some of the Hippie ideals were unrealistic. Rejection of conventional occupations certainly did not work well in a practical sense. Easy distribution of charity sometimes encouraged laziness. Sexual tolerance and relational freedom definitely did not work well; most Hippies were happy to settle into monogamous relationships when the opportunity arose.
One factor, above all others, destroyed the Hippie culture as a widespread, viable social reform in the long term. In a word, drugs. Aldous Huxley, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac had previously established intellectual rationales for personal drug use as a means of pleasure and as a social/political statement. Active promotion of drug use by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert starting in 1963 did a lot to make street drugs part of American life. This is where the Hippie ideal of tolerance worked against the group. In increasing numbers, people were showing up on the streets intoxicated, addicted, and "blown out". Many Hippie leaders put forth huge efforts to help people in these conditions, but eventually the numbers became too great and such efforts could not keep up any more.
A few Hippies survived. Some had families and created further generations of the culture. In a few cities, urban Hippies have formed coherent communities including: Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Eugene, Tucson, Albuquerque, Boulder, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Ithaca, Boston, and New York. Hippie communities exist in many rural areas. They don't tend to draw much attention. In a few places, Hippies have essentially merged with old "hillbilly" cultures. This is especially evident in Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
One of the most important permanent Hippie communities is The Farm near Summertown, Tennessee. Its founder, Stephen Gaskin, was a professor at San Francisco State University who started teaching a "Free University" class on Monday evenings. This class became extremely popular, especially with people who were dealing with confusion resulting from LSD use. Eventually he put together a caravan which traveled around the USA for a few months. It settled on some affordable land in Tennessee. All of this was documented in a series of books. His wife, Ina May, was deeply opposed to abortion, so she sent out word that any pregnant woman who didn't know where to go could get help at The Farm. Several business interests were developed within the community, and it appears to have a fairly good chance of outliving its founders.
There are many other permanent settlements of Hippies in North America now, in almost every state and province. Most of them are little known and keep a low profile. Some have set up ongoing relationships with nearby Native American, Hillbilly, and other ethnic communities which tend to exist outside the mainstream of American corporate life. Some have even made connections with religious groups like the Amish. A few are specifically Christian. Small businesses, usually involving agriculture or handcrafts, are common among them. Ideals of the culture usually keep any from becoming prominent celebrities, so you don't tend to hear much about Hippies these days. But they still exist, all grown up and functioning well in their families and communities.
Current Location: office
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: African Internet Radio
September 13th, 2009
Please copy & pass this on to interested people:
PINE BEETLE PROJECT
We are currently losing tremendous amounts of forest west of Cheyenne. Due to climate changes which have been building up over the past decade, beetles are no longer being killed to any great degree over the winters. Now many trees are turning browner every day, and eventually dying off. At the moment local woodcutters are not able to keep up.
This is a natural process. For whatever reasons, climates change sometimes. When they do, trees in a particular zone will die off. Over many centuries they may be replaced by other species if erosion does not make the area completely unlivable in the meantime.
Humans can fit into this. We can accelerate the process of species replacement and thereby prevent serious erosion. In the process we will make the environment much better for our children and grandchildren.
In this zone, we see that the main species dying off is Ponderosa Pine. Since our climate is generally getting a bit warmer, we only need to look southward for the replacements. In this case, two species are recommended, since lack of diversity has been a problem in our local forests for a long time. Those species are Juniper and Piñon Pine.
Junipers should be relatively easy to work with. They are hardy and durable. A few already exist in some places around here.
Piñon Pines are going to be a bit tougher. Many sub-varieties will have to be tried until we find the ones that work best in this new environment. To start with, we can bring seeds and seedlings up from around Durango, Colorado and the Manti La Sal in Utah. We might want to experiment with duplicating cryptobiotic soils as well.
This should not be too expensive. Individuals can do this in many areas as part of normal activities. Of course reviving groups of "hodads" like we had in the late 1970s would be a great idea, and would help a lot with the tough economy. That's an area where the government can and should get involved.
Hopefully there will be no debate on this and we can get right to work. If we're supposed to have dominion over this planet, then we have to exercise a great deal of responsibility. This is one way to do that.
-- Michael Riversong
author, Design Ecology
P.O. Box 2776
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82003
Current Location: office
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Fletcher Henderson (earliest Big Band)