Monday, September 19, 2011

The Opportunity of the Decade!

This weekend, in Hilo, at TEDx Waiakea-- you'll have the unique opportunity to. . .

Gosh, that's right! Actually see me not wearing work clothes. That's right, no pine tar, epoxy, motor oil, paint, varnish, hydraulic fluid, chain saw scuzz, PVC cement, banana juice, chicken shit, spilled beer, soldering flux, battery acid, concrete, sawdust, metal filings, fish scales, tree sap, filth, permatex, rust, charcoal, mud, bits of string, bottom paint, blood, and hopefully little sweat and tears. This is a rare event indeed, kinda shocking for me.

I fear an allergic reaction.

The topic of this TEDx event is "Simple Ways to Power Yourself and Your Community." While honored to be featured there, in many ways I've really learned the key to all that is "talk less, and do more." Making an exception, I guess, here on this blog, and certainly for the event, and I hope that I can offer a constructive message. It's been a lot of work for me putting one together, and one that has involved a great deal of soul-searching--as I've been forced to confront my audience--perhaps not so much locally but otherwise largely one of "mainstream" people -- something I don't have a lot of contact with anymore, and haven't, frankly, in years. In many ways my life path has been one of seeking "authentic" experience as a means to reach personal integrity. That personal integrity, of course, compels one to adopt an informed, realistic, but heroically optimistic world view(even if that part is kinda iffy) and this blog has a lot of that kind of observations muddled through it. The observation today, frankly, is that "authenticity" is rarely, rarely, rarely found in talk, but in the evidence of past action. As in a lot of ratty worn out clothes that are the badges of projects taken on and completed. It is remarkable that in order to reputably address a mainstream audience on the subject "empowerment" with a message of "authenticity" I'll need to personally shed any evidence of actually having any.

Please, can't I at least bring the welder? LOL.

Seriously, it is remarkable, and telling.  A lot on my mind lately, in a constructive manner, sure. But I've got to admit to being deeply burdened by the reality of the moment and responsibility that comes from it. Our community is really starting to suffer, and that's just the facts-- it's easy for me to carry the concern that time spent flapping my mouth or typing away here could and should be better spent raising yet another round of birds, or welding up a cook stove or two(propane is now 6 bucks a gallon on the island), planting taro-- endless the options, there. However, I do feel though it may be as important as bear witness to hollowness and moral bankruptcy of the moment. . .simply, sincerely, authentically. . .to at least deny those that exploit the moment the defense of ignorance. . .as if any would believe it anyway.

Ah, but you friends of mine, don't doubt. You know I'll give 'em hell!

Thanks, Larry, for the opportunity, and all the time and effort put into organizing the event! Kilauea SilviCulture pledges to donate and plant a tree for all attendees! That ought to get some pants properly muddied up!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Appropriate Technology for the Future:

We'll set aside my tirade about Rick "Imperial Dragon" Perry of the Koch Klimate Klan-- it looks to be a foregone conclusion that we'll (s)elect that monster to be the next "Leader of the Free World." I don't want to be accused of beating a dead horse here. . .

Did I mention he's the god-damned "antichrist?" Seriously!

Anyway, in the interest of being constructive I thought today I'd introduce skills that may well become important in the future that we're likely to face: Flint Knapping and Gnawing.

Flint knapping, of course, is the traditional art of making stone edged tools by chipping hard stone, like obsidian  or flint. Without the means, especially fuel, to work metals, knapping can produce implements much superior to more primitive techniques, like poking stuff with sharp sticks or mashing things apart with rocks. Here in Hawaii we don't have in hard rocks like that, and probably won't have any fuel either--especially after the bio-mass to energy boys get ahold of the forests--so we'd better stick to techniques that we can actually manage in the future of scarcity that seems all but unavoidable.

Gnawing, as well, is a time honored tradition for getting stuff apart. Compared to knapping, it is relatively simple to master. Rats can do it. But it too has its technical limitations, as it relies on teeth, something already starting to show signs of scarcity in East Hawaii. Around the world scarcity of teeth, especially prevalent among males of the warrior class, was compensated for by again utilizing sharp sticks and mashing rocks, used to compel women and children(who still possessed the tools for gnawing) to perform the necessary tasks. Sharp sticks and rocks were also useful to produce extra children even among toothless women, so teeth proved to be a true renewable resource manageable even in cultures of comparative austerity. . .

. . .Now as promising as either of these two technologies seem to be, personally I kinda like to dream for the moonshot--like practicing a little, authentic, thinking ahead and conservation now--as it seems to me that if we responsibly steward our resources now, we might not even need to worry about the scarcity of teeth that much in the future.  . .

. . .Nah, I know. Just a pipedream. Conservation? Good stewardship? Too much work. It would cut too much into our quality of life. . .be realistic, Jay.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tao of the Ninja Mennonite: IV

Big guns, now: good vs. evil?

See I wasn't really raised so much to believe in evil, as well, as Nietzsche said "You may search the world for evil, but alas, all you may find is the bad," meaning, of course, that being evil is really hard to do, and you've got to really want it, and you've got to be fucked up in a galactic kind of way to do that. You've got to be a bit superhuman, really. Most people want just the bad, which is just some weird twisted version of the good, selfishly-- so you'll sell out at your own convenience to get it.. A lot like our current President, or perhaps Mitt(Holy Underwear) Romney.

I was also a brainy geek kid, chess club sort, who loved Dungeons and Dragons and all that, as it was this completely wonderful world to play thought experiments with. Contrary to what the evangelical idiots thought, it wouldn't drag you to the DEVIL, as well, there was one, drawn up nicely by a set of rules, and all the rest in the game, you got to know "it" personally, and you'd figure out it wasn't a very good winning proposition to have anything to do with any of that DEVIL stuff unless you were nuts and self-destructive. In fact, being stupid doesn't work with "evil," you've got to really work at it or you just end up being "bad.". I'm telling you, it's not simple.  Think about it. Take some time. It ain't a simple issue. You'll find, if you think about it, you can end up being good and stupid, by mere accident, and I guess it counts, if anyone keeps score, but to be evil you've to to really mean it. You've got to be deliberate. For what end? It can't be chicky-poos, or wealth, or power, or any of that-- that's just bad again. See, evil can't have an end but itself. You've got to want it because you just want it,  itself. Ah, Epistemology. . . People still tell me they believe in "evil."  I say, well, try a thought experiment. Lock yourself up in a closet and just be all "evil" by yourself for a couple hours and see how that works out for you. What do you figure you're going to do? Be pissy? Angry? Think mean thoughts? Cut on yourself?(can't do much of that, you've got a couple of hours!). Bunk. Evil is a joke!

Well, now we've got Rick Perry.

Now seriously, this makes me wonder. This dude is fucked up, in a supreme galactic sort of way. He can't, absolutely can't, impossibly can't, be as stupid as he makes himself. His state is in the worst drought in history. Nope, no such thing as climate change, he says. Evidence is out, like it is on dinosaur eggs. Or maybe Enron too, or a whole lot of stuff it's handy not to think about. He has executed more people that any other Texas Gov., a high bar, frankly, and has "no doubts, whatsoever" about his doing so. He believes, in spite of the fact that he lives square on top of the best piece of oil real estate in the US, that "environmentalists" are impeding oil exploration. . .Like there's parts of Texas that haven't been looked at? Isn't it legal in Texas to shoot environmentalists(whatever that means) on sight? He's a Christian Dominionist? You just look this up on your own. . .Let's be clear, this fucker is a monster. I understand it's poor taste to compare people to Hitler. I wouldn't dare, so I wouldn't. Hitler was a beast, for sure, but I don't believe he had some complete willing, complicit desire to destroy all of humanity and creation? Hitler was a fascist, a complete egotistical nutcase, and wanted to restore some kind of weird ass mythological motherland. As fucked up as that is, at least I can stretch my head to get around it, and maybe try to understand why.

To deliberately commit violent, self-destructive, self-demeaning suicide for myself and everyone else I might  know, doing everything one can to drag them into it, well, is something I don't, or didn't, believe was a mindset possible to exist.

I've got to tell ya, I've been in a lot of churches in my time.  My Dad was an undertaker, after all, and we got to see all that religiosity  layed out in its glory. Dogma? Sure, seen lots of that. Bigotry? Sure, seen lots and lots of that. Racism? Sure, seen lots of that. Classism? Less of that, but growing, for sure. Homophobia? Some of that, but shrinking.. Stupidity? Tons and tons of that. Selfishness. all that? Well, of course. Evasion of personal responsibility? Well, hell! What do you think religion was created for?

Completely blind ass evil? I didn't believe it possible.

Rick Perry has expanded my mind.