Tuesday, March 28

Hey, environmentalist liberals! Here's a hint:

Returning to that book report I wrote, my teacher only wrote a few comments on the paper, but one is important enough that I wanted to point it out. With the point at which I say that "my grand scheme to 'save the world' is simply to walk away from participation in those institutions that diminish diversity and learn about or create a new way of living that increases diversity," he responds "- How about joining the people trying to save it?"

(I thought that is what I was saying.)

But I understand that he is coming from a different angle. It is basically the angle of the liberal environmentalist. And the best way I know to respond to this angle is to simply point to an essay that could answer that question much better than I could right now- Ran Prieur's Thinking Through the Fall. I haven't referred to Ran's writing directly since I first mentioned him with regards to his essay defining violence.

expand to read the full post

That instance is actually a fun personal example of the butterfly effect. One night, back in late october, I was doing a random google search for "pacifism," and Ran's essay happened to catch my eye (if you do that search, you'll find it almost to the end of the page, if you have it set to return 100 results). I clicked on the link, read the essay, and thought it was really good. It was touching on just the kind of transient nature of the meaning of the word "violence" that I was trying to feel out as I began to question my pacifism. I shared the link to the essay with a few friends, and that's where it stayed for a few weeks. I wrote about the essay in my blog eventually. And then finally it dawned on me to perhaps explore other essays written by this author. And I did. I read many of his essays and then switched over and started to follow his blog on a daily basis, but only superficially, never following any of the links in his posts. At some point around Christmas, Sara and I were looking at the site together, and she was exploring every link possible, and the opportunity again dawned on me that I am not exploiting this resource nearly far enough. So then, as I began to go back and explore places Ran linked to, I quickly made my way to Anthropik, as Jason was still in the midst of finishing up his Thirty Theses and so was being linked by Ran every few days as a new thesis was published. I continued to thoroughly explore Anthropik then, adding it to my list of daily reads. One day in January, by chance, I came across a link to Hobopoet in the forum at Anthropik, and headed on over there. Here things start to speed up a bit. By this time, I am starting to add these daily reads to the sidebar here, and when I added Hobopoet, somehow, the very next day (if I remember correctly), Hobopoet had linked back to me! (my first big hit of blogger-to-blogger approval, btw). While all this general blogging merriment is going on, I have basically been pacified and beaten down into accepting the idea that I could go on for three and a half more years and get a degree in something or other. Still, I'm exploring, virtually, and I come across the link to Dancing Rabbit on Ishcon, again randomly, and link to it. And I know this is a little cheesy, but it all comes together, all these little happenstance events, with Devin. Remember that he found my blog through Hobopoet, which he found through Anthropik (probably the same way I did). He begins to open up a dialogue with me mid february, and by the end of march, I have again come alive and am chomping at the bit to be rid of the chains of school and start living. To change direction so as to not end up where I was headed. To actually have what I believe acted out in the way I organize and use my life every day. SO, the point was - a random google search led directly to my dropping out. So be careful what you google search!

Wow, so I got way off topic, but that's okay. It was fun. Anyway, I can't recommend Ran's essays enough, along with the rest of his site.

The corollary that follows my people pleasing addiction is that I am very apt to become dependent on people I perceive as role models or heros in my life. To quote a CrimethInc. Worker Bulletin, the most important question for the revolutionary is how to escape disciples and enable equals. I would like to start enabling myself. It's fine for me to learn from other people, but then I need to take what I learn and go out and live my own life, not live vicariously through the people I'm supposedly just learning from.

Sorry I went a little linkcrazy with this post. Don't know what came over me...


  1. I just noticed the new link you posted in your sidebar: non dual reality. It's a pretty good site, thanks for posting it. I think I'll add it to my links to.

  2. wow, you pick up changes fast. i just added that link this morning...

    i agree, it is a pretty good site.

    links make the internets go 'round.

  3. too late to save the world. always. but not too late to free your mind. currently i am working on buying a house to create another autonomous community in south saint louis like Bolozone. i dont want people to have to pay rent. rent for landlords means more money for the war machine. i like your blog! !

    all support!
    monica aka trudy boots!

  4. I'm glad youz guys (and gals) are livin' the simple life. It'll leave more excess resources for me to hog...so they don't go to waste, naturally... until your generation figures out how to save the world from the likes of me's, and then I'll be able to benefit from your solution too!! As Yackoff Smirnoff aptly said, "What a country!"

  5. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the link through to my site. I really like what you are doing here as well, and have added a link back to your site.

    It really is amazing how random meanderings through the net can cause amazing changes in our lives.

  6. Dan,

    The United States of America:
    born in genocide,
    raised on slavery,
    fat from robbing and raping the world...

    what a country, indeed.

  7. I had a good response to your sadness about the America you see. But I'd rather you answer this: Is there anything not-of-Tom's-world you like about this country?

  8. By "not-of-Tom's-world," are you referring to everything else besides my friends and family and the places that I exist in on a daily basis? It's rather hard for me to "like" things when I have yet to have direct experience of them, so I don't quite know what you're looking for. I anticipate very much liking the "countryside" (or wilderness, if any is left) of this country.

    Are you looking to see if I like any of the abstract ideals that this country has? Like freedom, self-reliance, faith, family, lifelibertyandthepursuitofhappiness, and all that jazz? Only to the extent that they stop being abstract concepts and start being applicable in describing tangible things I can experience.

    If I didn't answer the question you were trying to ask, please explain further so I can try.

  9. I think more than anything that I'm dismayed at the sense of humor you seem to be lacking. My entry about hogging resources was meant to be rib-jabbingly humorous. Your response seemed filled with anger about the history of this country, or the slice and interpretation you choose to fixate on.

    This nation functions because of people you know, and was built into this prosperous society by people they knew, who scratched and clawed their way out of real poverty in order to feed and house their families, not so that their ancestors could, from the comfort of the leisure brought about by the sweat of their brow, paint them as racist accessories to genocide, rape and robbery. I'm certain that my German and Irish immigrant grandparents experienced more racism than they dealt out.

    That is my point, I guess. It seems that you like and dislike abstracts, and both sets of abstracts tend to be fixated on extremes; extreme idealism about how to fix the "problem" and extreme cynicism about the source of the "problem".

  10. Dan, where is YOUR sense of humor? TO me, this is a pretty funny question: "Are you looking to see if I like any of the abstract ideals that this country has? Like freedom, self-reliance, faith, family, lifelibertyandthepursuitofhappiness, and all that jazz?"

    Have you perchance read Kurt Vonnegut, either of you? Now THERE is a funny man.

    - Devin

  11. I have only read Slaughterhouse-5 as of yet. I would like to read much more by him.

    Returning to Uncle Dan's comment, what I was "fixating on" in my response to your "humor" was not merely a slice of the story, and it is not as if my own interpretation is baseless. The genocide of the indigenous peoples, the slavery of the africans, and the capitalistic accumulation of wealth and power from the rest of the world are all very real, but not just real- they are the foundation, they are the bottom line, so to speak. This is the mode in which this country operates, and it does so quite purposefully.

    The fact that your ancestors experienced more racism than they dished out only contributes more evidence to the kind of disrespect for actual human freedom and dignity that the institutions of this country perpetuate. I'm not placing blame on the masses of people caught in the terrible capitalist system (which you describe aptly as a continual scratching and clawing to stay out of real poverty), only on the system itself. The system is racist. The system is the perpetrator of genocide, slavery, and robbery. And your and my ancestors were unable to do anything but participate in such a system. There is no use in blaming them for that. But I, here and now, can choose the extent to which I participate in that system that perpetuates all of those terrible crimes. And I choose to minimize that participation. If wanting to lead a joyous life that is in balance with the rest of the world makes me out to be a humorless extremist, then so be it.