ANSWERS TO LIFE’S EXISTENTIAL QUESTIONS

13 01 2013

music:  James McMurtry, “Outskirts

Kate Wolf, “You’re Not Standing Like You Used To”

Last month, I took the opportunity of the Winter Solstice to reflect on the seemingly Quixotic attempt by the counterculture, which includes the Green Party, to change the course of civilization before we devastate this planet.  It seems I was not the only one working through a dark night of the soul.

Just a few days later, I read Jan Lundberg’s “solstice musings,” entitled “Waiting for Culture Change (or something like it).”  Like me, Jan has spent the last several decades pushing for, well, culture change (the name of his website/movement) and, like me, he is beginning to wonder if he (or anyone) will live to see the promised land, and, like me, beginning to wonder if he has spent most of his adult life in a futile attempt to realize that promised land, that “Earth restored.”  Jan wrote:

…here are a baker’s three-quarter dozen thoughts that came to me in reflecting on my past year, or upon the ending of an age, as we face an ever-dawning world:

• Paradoxically, this is a time of minimized solidarity — when we need it most.• It is undermined by the cherished notion that the world — nature’s womb — is forever our playground for individual gratification.

• Right livelihood — lifestyle change away from consumerism — is unrewarded except perhaps in karma or Gaia’s appreciation, if you will.

• Hitting hard with the truth that one has found is not necessarily appreciated by many people, despite creative efforts coupled with compassion, assuming you can get to them at all.

• The sharp distinction between the Earth-engaged person and the material world-engaged man or woman has not lessened, despite momentous forces and trends becoming more clear. There are the few who, while not being perfect human beings, live for more than just themselves, as they share their vision and go up against corrupt power. But the greater number of citizens just look out for themselves, being taken advantage of by the subset of sociopaths extending institutional conditioning to predation. Read the rest of this entry »





SOLSTICE MUSINGS

22 12 2012

music:  Terry Allen, “Xmas on the Isthmus

Here it is, almost Christmas, that day when so many of us celebrate the birth and teaching of a man who said “You cannot serve both God and Mammon”  )Matthew 6:24).  For some reason, this has become a time of year to give people lots of things, although Jesus, the ostensible centerpiece of the occasion, also is reputed to have instructed his disciples to “sell all you have and give the money to the poor” if they wanted to follow him.  And sure, the story tells us that “the three wise men” gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but these are traditional offerings to a venerated being or deity, unlike, say, an Xbox or a Victoria’s Secret gift card.

But the American economy is dependent on xBoxes and Victoria’s Secret, not on incense or even gold, for all its potent symbolism.  The Christmas season is when money changers in the temple, excuse me, I meant to say  merchants, count on earning a substantial chunk of their annual income.  Christmas has become a peculiar crossbreed of a holiday, with Jesus on the outside and Mammon on the inside.  That is because, for all our culture’s protestations about Jesus and Christianity, when you come right down to it, it really is money that we worship.

Let me quote to you, verbatim, one of the dictionary definitions of “worship”:

extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem <worship of the dollar>

There is no question that money, and the accumulation of more of it, is what far too many Americans esteem, admire, and are devoted to. Read the rest of this entry »








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