11-16-17 Philosophy Through Family (In Praise of Patriarchy)

 

A Musical Accompaniment

I love and hate mankind in portions which may seem unhealthy. That’s the thing, they’ve made the basic human experience abnormal. Normal activity, inexplicable wave like emotions and experiences, which prompt change and growth,  have become negative attributes. Disruption is the critical marker, but then everything is disruptive, isn’t it? The empty fuel tank light, the nutrient deficient belly after dinner, traffic, red lights, bosses, children.

Parenting is the template to understand everything, Nature, God, whatever you want to call it. It answers all wandering philosophical questions, most importantly God’s alleged apathy. It’s not that nature doesn’t care about us, it’s that we are evolving life forms, who begin life dependent, but must be wired to separate from this life-source and function “independently” and keep the goddam wheels on the thing. I guess, cause that’s the problem, there is an element of illusion in that, limits on free choice, limits on our true independence.

Male and female, and they are real things, provide the solution to the paradox. The positive and the negative give balance to the story. Comedy and Tragedy. Adults are rounded out, settled down through parenting. Patience. Principles. Purpose. These are skills you have to have for Nature to flower and flourish.

There is so much illness and insanity in our culture, you can’t help but analyze some of the basics things, food, sex, employment, and recognize these are the problem areas. As a Father, it seems only right that I view these things through often critical lens. And frankly, when I take that position, it immediately draws you into conflict with the world. Power. Patriarchy. Pride. Potential. Dangerous, possibly prohibited words these days.

It’s easy and right to slip into an US vs. Them mentality though, which objectively isn’t historically the best stuff, but frankly in the small social scale is fundamental.

You should hold your family above others. Or even more yourself above the general thing. I remember that demented thought experiment (that’s basically the best of philosophy, imagine nightmare scenarios and make deductions from them) presented in some college ethic course, imagine you’re on the Titanic, shit goes down, and everyone’s drowning, you see your one kid floating away one direction, but there are like twelve other kids close by, drowning on a bit of wardrobe, who you could save immediately, but then your own kid’s gets a seat in Davy Jones’ locker. What do you do?

No question for me. I’m going for my kid. And curse the boat builder and god itself as I did it, and forever. But it can’t be any other way and it isn’t. More or less we all recognize, there’s nothing we can really do about “it”, is there? What’s worse, this problem is what has society at large in the tank. And it’s because from some quarters (rich and familial) has come the argument of over-population, and the value and pleasure in narcissistic mores of life. Which in reality amounts to shitty television, shitty food, and jerking off. But these apparently are enough, until inevitably they’re not, and so we try to drag the old crusty, models, the skeletons now, out of the heap in the backyard, but they don’t stand right, and we don’t have the tools, nor skills to build them again. Shit…can someone get a six-pack, maybe stop at Mcdonalds, maybe pick Grandpa up from the home, he loves tinkering with this shit….

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On Farming, Nabokov, Internet, Culture, Knowledge, Writing

Last night I stayed up late watching farming motivation, tomato porn videos on YouTube. The guys was showing how you can greatly increase pollination of the tomato plant by fingering, slapping, shaking the plant, and around the fruiting special bits. Tomatoes carry both the males and the females stuff, so by vibrating the former you impregnate the later. I had noticed last night some drying blossoms on my own, think the heat and lack of water zapped them. Video made me realize maybe they were not pollinated and that made them weaker too.

I’v found my part of the stream and it’s having a cooling effect, or a redirecting of my energy from writing/reading to the farm. Not to say I’ve haven’t been doing either. It’s always there, crawling around, waiting. My JD Salinger binge had me noticeably nihilistic, the Camus stretch ruined me, and then the The Feud by Alex Beam about the friendship and subsequent “fight” between writer Nabokov and Literati Edmund Wilson got my haunches up and has sent me spiraling down the black hole of conspiracy world (Dave Chappelle, Kanye, Johnny Deep, may all be MKULTRA victims and clones). Despite Mr Beam’s and everyone else’s explicit statement not to see any of Nabokov’s work, Lolita and beyond, as confessional or biographical, I couldn’t see otherwise.

I know Tolkien was like that, didn’t like any real world parallels pointed out. I get the psychological need to distance ourselves from the thing. It ruins it for some, like the Wizard of Oz, doesn’t allow them to slip into into suspended disbelief. The real question, is there any other mode? Everything seems made up these days. Don’t know exactly why. Has to be the TV and internet, we live in little electronic bubbles of our choosing, inherently artificial, the so-called external reality has begun to mirrors this process. It all begins to break down at a point, like CNN current meme debacle, old traditional barriers start to dissolve.

I read the news, and about the world, like it is regular installments of my favorite Sci-Fi series. I’m using the internet through tethering my phone. And there’s only one spot that works in the house.. The upstairs window facing north. So the bedroom has become the office. It was nice to have the full desktop back, the youtube, all of it. Senior year of High School,  I made this ceramic block with the word “Knowledge” on it. It’s always been sort of a totem for me, a symbol of first principles.  I set my phone on that, pointed out the window, and it works well enough. And I don’t know while getting reintegrated, I realize  current events are just insane, nightmarish, other-worldly. You try to settle yourself down, cut the anxiety with a bit of reason. And if you shut it off and maybe went and wandered a field, or river, or something you could find ways to forget it, but you sort of don’t want to. You want to see where the story is going. How it will all play out. Stories and book are like that. Trying to write “popular” fictions gets me in a similar way. Conjuring up twisted characters and thick drama, set a tone for the spirit and day, which can sometimes feel negative and costly. I don’t like hurting people, fiction or otherwise, which doesn’t necessarily make for great fiction. It could, but you got to work harder for it, I think. Stop being a pussy, is what the shadow self jeers with.

The field almost feels easier. Just different, I guess. Farm work taxes the body, but nourishes the spirit, art work taxes both, and leads the body to lethargy and the spirit to turn manic. I’ve set up an academic hour in the evenings six to seven oclock, then out to the field for two hours to weed, mulch, and water. Balance. Knowledge.

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Random Prosetry 

Creation of the World

Go ahead, you can’t hurt it much.
Tenderest phrase I ever heard.
Your memories are dry, brittle things.
A compost pile of self.
Emotions are the needed water, invigorating life, the microbes
Underneath, amoebas to complex structures,
Reinvested in other life forms
Half finished Frankensteins.
Devoid of moisture, fire is the threat to inorganic matter,
A purging mythic Phoenix, more potent, nutrient dense Mater, future building blocks of the Other. 
Born of old men, half baked narratives of a fifty year old alcoholic Sci-Fi writer, loose leafs on the slush pile.

Thought about PKD, the other night. All alone, with a full house asleep, dying to talk to somebody.

He said he felt Rome, experienced it one day, reality flipped, and it was millennia ago in Rome, and then he came back. I tried to conjure that as I sat in bed. I might have felt it for a second, an ocean marinated wind blowing through weathered wheat stock, but the Borg-head of current self rolled on the theater curtain, destroying the illusion. The technological entity of the future, already born, reinvigorated, forever.

Forget the old, its technetronic back teeth chatter. We can built whatever world we want. I see it squid like in the subconscious, dangling a long, notched vertebrae. 

My friend brought it up at dinner on Sunday. The black web of the future, great unknown, the future of true novelty; we have no clue what’s coming next! We try to rationalize, sure everyone throughout history feels like that. In a way, that’s worse though. That everyone has felt this way, adrift, without harbor, quantum sea monsters rattling against the bottom of the boat…

On Father’s Day 

Perfect night to perfect day. Seventies, clear, clouds like warships marching through the sky. Dad came out, went in on a rant about the curse of the family name, showed a big gash in his head, which he got after a pack of unconscientious gals at the coffee shop got him all riled up and he bumped his head on his car getting in. I don’t like when he says that, that we got bad luck, bad mojo, seems a self-fulfilling prophecy to me. 

Why can’t our genes be associated with victory, success, fortune? I smiled though and listen, even joke in a similar vain, accounting my own similar and recent bad luck, AC went out on Honda, needed new rooters and breaks on the truck. There’s no point, and its negative to fight it. Instead I hijack the genes on my own time, the story in my own mind. We have to accept the darker undertones of the tale, a bastard’s journey to kingship, return of the prodigal son. But what does Promise Land look like? I’ve been forced to consider. 

There’s irony in my Dad’s dark outlook, it’s the other side of over confidence. He was always pretty successful socially, friends, girlfriends. In his high school senior picture he looks like Super Man, Christopher Reeves incarnation. Tall, handsome, full head of hair, stylish white bell bottoms. The caption says he’s helping a younger student. He was class President, Captain of the football team, scholarship offers for wrestling. He idealized those times. His Mom and Dad divorced his senior year. I think this is what got him. Grandpa went a little wild, was an alcoholic. I’m convinced Grandma Gene,  Grandpa Pete’s mom, was a witch, a good one. She made little piles of rocks all through out her yard, stacked up at night under the moon and stars. I feel her in me when I stand in the field at dusk; we are happy, at home. 

Britney cooked huge steaks and veggie packs on the grill. Ran a notable grill, orangey grey charcoal stack. Grandpa played ring-leader with the gang. They teased and provoked, debating how the water balloons would be dished out after lunch. I feel and realize my clone like nature watching it all. How we are the same just slight variations in time and space, even my wife, and how we put up facade of separateness, but it doesn’t mean anything. My Mom had a falling out with her Mom, didn’t talk for years. But I realized later they probably thought about each other more cause of that, obsessively and neurotically probably. 

After lunch we had the water ballon fight and then jumped my rider mower, my Father’s Day miracle. I thought it was done, but we pushed it to my Dad’s car while the boys took turn steering. I could tell the old man had the itch to mow, he’s recently moved from his big yard, but he let me have at it, and went inside with the boys.

I checked in on them later, sat there in a row yucking it up and playing video games. There’s something here that transcends the tawdry, and cheap word “love”, but that’s what it is. It makes my cells ache, yearning to make it permanent, imprint it on the over-soul for eternity. But true success is only when you let go, praise and love, but don’t grasp. I finished my mowing. The farm is looking great. I’m happy like kid. Blessed on a perfect day, so lucky. 

Perfect Night in Des Moines 


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It was a perfect night tonight. The heat broke, has been ninety plus for almost two weeks. Won’t really rain, just spit. Left our little Eden and went to the big city Des Moines, for dinner with wife’s coworkers. There are those nights, summer nights, where everything thing seems clean, shiny, put together. Des Moines is quintessential fly-over country and I hope it stays that way for ever. I truly hesitate to even brag about it publicly, so as not to alert the unwashed masses of its awesomeness. One of the main reasons is per-capita, pound to pound, Des Moines is actually a world class food city. It fertile lands and deep agricultural roots, along with its geographic centerness has brought many influences and culturals to bare. 

This agricultural industry have created stronger economic health. This and things like the caucuses have made Iowa oddly relevant at times. I think Iowa, and probably that whole region is like the United States’ shire. There’s a good mix of political and ideological left and rightness, which at the current time and day strikes a unique and important balance. People are generally friendly, respectful, and none portentous, excluding the author, of course.

I like my wife’s gang at work. Their ornery and silly, and I’m sure they’ve banded together in the trenches of the modern health care system; these people have seen some shit. We ate at Bubbas downtown. They serve quality Southern style dishes, fried chicken and waffles, chicken fried steak, white cheddar grits, home jams, corn breads, mac and cheese, red beans and rice. They have an extensive booze selection. I had a Bubba julep, bourbon and mint and something called a Porch Sipper which was delicious, think it was bourbon, but had cucumbers, basil, mints and something sour in it. We shared and laughed. The server was charming and informative. Bubbas has a classy old school lounge and bar. And you know what, it shares a sizable class. Hell, right next store is a French-influenced restraunt Django, which look qaulity as well. There are more delicious and interesting things to eat in Des Moines then I can even try to get too. 

Driving around admiring the city, the patios were packed with people, smiling, with their friends, enjoying their Saturday night. Hope. Potential. Food is so much more than just a basic need. I was ranting about this to Brit after I came in from farm chores last night. How I didn’t want to be in Nature, but Of Nature. Part of it, not an explorer penetrating it, controlling it. How I feel a symbiotic relationship with my plants, wedding and watering them, how I nourish them and they nourish me, and how kids and families were like this; you nourish them, they nourish you. Talked about this video I saw about kids in India pulling a giant python out of the river for fun, playing with it, and how we still jump at garter snakes. How it’s better to relax about bugs and critters. Accept the swarm around you, pulsating with life. 

We got home and the skies took to play. Summer storms yearning to rain, but empty, dry. The lightening in the distance, striking a portrait at will. Chay comes to get me from bed, says the grey lights out his open window are freaking him out. Light slices the canvas, highlighting bulking, thickly painted clouds. An ocean of fireflies undulate in front yard of the house, dancing in the electric atmosphere. Fireflies. Never knew there could be so many fireflies….

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Gipsy Fortune Teller
Houdini-Gresham 

Washington, D.C., the nation’s most beautiful city, heart of the democracy, hub of the forty-eight states was in 1926 also the city most infested with palm readers, astrologers, message mediums, slate writers, crystal workers, and “rag head rackets” generally. In the shabbier residential neighborhoods their shingles, showing an upraised palm, were thick; sometimes almost every brownstone house to the block had its prognostication parlor. (264) 

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Houdini-Gresham 

Vaudeville tempo had changed mightily during the time Houdini was away, selling Liberty Bonds and making motion pictures. The country seemed to be marching to Georgie Cohan’s “Over There.” Autos were faster and roads were better for them to be faster on. Pioneer Station KDKA in Pittsburgh had begun daily broadcasts and America was in the grip of a new mania soon to replace the Ouija board–sitting crouched over crystal sets with earphones clamped to its ears. The big build-it-yourself radio boom was just around the next corner. And to a generation that had gone through the First World War, the sight of a man jumping of a bridge and getting out of handcuffs under water created no hysteria. (227) 

Two weeks from mission complete.

Two weeks from mission complete. I’ve been on hiatus from computer, running operations. Shut the internet down. Felt good. For years now, about six, ever since we bought our first house, or rather got a mortgage on a house, wife and I have pined for the country life. Big lots, less people density, farm-stuff, crazy gardens, chickens, maybe a pig or two, who knows? Things had reached a feverish pitch roughly two months ago. As our kids are getting older 2, 4, and 6, change is looking less scary and more revitalizing. We came to the conclusion we would start trying to sell our house in February of 2017, but as we sat there one night and thought about it more, like the fact it could take several months or more to get it done, and no better time then the present, and really what was stopping us? We knew a lot of course (Contingent Contracts, Winter, etc.), and it has ended up being a lot, but none the less, here we sit, two weeks from closing on our current house and a new farm house on December 23, 2016.

It’s sort of remarkable really. I’m still in the whirlwind of it all to relate it appropriately. There’s secrets in all this. Which I will relate for a small fee. If you’re a cheaper, wiser man, I will tell you the key right now. The key is best summed up by the title of book I read once, by Susan Jeffers called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. That’s it. Dreams always hold this element of fear. You fear you and it won’t live up to your expectations, you fear the hard work and change a dream might entail. Your Will scans for hurdles as you plot the course, and highlights easiest solution to these hurdles, which can often make giving up seem like the best option. But it’s not, feeling that fear, rolling in it, chewing on it, sucking back the sickening slurp and hocking it out, and doing what you want to, is the best feeling you’re gonna find, I say. I think the only exception is stupid stuff, like really stupid stuff, jumping out of plane, no parachute. But maybe that’s the key to flying, Faith of a mustard seed and all that.No, physical safety first, then any unreasonable, but awesome dream should be pursued.Forget the rest of it.

It’s practical too. You pursue a dream, and you will learn skills which help in other areas. Maybe guitar won’t make you immediately rich and successful, but all that practice, focus, and pleasure in progress, leads to a person who can accomplish even more challenging tasks.

Then one day you’ll hold the guitar, or the paintbrush, or hammer, and you’ll realize your doing things you didn’t know how to do before. To be great you have to do something that will make you scared. Seems some important paradox in that. Just too damned excited about it all to pontificate more. Ill be back…

P.S. Just knocked back some heavies ones in the Literature realm, Lolita, Orxy and Craker,   As I Lay Dying, The End of Eternity, amazing works, so much to say in response may have to do a dangers of Padding the Reading Part 2. Dystopia had a me a little worn thin in all that though, had to look away, Lot’s wife.  But that’s the true power of the bitter pill, there’s secrets there too, I think. Every read any of those? Let’s talk about them!

Morning Stream

Middle of the night Kein, 4 yrs old, made a run for Mom and Dad’s bed, because it was “so comfortable” The several attempts included a potty break and snuggles from Mom. He does the stiff hand on the bed karate chop, his face coming through the shadows, “I just want to sleep in your bed.” Cute, infuriating. Parenthood.

Woke up to this article, from New York Post titled “Cops arrest knife-wielding clown who chased teen on subway.” I suggest you read it. Take a good look at the picture of the guy. Think about It for a second. Seems to be three options, all of which make me uncomfortable. First one, the money motive. Someone is paying these people to do these pranks, which are actually crimes. The second the perpetrators themselves get off on the act of scaring other people, and the attention, maybe like veteran-clowns down on their luck (the guy was 53).  A version of number two, these people are attentions seeking individuals and really, really, stupid. Or lastly these may just be demon infested, killers clowns from outer space. The second seems the most likely  one and scariest of all. The perpetrators are just like fractured, arrested-development weirdos who don’t get that they’re endangering themselves and others.

There was something about how well that guy was put together that makes me think it’s not number two though. I know crazy people can dress snappy, but its the subtlety of the outfit that gets me. Perfect clown get-up, but blended with the large coat into a grey-man everyday look. Allowing him to get to his stage, before his mission was blown. It’s not over the top. It seems attention seeking, thrill seekers, would want to go for a little more flair in the act.

Couple kids put a school on lock down in my city a couple weeks back dressing up as clowns. My six year old came home talking about the clowns which were scaring everybody. The neighbor kids had been hyping them up. I wanted to write this Literary Theory type of Essay, in the draft I started I titled it The Thin-Line Between Fact & Fiction”. The basic premise was because of how much artificial entertainment the average person ingested in a day through TV and computers, that they now spent more time in that artificial environment then the real, natural world. But further, that if we could sort of transport ourselves over there, what was to say those things couldn’t, and didn’t push back. Stephen King who has made several of these meta-moves in his own work is an interesting way to look at this. The merger of literature and film itself seems to be one of these processes of manifesting the imagination, and he definitely played a role there as well.

The point of all of it was to suggest maybe we need to sober up, dry out. Give our legs a stretch. Get out of the frontal lobe. Dive down into our bones, our heels. That we were losing something, merging with something else. Something that would dehumanize us. The clowns are scary. I also saw this video the other day, about this even more real knife attack in a New York subway. Someone had videoed it on their phone. The men wrestle and then one of them beings stabbing. People clear out, except for the random straggler who tries to scoot passed the scene. The guy who is stabbing has an accomplice, who tells the people who half try to intervene to “keep moving”.

Well, that’s all before the coffee. Take away point, watch your back! Think about things. I think they call it “situational awareness”. See subtle signs of clown gear, make sure you smile at the guy , and look him in the eye. Make sure he’s one of the good ones. And like the guy in other video said, “keep moving”, everything is okay. Not really. That came off a little menacing. I apologize.

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Ursula. K. Le Guin-Lavinia

Though people often confused it with weakness or duplicity, tact is a great quality in a ruler, whether of a country or a household; awareness of the other allows respect, and people respond to it, returning the recognition and the respect. Aeneas governed with tact, and was beloved for it. (204)