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Messages - Willem

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Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 21, 2007, 12:14:31 PM »
I've watched all 7 seasons of Buffy, so I can attest to their verby-ness. Actually, even without the verb consciousness, viewers of that show remain aware of Joss Whedon's constructed 'valley-girl' teen language. It sounds like something someone would speak somewhere...but he made it all up. Really interesting.

Watch enough of those shows in a row and you start seeing the world in terms of 'talismans' and metaphorical 'demons'. Weird.

lucky voyin to have some canned steak from an american!

I don't remember!

"baran: from the can to the pan to the man" and pat our stomachs.

Ha ha. It almost sounds like life in the army, you know? Weird industrialized food in the middle of nowhere.

I found Voyin as a puppy just rotting on the sidewalk. He had a leg wound. All the Russian passers-by just ignored him. It blew my mind...nobody even paid the least attention! I couldn't handle it. A puppy! And I don't even like dogs. They smell bad.


I also found Orlov's comments on American family hilarious. 'Family values' indeed. Christ. Fortunately I have a family of wacky enough types that enough the non-collapse ones will come around sooner or later.

Visions of the Rewilding Renaissance / Re: New/Old Stuff
« on: March 21, 2007, 12:06:48 PM »
pretty much same thing. obsidian = volcanically induced glass.

I agree with everything Scout says. For school, the system represent the real curriculum, the real content.

John Taylor Gatto wrote a relatively short article on this that sums it up great. Give it to anyone who considers school like 'democracy'; "it sucks but it's the best system we've got." Bullshit!

Mr. Gatto says in the following article, "It only takes about 50 contact hours to transmit basic literacy and math skills well enough that kids can be self-teachers from then on. The cry for "basic skills" practice is a smokescreen behind which schools pre-empt the time of children for twelve years and teach them the six lessons I've just taught you."


**READ HERE FIRST** / Re: Introductions
« on: March 21, 2007, 11:55:06 AM »
Hmmm...ninjas...pirates...ninjas...pirates...I just can't make the call. Too close. Kudos to your ability to choose your favored one, Rory.


Please tell me about why you suggest this.

Social Technology / Re: Girls Gone Rewild
« on: March 20, 2007, 02:34:49 PM »
Oh mi god. What a relief. Thanks.

Social Technology / Re: Girls Gone Rewild
« on: March 20, 2007, 02:28:05 PM »
How do we fix this thread? Or do only I see a lack of word wrap here? ack!

Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 20, 2007, 02:24:25 PM »
Hey Roxy!

Their concept of time seems to differ from language to language...Mohawk has a quite elaborate system of past tenses. One thing I have noticed involves a (near?) universal theme of not defining the future...saying "i will go catch a fish" involves such prophetic arrogrance, apparently, that it seems a rather modern notion. 'I will go fishing', however, reflects what one can actually control. In Chinuk jargon you can't say 'I want to go fishing', you can only say 'I will', another odd layer. One can't impotently 'wish' for a future activity, one either will do it, or not.

Benjamin Lee Whorf has lots of interesting things to say about Hopi concepts of past/present/future activity, in his book Language, Thought, and Reality. He says they divide the world into 'manifest' and 'unmanifest'. Present and past falls into 'manifest', that which we can see manifested around us. The future growth of a tree, or prayers, or a not-yet-arrived season, falls into 'unmanifested'. He insisted the importance of the distinction here, between a 'manifestation' paradigm, and a 'time-line' paradigm. One also refers to one's thoughts and in the 'unmanifested' tense. If I understood it better, I'd go on about it more, it sounds so intriguing. Manifest and Unmanifest have no particular 'order' (as in one coming first and the other second), they simply denote our relationshiop to experience and observation. I feel like I should go dig the book up and give this a better description...I'll probably learn more from another crack at it.

I find these semantic (semantic signifying 'meaning', not 'pickyness', an unfortunate and absurd connotation) differences between indigenous and modern languages fascination. One time, studying a little Lakota, I read in Albert White Hat's Lakota instruction book an anectdote about some Lakota adults and a couple of teenagers at a community center. Everyone speaking in lakota, the teenager had just finished giving voicing some opinion. One of the elders leaned into another and murmured, "he speaks pretty good english". Meaning: everything we take for granted in english, the 'it' of objectified reality, the preponderance of nouns, even the order in which our language conceives and speaks about reality, marks it as a profoundly different mental activity than the indigenous. Thus people talk about three different Lakota languages: Urban, Evangelical, and Traditional. The urban and evangelical share sounds and some structure, perhaps, with Traditional, but it ends there. Just think what would happen to hopi if urban schooled hopi kids decided that 'manifested' just meant 'past tense', and changed their languaging accordingly. You'd lose an entire sphere of wisdom and perspective.

Health, Healing & Movement / Re: Martial Arts
« on: March 20, 2007, 01:59:41 PM »
No question - martial arts bring a lot of important stuff to rewilding that you can't get in many other ways. I do several: I-chuan, and kali stick-fighting (lots of stick in the woods! and on the street!). Sometimes kali, a filipino art, feels a hell-of-a-lot like tai chi with sticks. weird.

I also highly recommend dance, parkour, and any kind of free creative movement.

I can't say that I really recommend rigid classical martial-arts, but to each their own.

My friends and I bundle all of our arts into a movement practice we call SHIFT, which we get together for on Saturdays at a local park.

No. I feel very warm.

As for the whole transcend and include concept, it could stem from a cold rationalist who simply is not at home in his body or the sensuality of the earth.  But it could also come from a very real observation (and this is where it makes sense for me, not necessarily Wilbur) that the animate and material world is in constant flux.  The Buddhists would call it impermanence, emptiness, or dependent arising.

I experience/observe that process too, I guess I just don't understand the use of the word "transcend". Does a dying person 'transcend' life? Does a conceived embryo transcend 'death'? Do cyclical processes (or processes of emerging from wholeness into individuality, and then returning to wholeness, then emerging again into individuality, etc.) involved transcending? The connotations of the word seem odd. I certainly understand the need for purification and renewal...cleansing old perceptions, renewing the freshness of one's senses/ways of observing. These processes feel really important to me. Maybe it all just comes down to word choice...I've made such a concerted effort of evading the mental traps of this dominating culture, that I can get (overly?) picky about these things (word choice, convenience of conceptualization, etc.), much like one of my favorite authors, Daniel Quinn. I remember him harassing some questioner about their use of the idea "we need to live in balance with nature". He responded that we already do...that explains why civilization has begun to implode. You can't escape the 'balance'  of nature. Ha ha. I don't know - sometimes pickyness can get old.

Also, it could be that Wilbur was not actually saying that archaic people were not rational.  Maybe they were just fully integrated.Whether we're seeing real holes in Wilbur's philosophy or not, though, can't be clearly known, since we both admit that we haven't read his work that deeply.

Too true! It puts me in a funny bind; how to evaluate my relationship with another philosopher and his impacts, when I find his writing unreadable and haven't engaged in any substantive conversation with him. Several times in writing this thread I've seen the possibility of an emerging army of straw men, courtesy of yours truly...in any case, if I have created straw men, I've found their ghosts a helpful thing to clarify my relationship with.

WHich makes me wonder why he warrants so much hate, in a forum entitled "Rewilding Mind and Heart."

Well, hate (my word choice, I know) substantially overstates the attitude of gleeful jabs and japes (along with serious concern too!) that I've leveled at 'ol Wilbur, I think. Scout has a tradition of having "hate fests" which amount to a kind of celebratory emotional venting, something I meant to reference in this thread. I hope everyone here has enjoyed the mood and the sport, without it drawing them into unproductive stuff. Us animists have to stick together!

I was actually drawn into the discussion more because I could be considered a Buddhist Yoga Rationalist, and a know-it-all too, by all outside appearances.  Actually I don't identify with Buddhism as a religion, but have found it to be one of the most clear and lucid wisdom traditions providing the most accurate description of the mind's tendencies and a possible roadmap out of habitaul ways of approaching the world.

A dear friend of mine, Richard, started the Zen Center in Rochester, NY, a couple decades back. Once I expressed some envy to him about how buddhism has this beautiful map of psycho-spiritual states, along with helpful metaphors to assist you in ascending them, whereas my animist/native mentors hadn't given me squat to go on...they just point to the world and say "pay attention", and expect me to figure it out.

He pshawed, and replied that actually he admired my path better - sometimes it makes the experience richer to have no direct guide, to learn it yourself through your own dirt-time.

I haven't made up my mind about this, but I found it really interesting.

I'd be interested to know what your experience in exploring Buddhism consists of, and what you consider its faults to be.

As a salvation religion, it has the most glaring fault (the need to 'transcend' the world of suffering and illusion). Westerners often don't see it as such - they see the mindfulness and so on. I have a hard time critiquing mindfulness, and the meditative training...I value that so much. I can only point to the separation of 'sentient' and 'non-sentient' beings, a really pernicious notion, and also quote this passage I ran across on what many might consider the most harmless and nature-based of buddhist sects, Zen, and its beginnings in China:

Quote from: Opening A Mountain, by Steven Heine, pages 1-2
Zen masters were known for encountering and overcoming irregular or heretical religious figures, such as hermits, shamans, and "dangerous women". The irregular recluses and wizards occupied mountain landscapes, and practiced some form of meditation or austerity that led to the attainment of supranormal powers, such as mind-reading or the ability to interpret visions. These practitioners resembled the Zen masters, who were also celebrated for taming natural and supernatural forces, including magical animals, local gods, and demons who controlled access to the inner recesses of the mountains and could prevent the opening of the sacrality of the mountain to the Buddhist Dharma. Zen masters used many methods to prevail over indigenous powers...

I found this pretty shocking, but also it made a kind of sense. Zen monks acted as a kind of jesuit black-robe amongst the "untamed" folk taoist-animist countryside. Some part of me still appreciates Zen, but any practicioner should understand the subtle memeplex that underlies a supposedly belief-free, experience-based sect of Buddhism, don't you think?

How weird Rix to read your stories about Kazakhstan - you describe Khabarovsk (in the russian far east) almost exactly. I have pictures of the same building that the workers would never finish...except for this building, I did see workers there every once in a while. They just didn't build anything. The building itself, looked like hell. It already needed someone to demolish it after standing for 10 years in the weather with no windows or walls.

I actually adopted a street dog in Russian, named him "Voyin" (warrior!), and fed him canned steak that my russian roommates eyed hungrily. Apparently if I hadn't adopted him a street person would have eaten him, according to my roommates.

Do you see any gypsies in Kazakhstan?

**READ HERE FIRST** / Re: Introductions
« on: March 20, 2007, 11:12:00 AM »
Welcome soilslave! Your teacher sounds cool. :)

i indeed haven't done a whole lot of reading of his stuff, for reasons that you point out.

i can say right off the bat, that to create an "organization" with a structure that runs linearly, from archaic to magic to mythic to rational to pluralistic to integral, not only implies some kind of "progression" (yes, i know including the stages that came 'before', but still a progression), but also presumes that somehow one needs the 'later' stages for a whole or complete paradigm.

The ecologist Louis Liebenberg's experience with and reliance on the Bushman trackers of the Kalahari shows them to display all the traits of rationality one could ask. But they have no interest in exploring the belief systems of other cultures, to attain 'pluralism', and then later 'integrate'?  Yet how can an 'archaic' (what, they've lived there for over 40,000 years, with a practically unchanged culture as far as we can tell) culture include rational behavior?


His idea of archaic presumes that somewhere in the world, cultures started out as 'archaic', right? As far as I can tell, no wisdom/indigenous culture misses out on nourishing spiritual beliefs and the benefits of rational behavior. So what on earth can Ken Wilbur seek?

Of course his journey occurs as a member of his own culture, a culture noted for its own spiritual and human poverty. Of course to him the journey requires one to first (now that our culture has achieved the enlightenment of 'rational' behavior) collect and honor the strands of many different spiritual traditions, and then weave something whole out of them...because he/we had nothing to start with.

As an animist, however, I can go directly to the land, supported with mentoring from elders who have that relationship already, and have my spiritual experiences that already seem richer and deeper than the ones Ken Wilbur believes possible (one advocate of his scoffed at the idea of a shaman's prayers influencing the clouds to rain).

And the idea of 'transcending'...I just find the whole model a really poor fit for my experience. Others I know seem to really get a lot out of it, and I would leave well enough alone, except for the paradox of 'honoring pluralism' while simultaneously poo-pooing things that don't fit in the 'integrative' box.

By archaic, who else can he mean but 'primitive' peoples? Yet they exhibit whole traditions (do the Hopi hunger for pluralism and integration? do the Navajo? do the Lakota?). So archaic can in fact only refer to the superstitious behaviors of a slave culture - our culture. Which, yes, has plenty of dysfunctional 'magical' thinking that has not fed our lives meaningfully - witch hunts and so forth.

I don't know. Medicine Wheels have a cyclical design to them for a reason. For Ken to complain about the new age bias against organization strikes me as rather disingenous.

maybe I haven't written this very clearly...sorry if so. In any case, I know you see some of the same glaring faults with his medium and message as I, so perhaps I don't need to go on and on here.

You make a fantastic point about the need for simplicity and clarity (not dumbing down, of course) in writing about these things. I worry about this all the time with my own writings on animism...death to jargon and technobabble!

A hack! Ha ha. Yes, a spiritual hack! I love it. yeah, that big bald head just radiates ego, funny enough. as far as crafting an image, he has made an interesting one for himself.

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