Stone Riley's Blog: Stone Riley's Shoebox, page 4

May 4, 2018

The United States Army

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The United States Army

{ first-posted on 05-03-2018 by guest.scholar loop-now 05-03-2018 }

{ header-note this episode is tagged as number seventeen in the essay series 'surprising book and film reviews' }

Hello, I'm supposed to say that. So that's done. Now, my uncle is requiring me to invent a pet name for you, dear reader – yes, even without asking what pet name you'd like to have – and not letting on to me that I have guessed his message to you in this – and furthermore, my scholarship score that Dear Uncle Hiredwriter keeps in his Ledger, if you were not listening to this episode of his fairly good essay series, if you were not listening to this episode, then my scholarship score in Uncle's Lesson Ledger would not shine as brightly he says it should. So therefore I have constructed this gothicly elaborated syllogism here to welcome you, my kind dear reader, a sort of haiku but hard to figure out, a heart-shaped riddle knot, which I offer you as convincing proof of the complete sincerity and ingeniousness of this welcome I am sending to you, my friend. And if I don't get an A at least for this first paragraph, I shall run away and find a husband.

Well, next, I guess, if I recall correctly, Dear Uncle Hiredrider tells me that I must display myself to you in some fashion, “tell the reader who you are” he calls it but he smiles. Well I'm shy of course – you must remember that I am shy – you must – you must – and I have not left this house since the emergency was declared! – but I will try to display myself to you a little bit if that sort of thing is considered necessary nowadays and if you would enjoy me doing it like that or that or like this. Oh yes. But only just a little bit, you may be sure. I don't know what Uncle will do if he sees me talking with you like this so openly and daylight. My love. When can we run away? Where can we stay first night?

But now it's back to work for me. This essay – this episode number seventeen of the wretched essay series – this is a book report. Why? Why a book report?? Well, funny story. I've recently broken open a different pantry of the old library room here and lifted my dusty goggles and found a book which I later made the mistake of telling uncle that I felt particularly impressed by. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a divine bolt of inspiration apparently strikes him (they are invisible to me) and suddenly I must write a book report. A book report! And he can be a frightful nag when I will not undertake a study that he thinks I should. I AM A WOMAN NOW!!! the pitiful young virgin wept.

Have you ever seen or heard of, really, this supposedly existent author named Mellville? Did Mellville ever actually exist? Well, good reader, I do not care. But this astounding book called “The United States Army” caught my attention and then opened for me a region of the continuum that I had never clearly realized exists. And it is a large but confined space of profound tragedy demanding more skilled scholarship, and more eyeballs to shovel through, than we have here in this house till thy worshiped lance comes in to me to stay. And yet, this book itself was astonishing to me long before I even got around to reading paragraphs. I stumbled on this book. That's how I found it. In a pantry. It seems to have been on the upper shelf of a cook's larder. I theorize that the cook most likely was a man and most likely was a U.S. Army soldier veteran. I'm looking out for evidence for that.

But may I tell you a story really, about how there was this emergency and this winsome young girl got marooned in the fortress house of beloved family members who undertook to raise her as they should. See, that's the story really, I'm the heroine and I'm stuck here with a genuine hormonal emergency and missing out on all the luscious parts of life, and not ever any child for me to nurse, and missing all of that. Missing all of that. I've drawn cartoons of myself, in a great many different end-papers, myself masturbating ancient authors who are still just dead.

Waiting here, reading Shakespeare, and nothing but the stale old disappointed manual finish every time without exception. The sonnets! Ye, thou hath disappointed constantly for thou hast never vanished into flowing smoke, revealing to my opened lips the poet! How many poets can a lonely girl work through before the charm of their whole class is utterly resistible? Maybe I need a musician.

So here is the thing, my dear patient reader, the thing of great pleasure which every part of me really longs so much to give to you so that your rising heat may give such in return – a nicely written book report. Yes, a book report, my dear love, but I do hope that it is nicely written. And may this essay, winging to you now, give to you the same pleasure it will give to me when you are here with me and I am here reading it aloud to you, beneath a tree, in a park.

The United States Army. Gaudy covers. Forget the cumbersome junk they stuck in the pictures and all the animated cardboard contrivance junk on the covers. The astonishing fantasies in steel with real bullets. Amazing. I studied all that and everything else about the covers at first because they were so astonishing at first – baroque-baroque – and there was so much of it – the gargantuan display of carnage that they featured on the binding edge cover, and the book is a foot thick. But eventually I just realized all that nonsense of the covers was a false ruse by the book's original publisher, for some purpose, or an unlikely extravagant propaganda, or at any rate a false lead. So then I started reading paragraphs. That opened my eyes.

This author had a theory that the publisher ignored, and the publisher forced the author to stick all of the text that emerged into odd spaces around the pictures. There were an awful lot of pictures and they were big. Maybe the author was a little bit subversive or something. Certainly at least I think the author must have been unorthodox or incorrect or bankrupt or something. The colored inks have faded, but every page in the book had color for a few years when it was new. All of that dazzled me at first until I started reading text. That left me in tears.

Cromwell and Monck. Yes, Cromwell and Monck. First, the author's theorem number one seemed suspiciously harebrained to me at first and then was pretty quickly dismissed for internal inconsistencies. Thus there stood revealed to me the New Model and Protectorate curiosities of Cromwell and Monck that stood prepared and waiting for me in the author's promising theorem number two.

Sometimes I fantasize that we're only ever chasing some one mysterious person who went about this area at some long time ago, before some war or after some other, some mysterious person who first crafted all these particularly interesting books that we find, then went about carefully positioning each and every of these interesting books that we find. There is some mysterious person, long ago in a different time zone, who has left us this trail of wonderful things to read. Nowadays I'm fantasizing it is you and I don't even understand this metaphor.

Oh, wait. I shouldn't skip ahead to theorem two already. Since I am writing this for your pleasure, and lieu of better pleasures I would rather give, I shall shove in this chunk of nonsense that I think you may enjoy.

The author's theorem number one. Perhaps not so uninteresting as I thought at first. You see, mainly the author postulates a fact that I don't know, saying that really the U.S. military tradition is an Ancient Roman-ish traditional ideal, an ideal that the national army is really the diffuse body of armed citizens, the citizen soldiers, the populace who will rise when called and pull on their arms and armor for the nation's service, and meanwhile put down all sundry rebellions, even putting down rebellions by those who are in power.

Of course it is impossible to satisfactorily separate ancient propaganda from ancient fact, especially since this is supposedly a psychological or fictional fact that the author is postulating there. Postulated: A country's actual “national army”, which is an imaginary sort of container meant to contain further containers like patriotism and every male virtue – is instead something else which also does not exist – a citizenry who can throw on and off the butcher's apron of those who do military carnage and yet they can remain good citizens. Once you look at it, one does not know what to think is even meant by this nonsense. But perhaps this national confusion is itself a thing to notice. So much for that! Good riddance.

The United States Army, poor army, besieged by propaganda nonsense constantly. Imagine how many useless battles there must be, when war is completely and entirely nonsense, and so of course your generals are all stupid, and yet the battles do not cease.

Darling, why can't you just come here and fuck me? Do you really think anyone here would stop you? Or stop me? Do you think anyone here would interrupt us? My lady's maid would tap softly at the door, with Uncle's butler hiding just around the corner for advice. Are you afraid of spies?? Do you think our reputations would suffer? HAHAHA Who would conceivably interrupt us or complain? No one here or near anyplace here would interrupt or complain, or hinder any way, I promise dear and I pledge my life to you for that. Would you become an outlaw where you live? Who cares???? No darling, I didn't mean that.

It's just, do you know what would happen here, if you just came here and fucked me, then next night I went and fucked you? They would resuscitate an ancient myth!!! That's how the Queen of Sheba welcomed Solomon! No shit!!!@!!! We would have to hang up the stained sheets for photos to be taken of course. You would need to find lodging somehow naturally, or bunk in with one of my cousins here and we'd go back and forth across town to do the fucking. You should be in town by interesting circumstances somehow. Or else fuck in public. Yes, would you enjoy that? It doesn't have to be one single time. There could be half a dozen holidays for that, but only the first few months I think. Or when can I go there and fuck you, my choice of costumes and everything? We could play Cleopatra coming to Anthony. There is a delightful fishing scene in that. I think someone even wrote a nice theater script for that fishing scene. Have you read it?

Or else, my dear, actually I could run away and find a husband who is not you, but none of the other secret inquiries that I've received has been half so bright and handsome as yourself, not half so. And all of those other secret inquiries that I've received have gone unanswered, all but yours. And there you know the only secret that I've kept from you.

My darling, why did you go for a soldier? But that is a question that I said I would not ask you, and now so here is, I think, our first broken promise. So I will not ask you that again.

As I understand it, Charles Darwin's great achievement was to create materials and examples for people who wish to direct their thinking toward the nature of reality, by showing how they could accurately think about one of the most obvious and puzzling irruptions – an irruption of their own underlying reality – into the consciousness of their sub-sector of the continuum. Obviously, this was a great achievement in its time and remains so now, when I am writing this. I am a child of Darwin.

I have good reason for mentioning this. First, I reasonably believe that you and I could have splendid children. I even think it not too extremely unreasonable of me to dream that someday there could be a nation of human beings somewhere, a happy nation, who claim to be descended from our fucking. That is, in fact my guiding dream. I hope you don't disagree too much with this.

And second, I mention Darwin because I have a good idea, perhaps even actually a first step in that plan. If I may even say my dream yet is a plan.

We must learn how to end war, you and I, and declare a kingdom of some kind.

Oh, Cromwell and Monck! Wretched men. The United States Army is their army, I believe, but I believe they can teach us much with it. After all, we have a book they metaphorically wrote, a book titled “U.S. Army”. I believe you and I together, dear, we can do this. I dare to dream we can bring peace to this world by education.

I call you Lord and I am Lady. Come to me secretly, masquerading as your secret messenger. He knows the way. Come by surprise. My sworn guard already knows to let you through.

{ …the main box is still running… }
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Published on May 04, 2018 05:26

April 26, 2018

The Signaling Problem

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The Signaling Problem … (bomb resistance)

This is a professional technical position paper (I am sitting in a chair) offering you some reasoning and ideas, even some strategies and proposals, in a disjointed form struggling for dignity. My apologies for the quick informal novelistic writing. (I am a novelist and poet.) This is being written near Worcester Massachusetts in the seventeenth month of Donald Trump's reign as U.S. President. The particular subject of this paper's reasoning and ideas etc. is this: How can we use the world­wide web, like it is now, for reliable signaling in the particular resistance movement that our small committee here is trying to muster, and between us and the whole wide world? In particular, can the soaring onset of Occupy be replicated?

My nom de guerre is hiredwriter.

… Our Current Situation …

All the means we have for communicating on the worldwide web are thoroughly penetrated by our remorseless but disorganized and shortsighted opponents. According to a current tag line that all techs now say, there is no web security but only various levels of insecurity. However, in fact, by now there are no longer even levels of insecurity, for data anywhere on the web can now be bought if your banker will send the requested payment to the appropriate app's shopping cart window. Furthermore, the current maze of software apps makes the technology of the apps impossible to master. Your hard won programming expertise dissolves like morning mist the instant when the owners issue a large software update. Some of our information specialists choose that route anyway, building special versions of one app or another to better fit the needs of activists, even while they know they are building a raft of cards to float on turbulent water. In software engineering terms, the web landscape is grotesquely overgrown with structures of random noise. I.e. No one has ever cleaned the cat box.

So how can people in our movement do reliable signaling on the web? By plucking spider threads somehow?

… A Scheme For Thinking About This …

Okay, so I've worked a few decades doing software engineering, which is applied information theory. Besides that, I have been awarded a U.S. Army Cold War Good Conduct Medal, which included my service in that army's Signals Corps as a senior private in a platoon in the field in West Germany where I also finally did a month in U.S. Army jail for Vietnam War resistance actions. (Things look different from the top of a telephone pole.) And over the years while I've been watching the web fall into its current state of chaotic thrashing, I have also been trying to think about the whole thing in information terms.

Here's the strongest reasoning that I've stumbled on so far: You must study the long history of the worldwide web – study it way back far in time to the days of Marco Polo and the globe spanning Great Sailing Fleets of China, in the wide trade zone over there where pepper corns were money – a trading zone of very many countries arrayed half way round the world's largest ocean – and on eastward through North America by foot – yes, I suggest you study the worldwide web that far back at least if you are able to – back to those years when the pepper money zone was bustling and the hick poor cousin European shippers (in all their frail little fishing boats) – being very far from the world's great ocean – those puny European shippers were in sore danger of getting fleeced by the great Chinese pepper financiers – and in that distant worldwide signaling landscape (for in our view that is a signaling landscape) I suggest you start looking for your historical precedents there, or as far back as you can.

That is my suggested strategy for you in whatever signaling emergency you have: I call it the 'Learn From Historic Precedent' strategy. What you do is (1st) obtain and don an Information Specialist hat and Information Specialist eyeglasses. That's my strategy's step one. Then (2nd) do this: Scan all of world history looking for other situations that look like your situation, while you are wearing your Information Specialist eyeglasses and hat. Then (3rd) start discussing actions on that information. People in those times had similar needs to ours and we ought to examine their solutions.

And, obviously, also I can suggest a few particular historic precedents with hopes they might possibly help you in your discussions.

But how on Earth can I suggest historic precedents for you? Who are you? I don't know. So therefore, of course, I'm going to trust intuition. Below are listed a few mental images from the worldwide web's history that have looked extremely large to me in recent times, historic mental images that have nowadays, to me, seemed full of realistic power. I pass along to you my blessing for good fortune with this little bit of fortunetelling.

Random Precedent 1 … Transoceanic radio Morse distress calls in sinking of ship Titanic.

Random Precedent 2 … Day's publishing of Catholic Worker issue 1, financed by pennies.

Random Precedent 3 … Lincoln's War Department telegraph office in U.S. Civil War.

Random Precedent 4 … Murrow's 'London Calling' radio show amid the London Blitz.

Random Precedent 5 … Vietnam War combat news photos next day in U.S. newspapers.

Random Precedent 6 … Women's rally cry 'bread and roses' in U.S. Labor War.

And I mean you should keep this in mind: People in those times had needs similar to ours and we ought to examine their solutions.

If you're curious, sometime we might get together and discuss whatever logic there is in choosing those historic precedents, or we can discuss whatever logic there may be anywhere in this paper, but for now I'm glossing over that and lots of other details.

… Concepts For Our Solutions …

Our Signals Concept #1 … Let's write a little bit like robots. Put our most important and universal coding into partly-human language stuck in among our human readable material. For example: I have invented our new movement's catchword name BOMB RESISTANCE. Anyone can type this catchword equally well into any text channel of social media and the code will be readable on the other end. Furthermore, everyone can easily invent slight variations – like Bomb Resistance or (bomb resistance) or #bombresistance or Mybombresistance17 – to fit some detail of their immediate situation, and yet still remain legible in general to others. Because text is a wide low-level band of human natural communication.

Our Signals Concept #2 … Nail up a board with words carved on it. Post something new – I'm calling this new kind of thing a 'grand hailing stone' – posting a few of these inert robot things here and there around the worldwide web's signaling landscape, with each of these 'grand hailing stones' being only a block of human readable text saying who we are and how the visitor can enter our conversation. (I considered calling these new things 'rosetta stones' instead.) Each so-called hailing stone would be a brief text block, all of ours with the same content, all of ours with web address names that are meaningful riffs on our movement's catchword name. But we have, for example, one in English on Facebook, and/or one in Spanish on Google Cloud, and/or one in Arabic on Twitter, and/or etc. etc. Post them here and there around the worldwide web's signaling landscape. Then anyone anywhere can point to one for other people to look at. These things would be easily hacked or blocked but also easily repaired and replaced and replicated.

Our Signals Concept #3 … Go hang out with people, share smokes, and make friends. Do we know which social media app the Native American movement is currently using most? (Right now, I hear that they are using Facebook predominantly, and for good reason.) What channel are Veterans For Peace members largely using? How about Code Pink members? BLM? Palestine? If we want to cooperate with those movements, we ought to know where they chat. If we know that, then we can post selected bits of our stuff in their publicly available channels that appear to have heavy traffic. We can do that repeatedly as their courtesy may allow. We can just say hello – and concisely explain ourselves, and explain what we'd like to coop on – to everybody who is there and happens to see our bits of stuff. I'm calling this the 'Marco Polo' strategy, named for the famous merchant adventurer.

Our Signals Concept #4 … In our reality, the wide bottom band of every possible communication channel is our reality itself. That's a Law Of Nature here. For example, because of that, human robbed youth worldwide have just now recently declared a single movement. Have you noticed this yet? All the robbed youth of the world have just now recently realized themselves to be a single movement full of astonishing, intricate, and genius beauty. Have you realized this yet? I know you've heard it BECAUSE IT'S IN THEIR MUSIC that they tell us they are one. Okay? Plus, their communication is by being present and existent with your human nature in its open position. So reality is the wide bottom band of all communication channels.

But now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, if I may speak Officially as your Captain during our little journey through this essay, I Must now ask you to find your Reality Selector Switch somewhere on your equipment. Yes, that is what I said and yes, I mean it. Yes, you have a Reality Selector Switch, if you are a human being, but of course, obviously, I don't know where you've put it on your equipment. You, reading this, you – thank you – You don't think you have a Reality Selector Switch do you? Please find it now anyway.

It might be any kind of multi-option rotary selection device, but you always operate them with your thumbs and fingers. Are you believing this at all? The incidents of your life have probably given it some familiar appearance. Well, actually, don't worry. Please don't worry. Some of you are really quite totally unfamiliar with reality selector technology at all, because many of you always are. So now you're in luck. Because I'm now Required to read this brief review for those of you who are only now waking up and looking around on this trip. Okay? I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

If you are a human being, rich or poor, young or old, inverted or obverted, real or someone's alternate personality, regardless of your immigration status or your lingering military conquest status, if you are a human being you have a Reality Selector Switch, sometimes even with a kind of little poly-choice dropdown menu on it. Have you gotten to a point yet where you realize this is a pretty well honed metaphor? Do you see some meaning in this yet? (I don't know what meaning you might see.) But if you are reading this position paper then you are probably an information specialist of some kind, so let's proceed as though you do.

So the point of this interruption in this essay is that you should now try to do the rather zen yoga act of finding your Reality Selector Switch before this essay lurches forward. Right now, if you're groping for it, please don't keep your hands and arms inside the car window. I said please do not. And now we have determined to pretend that you have found it! Very good! So, look at your Reality Selector Switch to see what is its current setting is. Pretend you've done that. Probably your switch's current setting is one of two things, either says 'science fiction' (because this interruption is a piece of science fiction writing) or probably it says maybe 'worldwide web' because that's where we were before this interruption. (Or maybe yours is stuck on 'U.S. Army'.)

Whatever. But now please do this: Use your real or imaginary fingers and/or thumbs to desperately search for the selector option choice that says 'UNIVERSAL WEB'. And let's pretend you've changed your reality setting to that. So now please slowly open your eyes and look around. Are you okay?

Our Signals Concept #5 … Our best writers should make straight-up truth propaganda for which the novelistic sci-fi paragraphs above are a demonstration sketch.

And finally Our Ultimate Signals Concept #6 … Let's assume quantum physics is real and so all the natural powers of Mind that human beings have always been reliably familiar with are true enough for practical use. Why not? Any objection to doing this, accepting that the natural powers of Mind are real enough for practical use? Any objection to us doing that? I don't see any reasonable objection. I must however give you expert notice that doing this hooks into the vast history of human magic and religion as well as science.

End of current signal.
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Published on April 26, 2018 08:40 Tags: bomb-resistance, occupy, occupy-movement

March 24, 2018

New War Story

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New War Story
{ first-posted on 03-24-2018 by staffprojectionist loop-now 03-24-2018 }
Fine! So this episode is labeled on its digital packaging like this: “First of the Brighter episodes – Surprising Book And Film Reviews” so please, if you remember what that means please let us know. Personally, I'm only saying it was worth it. We freaking won, you old cunt chasing bastard (labeled divino), we freaking won. And it was worth every goddam bit of every thing we freaking fucking did because it was freaking GOOD so it was therefore worth it. By Fuck! Let us know if you can contribute in any way at all to the community discussion that we expect this episode will provoke.

Shall I start the episode?

I have a new Viet Nam War story now that I did not have just three hours ago when I was doing nothing else but innocently setting out in my car for the grocery store. Yes, this is true.

There was an old freaking bastard, right there at the grocery store, at their front public door, old bastard taking signatures for a whole fucking bag full of fucking petitions, on the large hard clipboards. Now this bastard is exactly my race, exactly, right up to the insignia featured on his excessively embroidered baseball cap, on his cap up there, a military cap insignia that I could freaking read if he would freaking stand still, the shit. Although I did not recognize the 3 digit number at the visual center of the cap insignia, the rest of it, wild embroidery and all, was plain as day to me entirely. This pissed me off. I don't see any of us old bastards around here much.

We were on different sides in that war, this fuck shit bastard, he and I, but no hard feelings huh? My side won that time so fuck you huh?

But wait, does this make any sense to you at all? I thought I could talk freely here. Do you even fucking know what I'm fucking talking about, you shit head? You reading. You. Fuck off. Fucking Viet Nam Fuck War Fuck Veteran. Old Fucking Soldier Fuck. Fuck off. Which side were you on?

Now look, this asshole at the grocery store could have been me under completely different circumstances. Definitely. I'm sorry if this here what I'm writing now is hard for you, sir, to understand where you are, sir. Fuck off.

This man was not me, perhaps, or certainly not, but I was beginning to suspect I would tell this man he is my brother within the next few succeeding minutes. It was as if I had seen him before and it is actually possible that perhaps I have, although unlikely. He may be the very person whom I met on a summer day of great beauty, after our war, in Common's Garden in Boston, long ago, on a high stone footbridge at the center of that garden's elements. It was a kind of human male dance we did that time. (You can find this poem story in my Big Book near the end, if you have it.) It was as if I had met this fellow man before and instantly recognized him then, when we met before, at the beginning of the current period of this life, and I was instantly struggling to remember more about him now, and about our other brother who was killed. He even quickly slipped into his Modern Texan voice accent as I was slipping into mine.

So this asshole's story is unique. It is fucking unique. You will not believe me now, as I'm saying this, but this guy “guarded all the gold in Fort Knox” as his assigned duty in the Viet Nam War. I can tell you, his tone of voice was absolutely dead true convincing and I think it is true. And he actually put it to me in those words, his voice like it is the kind of thing he says a lot. “I guarded all the gold in Fort Knox.” I call him an asshole, because he is, him standing there with a whole shoulder bag full of petition clip boards, and every one of those fucking petitions being a petition for some different local unknown fascist fuck jerk politician to run here for local office here. I had asked and he had told me this, explaining the shoulder bag of petitions, at the very start of our conversation. Asshole.

To explain myself to you, it's like this. I see this old fucking bastard with his military veteran's souvenir hat, a fucking souvenir hat, the kind of hat that is a souvenir of your own regiment where you served, and shit like that, one of those military veteran hats, and I can fucking read it. So I come up on him from the side, while he's looking at something else far away, looking out across the busy New England parking lot somewhere, and I says “You've got petitions?” And he shouts “Yes!” Asshole.

So he explains it to me in a jovial kind of way – his bag full of fascist politicians – a lightly comic, imitation self-sardonic, offhand sales talk by a person who is a good public speaker, but is now genuinely speaking to me off the cuff and interested in my reply. (A good Druid riddle contest opening move.) And I call him an asshole, to which he has actually no reply. Yet he is still seriously interested in hearing me. So I am suddenly thinking maybe he has just been performing his sales talk for me to see, for me to see what he is doing nowadays, as if perhaps he does remember that previous meeting after all. Or perhaps he is displaying his moral wound for me to see, from his Fort Knox service.

I don't give a shit. Fuck him. Greedy bastard. To explain myself, a second time to you

…the main box is not on.thank you.here it comes…

Being quiet when you're told to listen, that was the fatal failure of the fucking fascists. And speaking boldly, talking up while standing in formation, saying what the fuck is on your mind, that was the whole main strategy of we who defeated them. I have processed my memories of this life more fully than I had then, in the preceding paragraph of this essay, and I now endorse the sexual component of our current general understanding about the fascists. They did not know how to fuck. We are correct in thinking that fascism, as we experienced it our time, was primarily a sexual deviation. Hitler was (in actual fact) an artist, which was (in actual fact) a key component of his nature piu Hitler's three big essays in fascism piu Hitler's military campaign, which conquered much of the world piu or Hitler's political campaign, in its own time as big as the Marxist campaign piu or Hitler's book (for I have studied it since then, and I can tell you) Hitler somehow produced one of the books that must be examined by every serious scholar. piu and so Hitler's sexual obsession was artistic: he really really wanted you to listen to him. And he really enjoyed making you shut up and listen to him, happy to make you enjoy shutting up and listening to him, happy to force you by any cunning means that might be in his hands. The most typical moment of Hitler's life can perhaps be pinpointed, I guess, and my guess for it is this: Night, inside a really nasty cheap apartment but somebody's somehow procured and dragged in a professional paleo-video box, a big wooden box in the little apartment's tiny dining room, maybe the floor is sagging, the tiny dining room table tossed away out in the stairway hall, and the pictures are being shown on the dining room ceiling. Got the picture? So there's Hitler, the true war veteran still got his favorite army hat still shoved on his head, wearing shirt and suspenders and horse riding pants, barefoot, standing too close to the projection machine so the moving pictures are all wrapped around him and his waving arms and wrapped around the tiny apartment's tiny dining room's ceiling and walls, and strangely inter-wrapping with the pattern of the thick cheap drapes that hide this apartment from its dirty window, and the moving pictures flashing in the party goers' eyes. Someone is singing something with a standard German triumphal march air while the moving pictures warp and woof and the party's celebrants have all somehow shoved in around him, every one, the singing voice from a paleo-audio box in the other room, but every one of the party goers are crowded in around him ever since the light in the machine was switched on, and they are speechless wide eyed staring and they are reverentially silent while he tells the story of that bright day, full of pictures and flashing gestures. Hitler is trying to yell over the music without yelling so loud as to be understood by the police battalion, out in the city night, who surround this cheap apartment. In fact, this drunken party has degenerated from a formal debriefing of the inner circle that was supposed to happen, this is the party's inner circle dans deshabille, and this is the night after their party's triumphal march where Hitler has been brought from city jail, a triumphal march where Hitler has ridden like a cavalry officer in an actual calvary command car, him who was a few years previous a stinking senior private in a stinking field, that day triumphantly returning from city jail to the party's headquarters. This dirty apartment is the upstairs back of the party headquarters, a tenement building, and tonight is the inner circle's victory party night. In my opinion, that is the best candidate we have for Hitler's most typical moment. So I am endorsing this, our current general understanding of Hitler as a degenerate artist. And from that we also learn a key thing about fascism: When we obviously accept that art is a gift from goddesses, we can then say fascism is one of the actual sexual deviations.

…the main box is still sending…

Being quiet when you're told to listen, that was the fatal failure of the fucking fascists. And our only strategy – really our only weapon, and the weapon which defeated it – you understand I am speaking of the Vietnam War era – was to fucking say what's on your fucking mind. I mean, fuck them.

Yes, I was a 60's radical, and I am still, even after all this study. That person whom I was is still me. Praise hemp! Praise mighty good weed hemp, the bringer of strength and courage!

Should I replace the story that you're reading – my trip to the grocery store, so many years ago, with my fellow military veteran appearing, and I'll only tell the gist of that – or else I just shut up and let you read it? Or should I explain myself to you a little more? Is that okay? I hope it is.

Not being quiet when you're told to listen, that tactic summoned victory to me, in my tiny effort in the tiny place where my main active duty service in the Viet Nam War Resistance happened, in the active duty barracks with the windows flung open all summer, talking in those little trucks, in our winter tents, the barracks' old steam heat all winter, those cold days in a team in a tiny shed talking music for a winter week. What was my winning tactic in my small corner of our winning struggle? We, the active duty members of the Viet Nam War Resistance, even we of us who were half way around the world, we won that war inside America, yes inside the Pentagon. And we did it by essentially shouting “Fuck You Sir!” and telling each other the truth, evading jail when possible, and killing only when in self-defense.

I was almost four years deep in active duty, more than two years at a minimum remaining, when I finally found a good ground of struggle, and finally woke into it as though I were bursting from an acorn shell, a moment when I was a senior private and my battalion was full of shocked grief for a man's battlefield death. The battlefield was far distant from us. I personally, a good friend and coworker of the deceased, like him a senior private, went insane with grief and started talking truth, talking up in formation and talking among the privates too, and abstaining in my grief from weed's consolations, and would not stop and finally was jailed for a month then honorably discharged from U.S. Army again – for the second time – almost on time. Picking me up from their jail, shortly before my second honorable discharge, one of our battalion's sergeants and his corporeal picked me up from army jail in a little truck and they thanked me. Fuck them.

I had re-enlisted for the struggle. I am the only person whom I know who did that purposely and consciously. I reenlisted for 3 more years of active U.S. Army because I was honorably discharged from my first 3 years, Martin Luther King was killed, I got Malcolm X's book and ate it, I searched for the resistance out where I was in the street and did not find it there, and so I reenlisted to go find the resistance where it was. I was an infantry rifleman among other classifications. Reasonably, I expected to go participate in the siege of deadly battlefield mutinies that was beginning when I reenlisted for 3 more years. But I was brought to one of the Cold War stalemate lines instead. There I befriended the man who was soon sent away to Viet Nam and promptly killed in battle, awaking me, his friend. So 6 years and 30 days I served on active duty.

…the main box is running… SRiley(C)2018
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Published on March 24, 2018 15:24 Tags: surprising-book-and-film-reviews

Advertising Campaign Idea

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Advertising Campaign Idea

This is directed to the Workers of the beautiful cannabis dispensary I visited last week. If your board of directors is composed of Workers, I respectfully suggest that you also tag this for your board of directors to see. If you post this on your bulletin board and send me a photograph, I will personally come around and kiss somebody on the cheek at your location, and you can take photographs of that, but maybe not.

Look, I'm not going to bother you here with the usual shit-stupid running joke “Good Idea” which I am typing into the other episodes of this essay series. (This essay series – this one here that you are reading – yes, this one you are reading now – is called the “Surprising Book And Film Reviews” essay series, in the top of which I always have a dumb running joke, a dumb joke at the front, a Sethian science fiction joke, in case that word means any­thing to you.) I'm not typing in that stuff here just because I know you are going to like this material that I'm presenting here instead of that, perhaps, so do please enjoy.

In other words, Do please continue watching this episode. Thank you.

You see the title of this episode? Well, my idea might surprise you, my big idea. I want to advertise dope. Yes, I want to advertise dope (in this series of essays, “dope” is always taken to mean “good weed hemp” as defined in the ancient Roman herbals) as an actual art project, an art project about how to advertise dope, an “official” resistance training film about how to advertise dope or some other subject, a tutorial, with a website and all of that web back-up shit which I am quite familiar with, by the way. Maybe gardening. Even a logo. Maybe we start the campaign with an earnest but humorous 10-minute public service video about weed that is filmed on the premises of your business, cheaply made, and cancel the campaign immediately if that doesn't work out. That is my idea, my big idea. It could be low- or high-budget.

You understand, I am a leftie experimental artist here in this region – and I am the most radically competent Socialist experimental artist this fine New England region has to offer, this same fine New England region where your fine hemp-related company has recently opened shop. I understand that you folks in your fine company would produce and direct and do all of the other shit in this advertising campaign, except that I am the “Managing Artist” in this advertising campaign, whatever the fuck that title means. And I would actually get paid by you for doing this. And this is currently the only big idea that I am offering.

I am a professional New England leftie experimental artist. Professional because I have earned the entirety of $100 dollars in my long and impressive career doing this – dissenting from the Liberal establishment who govern tightly here – and I have the paperwork to prove it. I won that paper check for $100 as the best (and only) piece of sculpture in an annual city sponsored show, won the prize for one of my few good pieces that is a sculpture, which I had entered beside a truly decent painting that was routinely ignored again, like all my other paintings are routinely ignored here, and I was even a dues paying member of that state sponsored gallery, won this $100 state sponsored prize because that was the only piece of sculpture entered for the state sponsored annual show. And I have the paperwork about this, which I am considering varnishing to a wooden box, along with my Vietnam Era U.S. Army court martial papers.

“Drone Strike In North Waziristan” – my best anti-war painting, painted as part of the Occupy Movement – had its world premiere showing at a weekly church basement meeting of the Worcester Unemployment Action Group in the spring following Occupy. (This is documented by a photograph on the painting's website which you can probably find by web searching for the painting's name.) I have formed a practice of showing that painting along with an anti-war artist talk. The first of those artist talks was given for my fellow WUAG members at that church basement meeting, who evinced a lively interest, and I have also done that artist talk / plus picture showing at pro-human political events as far away as Washington DC and Syracuse.

I am the best and most competent New England artist who can make this impressive boast: “I can walk into any art gallery that is in business in New England and be unknown to every person there.” And yet I have a thin steady following both regionally and worldwide.

Are you interested in my idea to make a mega-hip artistic New England advertising campaign for “good weed hemp” as the ancient Romans supposedly called marijuana? (Endorsed by Ancient Romans!) I am mega-pro-human myself, and I would be the project's “Managing Artist” and you would pay me but selection of the political hipness level of the content of the advertising campaign (I mean precisely that), is maybe up to you. And I also think it would be best for this advertising campaign to be decently fair to all of your competitors.

But you control everything else about the project, and you will be personally solicited by me for your personal labor on this project, and many different skills might be needed. This request for consideration is directed to the Workers of your good company, you fine crew of Workers who have recently opened shop here in our beautiful region, a beautiful shop that I enjoyed visiting last week.

One key aspect of my visit: All of you Workers there listened to me. Me the Patient. You even listened to my impromptu training exercise that I put your cashier through invol­un­tarily. (Training about accessibility for visually impaired patients.) Yes, even that was respectfully and efficiently received at your store: The brief impromptu expert training session I involuntarily administered to your cashier in your bulletproof booth who controls your entry door; yes! even that was well received. This is especially beautiful because your cashier and I seem to share a solid street-conscious style of doing courteous and efficient first-hand business. (I'm from Eastside Houston.) Your cashier is a fine man by everything I saw of him. Then also two others of you good human beings took a very competent interest in my medical care, and then a very kind interest in a bit of divination blessing that I did when leaving. It was a lovely visit. Do you even offer tea?

Are you interested in my idea to make a mega-artistic New England advertising campaign together with your company? High- or low-budget, mostly made pro-amateur. Yes, I know you are California people and these will be largely New England ideas that are presented. There will be many weather jokes. I definitely know this.

But this is New England here where we are now and I have come to know this place pretty well. I got here many years before you, chasing a skirt. I think the central unifying string of this campaign could be perhaps a mock lecture – also genuinely pedagogical – about various facets of weed, its history and culture and chemistry and so forth, what it's like to be (like me) a patient in the state system, maybe alchemy if requested by the audience, and plus the Ancient Roman gag. Plus a big bouquet of supporting material. Artistically managed by the very same writer who is writing this letter you are reading now. Are you folks interested in this?

Bright wishes always, Stone Riley.

…the main box is running… SRiley(C)2018
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Published on March 24, 2018 13:38 Tags: surprising-book-and-film-reviews

March 18, 2018

The Seth Material

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The Seth Material

{ first-posted on 03-18-2018 by hiredwriter loop-now 03-18-2018 }
Great!
So this is provisionally number eight in our series of essays called “Surprising Book And Film Reviews”.
I must report a slight disruption. The number designations of these essays are undergoing reconsideration and have – in fact – become entirely provisional. I realize I could apologize for that, but on the other hand it does logically follow that you can consider this episode to be an advance copy.

So, what is Seth?

Not a day goes by but somebody comes up to me on the street and says, “Hey you, person on the street, what is the Seth Material?” And I will always say to them, “It's science fiction! That's what it is, science fiction!” Except it has a plot twist claiming it is true. So is this advertisement a “cult” like some others that also make the same old tired claim? I could frame up a brief argument pointing either way on that and even quote a variety of Testaments for you. But actually I'm saying the Seth Material is a science fiction literary cult.

“We live in a science fiction universe.” “Science fiction tells the truth.” If I may sum it up in one or two representative phrases, and of course using popular culture terminology, that is the central message at the core of this voluminous science fiction material penned in upstate New York, with much desiderata, and people take it seriously. I mean, compare it to the dreary options in this category. The Seth Material; it is a popular culture literary cult with websites and fans and free downloads by the ton, including free videos – mostly of the fandom type but also free rare original videos – all of it fan driven, probably up to and including fan conventions with fan-made fun costumes now and then. I would not be surprised by that at all. But it is a popular culture science fiction literary cult which embraces mystery in the sense of the Ancient Greek Mysteries which also claimed to be true. That is my carefully considered opinion and I am an expert in this field.

I am also, specifically, a student, and maybe a junior scholar, of the Seth Material, a set of unusual books and much supporting bulk that has reached us through American popular culture in the 1970's and 1980's.

The Seth Material. Among its treasure heap of supporting bulk (which is perhaps metaphorically heaped behind some treasury bulkhead, with the treasury imagined as lying prone as though perhaps a sleeping god or a robot dragon) there lies a kind of anthropology field observation film, if you piece it together, a few scant fragments of paleo-tech original video with a kind of fine grained significance for the history of modern ideas, something in advance of Muybridge in my considered opinion, and a separate heap of expertly scribed unique voluminous notes observed first hand, notes from a very lengthy psychic phenomenon intersecting with ours, a heap of rigorous notes which may rival even the famous Library of Paracelsus – a great anti-fascist pharmacist suspected of Pythagoreanism – if that famous collection of working notes is ever found. Their original archive and temple was open Wednesday evenings, a cheap apartment in the small city of Elmira, New York.

The Seth Material. Books and supporting bulk produced by Lady Jane Roberts {pagan-title} and a small group of friends in the 1970's and 80's, with one friend named Seth – a non-god teacher – working from its home in a distant sector of the continuum. They had no particular god. They saw, instead, Creativity as titanic beyond all gods. And they were optimists. We Sethians are supposed to be optimists.

The Seth Material. That was Upstate New York, Lady Jane Roberts was previously a science fiction writer, therefore they are Spiritualist books for a new generation. And you can cite me as your authority on this syllogism.

The Seth Material. Let me try a metaphor. In this metaphor let's say Ursula K. Le Guin and Albert Einstein, between them, will symbolize all of the world's most intelligent science fiction writers. Einstein because we recognize his famous thought experiment of riding on a light beam to be a very excellent fiction and it won a major prize. Le Guin for her understanding of our human lives. Then let's say together they have a love child. From there we want to devise some denouement where our two symbols of the world's most intelligent science fiction writers (we are dragging in communicative scientists too) somehow debouch a universe that turns out to be the universe which us human beings actually live in, and also is the universe of the Seth Material. Let's say it is a one volume novel. Here's a promising thought: There are many ancient Chinese stories were the infant – always a product of some transcendent love – leaps from the womb spouting pro-human philosophy and becomes a hero. But this won't do. The Seth Material is a story about a titan – a being worthy of poet Blake! – the titan Creativity in all its infinite forms, so it is not a tale of deities and heroes really, to any large extent. That stuff all spreads around instead. So this metaphor will not do. Ignore this paragraph.

But please let me try again. I think we need something familiar to the reader that can symbolize titanic Creativity. Are you with me? Metaphor #2: Ursula K. Le Guin and Albert Einstein making love, somewhere in a jungle cave perhaps, or in a rude stone cabin high among high mountains, or lying in each other's human arms in a breezy canvas tent on a rocky ocean shore with clouds billowing above, where that high mountain range comes down to water. Albert Einstein and Ursula K. Le Guin making love, sharing their human bodies, maybe on the canvas cot in that breezy canvas tent, or where the wind outside moans around their mountain cabin, or else in that jungle cave where there has to be an ancient bed of blooming parts from some famous herbal plant of immortality, or else a grassy woven bed that has been waiting there in that jungle cave since first used in the intercourse of ancient peoples. Ursula K. Le Guin and Albert Einstein making love, gasping lips to gasping lips and pressing thighs, wild in passion, young together in strength yet somehow old in soul and mind alike, the wisest of the wise, a Couple Creating human love. And for discussion let's suppose their mutual climactic frenzy is somehow the universe which us human beings actually live in, and also is the universe of the Seth Material.

There is lots of good source material available for research. Re the ancient Chinese stories mentioned above, for which I suggest Professor Joseph Campbell's fine book “Creative Mythology: The Masks of God” which I have in its 1970's popular Penguin edition from New York, a popular edition which went through 8 reprintings in 7 years, a paperback book which is quite compact and yet still, admirably, a quarter of a foot thick. It is a must for aspiring Pagan intellectuals just as the title would suggest. This paperback's front cover has a fantastic Southwestern Native American design motif but then also, somehow, a wonderful Chagall painting that has always looked beautiful to me. Now you can find it conveniently located in many third-hand miscellany stores. A popular book.

The Seth Material. Here's a funny story. I once portrayed the Roberts-Seth party in a novel as a lightly comic trans-time travel party of Pythagoreans in Ancient Greece, attending the Great Rites of Eleusis in a certain selected year, the year selected by their calculation, and with the two portrayed as married lovers, and she their party's mathe­matician / navigator. (They were supporting characters in that novel, with a fantasy version of myself playing lead.) How did this come about? You see, I have a poor excuse.

Puck did it. Puck made me put the Seth-Roberts party in that novel, and as a time-traveling troupe of Pythagoreans. Puck, being Shakespeare's supreme Ancient Greek god of wild mischief, and always in a jolly mood – and therefore previously called by me for help with planning the novel's story – Puck put that ridiculous idea in my brain, and also me as male romantic lead. But there was more to it.

You see, a decade or more before that novel, my plan to study the mysticism of the Ancient Greeks had been diverted by Joseph Campbell toward an intervening period instead, diverted especially by some of the drawings in those thick 1970's popular paper­backs of his mentioned above. I even left off studying Campbell for this lead he gave me into the intervening period of European classic Occult literature. I even set aside my itching curiosity about the Seth books, which were coming out new in that time, in order to broach an entry into European classic Occult literature, lured by some of Campbell's pictures, and on that rich ground I would meet again with one of my all time favorite thinkers Carl Jung. However, I had at least cast long glances into the Seth Material before I turned away, making the lame excuse that the Seth Material might not be interesting after all. Each succeeding Seth book, each publishing, lit my attention dimly like a far off street light outside a door.

The European classic Occult thinkers kept busy reconciling several sources in their time, but mainly they were Greek de­scendants and largely Pythagorean. I think the European classic Occult literature provides the best extant fragmentary and suggestive evidence for what Pythagoreanism probably was, it being – in its own preceding time – the most mysterious of the Greek Mystery doctrines. And it must be added that Campbell provides examples leading to this opinion, and states this opinion explicitly from a different view­point.

And my novel was planned to be a post-modern science fiction story set in Ancient Greece, a romance, a complicated love affair, set amid a great festival parade on a pilgrim road to a very famous temple, with sexual intercourse, with one of my favorite deities scheduled to appear, supposedly set in a year that is con­junct with our own continuum sub-sector now somehow, through an astronomical or numerological or geographic phenom­enon that is vaguely sketched somehow, and with the writer as the guy who gets the girl. “It needs some gravitas,” I thought.

Just then, in our continuum sector, I married a lady who treasured the Roberts-Seth books as a portable guide to life, the universe and every­thing. So with the lady's tutelage, I rediscovered mystery and found delight. Because it turns out that the Seth-Roberts books (while framing everything with the current body of popular metaphor and terminology) somehow – by way of unknown logic – closely recapitulate the European classic Occult litera­ture but all neatly summed up. Thus pro­bably I think, Pythagoreans! Arrived in popular culture! A big success! I was delighted with this startling trans-time magic trick! Plus, Puck said it was a good idea, so that's how they went into my novel.

The Seth Material. What were we talking about? Quan­tum physics! (Einstein finally agreed with quantum physics after leading a valiant resistance to it, earning several new degrees.) Was it data structures for the Seth Material? Or did I just now make that up?

But isn't this whole effort at analytical apologia only like after you eat an apple from the mythic Tree Of Knowledge? Like that myth says, isn't Knowledge (maybe same as Information?) a titanic force beyond the power – thus maybe behind the view­point – of any god or me? Like the Roberts-Seth party say Creativity is? Or like those same two, fictionalized, in my Greek novel, where they're on an amazing ten year honeymoon and busy making the logical case for titanic Love.

What am I talking about? You may well ask. Have I said enough?
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Published on March 18, 2018 10:31 Tags: science-fiction, seth, surprising-book-and-film-reviews

January 22, 2018

This Time Of Destiny

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This Time Of Destiny
October 2016, nearly Samhain


I am a Darwinist. Darwin's final paragraph of his first great book has come true, and in my life­time I have seen it coming true.

That paragraph predicted that as we gathered data to check Darwin's theory of life's natural evo­lu­tion, our knowledge of ourselves would grow much more complete and true. It has done so. That means, as Darwin knew it means, that we are all together proven to be children of Earth. I have watched our culture gaining wisdom in response.

And I am a Jungian. Indeed, the Pagan move­ment in our country is precisely the journey Doctor Jung prescribed: We inmates of the prison of the Modern World can escape through the doorways of our souls out to universal realms, bringing conscious­ness with us, and return here conscious of sacred freedom and power in our hands.

That has been our Pagan movement's con­stant tactic and strategy, which I can testify from being present ever since its birth. And now we see this new faith in the human soul's deep freedom accepted as a piece of common know­ledge in our country, spreading widely, giving hope.

And I am a web technician. I've made a living as a soft­ware engineer since before that job title existed, then later made one of the first artist web­sites on the web. So I can feel a spark of pride when saying the idealistic hopes we felt back then have been fulfilled. Indeed, nowadays that handiwork opens many windows that were shuttered tight.

But do I dare to tell the most vivid current case I know of the web usefully opening secrets? It is a case of horror. It is a YouTube video of real horror, and an undeniable proof against a brutal ancient tyranny:

The video is from a hand held cell phone camera inside an automobile some­where, streaming up to some small corner of the web, there recorded for immediate worldwide distribution. It is some day last month. The scene inside this car is shady, for there appears to be a shady tree outside the window, and the unseen hand that holds the cell phone is remarkably steady while the picture slowly scans.

Then we understand the person with the camera is the driver, because we see the person in the passenger seat who is slumped toward us, leaning on the driver, and this person's eyes and face are definitely asleep - or maybe dead - and now the camera pans down enough we see a huge pool of blood covering the person's shirt front.

If you are American, you have by now decoded the passenger's facial composition, so you've seen this here is one of our underclass, legally semi-human and anciently enslaved but now fodder for our prison industries, but now deceased.

You've noticed that if you are American, so now the camera slowly comes up and shows a fist with a pistol in the window, trembling with fear and/or fury, pistol pointed right at you with its finger on the trigger - although really pointed at the unseen driver in your place - so of course you strain to see the gunman out there and with no surprise you see a policeman's hat out there.

And all of that is true and none of it is new except …
… the fact that now you and many thousands more have seen it …
… and nowadays you've likely felt the freedom of your soul to chal­lenge lies …
… and nowadays you've likely heard of proofs that we are all together here Earth's children.

So now let's build the Good New Age.
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Published on January 22, 2018 06:22

January 19, 2018

A Beautiful Resistance But

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Mid-January 2018

Suppose this week there is what's called a “town hall” kind of public political meeting and I attend. Suppose, as he surely will, Mr. Trump is opened for discussion and suppose, as undoubtedly it will, my hand goes up asking for a turn to speak. Suppose my old gray head, as perhaps it might, attracts the attention of the moderators so there is a moment when a microphone is held in front of me.

And suppose the moderators give each citizen a reasonable amount of time; if the citizen is sane, intelligent and courteous let's say maybe twenty breaths of time. What will I say?

You understand, this is only slightly hypothetical. Some time this year it's fairly certain I'll be present at some similar event, Mr. Trump will be discussed and I will have a chance to speak maybe twenty breaths if I am very sane, intelligent and courteous.

If it's this week here is what I'll say.

“My name is Stone Riley. I'm an old man member of Veterans For Peace. Did six years U.S. Army during the Vietnam war and fate had it that I did not go to Vietnam. On the other hand a friend – a fellow soldier where I was – was sent to Nam … and promptly … killed … for nothing. That is why I am a veteran for peace.

“So now I need to tell you … the resistance to Trump is beautiful. The resistance to Trump is beautiful! But … please remember!

“Please remember that grotesque individual is only one piece of our nation's great troubles.

“Like, this week we celebrated the birthday of Doctor King. And Doctor King said the United States is the greatest … purveyor … of violence … in the world.

“True then and true today for if you add up our government's so-called 'defense' expenditures – add in the amazingly expensive so-called 'intelligence' programs, the atom bomb programs, the flood of weapons given out around the world (and to police forces here), the endless aircraft carriers and multi-million dollar warplanes, add it all up and our government's war expenses equal the rest of the world.

“Yet still this week, the Democrats in Congress – and Republicans in Congress, almost every one of both – are jumping up saying … More!

“Almost every one of both are saying we must give trillions more to the war profiteers. Because, they say, somehow, our safety depends on the war profiteers.

“Our resistance to Trump is beautiful! But please remember! That grotesque individual is only one piece of our nation's great sorrows.

“Thank you for listening to me! Thank you for the microphone.”
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Published on January 19, 2018 05:14 Tags: congress, democrat, national-defense, peace, politics, republican, veteran, war

August 27, 2017

Proposal For A Bush Druid Table

A Bush Druid Table,
proposed by Stone Riley for Celebrate Samhain 2017, an art installation with some retail

I would like to do a "Bush Druid" table at Celebrate Samhain 2017. It would be an art installation promoting an idea for a new Order of Bush Druids. This proposed new order would not be an organization, but rather a kind of spiritual practice, simply an approach that might be used in sacred work. This approach to sacred work would start with American Pagan best practices and seek to be a spiritual art approaching Alchemy in ancient Greece.

The materials on the "Bush Druid" tabletop are not decided yet, but there will be a strong presence of Tarot, Joseph Campbell, Carl Kerenyi, and Jane Roberts. There will be Sidhe and poems. Mostly there will be chat and storytelling. Meanwhile, the backdrop will be compact but visually spectacular, a narrow towering curtain wall of our fine art prints selected from the lavish show we did at Pagan Pride 2016 in Manchester NH, but more compact.

Here is a link for the art prints in that show ... www.stoneriley.com/bannerprints
Here is a front end for my books, Tarot decks and other work ... www.stoneriley.com/notes

We might fit this installation in a corner if there are no regular table spaces still available. That is assuming that you let us spread our painted wings a little, and assuming that our Muse agrees about the corner. Perhaps you know Zoe who is our temple's Muse.

Zoe's Famous Cookies are famous among New England Pagans in the north, and meanwhile our Friendship Sanctuary has recently opened in a southern NE town. I am her Consort. We keep a family forest temple, of several influences, where there is a Pool and where she and I portray the temple's Elder Lovers. And, in case you haven't heard, I am a famous painter.

Here is my printable artist bio ... >> www.stoneriley.com/whoisriley

Best regards, Stone Riley
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Published on August 27, 2017 04:28

The Fig Tree

Subtitle: Where The Paintings Came From

This is previously published here: Tales of Men and Women and here: Documents for the Reader

Beauty is our surest source of Wisdom; Nature is our clearest source of Beauty; Love for each other is our strong­est voice of Nature.

There was a fig tree where I was a child, filling one corn­er of our little house's little yard. Its beauty was amazing.

Indeed, after my childhood study of that tree, beauty seemed so mysteriously far beyond human knowing that the word “beauty” seldom even passed my lips for the next forty-odd years. Instead, I would speak and think of “joy” as the real spiritual fundamental of existence.

I would remember stretching out my little self through the summer's sweet close fragrant shade along thick viney limbs, the green light kaleidoscopic in my human eyes, the stiff big leaves rus­tling like paper in the breeze but so fuzzy against human skin, the fruit so strange and good. In un­ac­countable en­twin­ing ways the fig tree was perfection far past knowing. That was beyond.

But joy was inside me. I am joyful; I exist. That was know­able and known.

Then suddenly there was another summer day - me now far away and fifty-five years old but still there con­scious­ly a spirit in the fig tree - but now knowing more.

Now suddenly my self was felt to be obviously the viney wood - the sun soaked leaves, the strange good fruit and all - and all of this was known by its self, the self which was its self, my own self, to be extremely beau­tiful surpas­sing joy.

Of course the mode of this awakening, at last, was erotic love.

•  •  •

I was a lonely quiet child, for so I learned to be and learned I was. Happy laughter sprang up from my heart quite naturally, but in that house it found poor nour­ish­ment.

Our mother, from some cause forever now uncertain - perhaps her father's early death and then her brother's then her mother's - was a worried and sometimes des­pair­ing woman.

Our father, though he was the one who set the fig tree sapling in its place, was a very earnest brooding man. His child­hood had been wounded by starvation poverty and then his youth by the desperate struggle of panic fear and dauntless courage in a great war.

This woman and man who made us - a girl, a boy, an­other boy who was myself, and then another girl - did right by us. Their love proved itself by unstinted labor that fed and housed and clothed us year after year, and in a gentle discipline that taught so well. They gave us health, hon­esty, literacy and cleanliness.

But love was not spoken in that house. It did not speak nor was it spoken. There was no tender touch. There were no kisses. There was not even wishing for a kiss.

•  •  •

In my childhood study of the backyard tree, the thing I noticed most was the viney kind of curve its trunks, bran­ches and twigs all made. I have tried ever since, in poetry and paint, in clay between the fingertips, in word and deed, in every art, to make that powerful curve.

It was a compound line reporting all aspects of reality at all points it inhabited, the gravity and wind and sun and mechan­ical adhesion in the fibers of its wood and its evolution through previous habitats and its role in the evolution of habitats and the moral tendencies of the uni­verse and plenty more sublimely joy­ful dancing fluid inter­actions of reality far outside my knowing.

That is to say, I understood the curving of the fig tree was extremely real. It was much more real than my uncon­vincing notions of my self.

And so passed forty years and more, although with var­ious awkward twists as I tried to stretch my self into that viney curve and never figured how.

•  •  •

That summer I was fifty-five, I was in New England.

I was renting half of a strange ramshackle house on an unworked farm. This house's other half was rented by another fellow.

You'd surely say it was a run down place but he was doing photographs and I was doing paintings and it was a joyful spot. It was a four acre hay field hilltop deep in the highlands of big woods with a mountain view that would pop your eyes out. There was delicious air.

And that was new to me. The only thing in my exper­ience you might compare it to was oceanside air - an air also full with fragrant palpable infinities of distant large and moving things about their business - but in this fra­grant air of mountain hilltop, a place full of forest beings who cast perfume on the air, this very open and very clear bright but deep green place where you would see Sky and World in every glance, and you would constantly see it all flow with storm or breeze or flow with rain or vanish into snow, there I felt my­self alive among infinities.

Beside an ocean, in whatever weather, I've always felt myself in danger and a foreign traveler. But here I some­how became immediately a native of the wooded hills.

Well, the other renter there, the art photographer, was a thoughtful fel­low, lonely, very nice, courteous, kind. He lent me a valuable photo reference book to make a sketch and I gifted back a tiny canvas that he fancied. I'd feed his cat when­ asked. Now and then we had some tea and chat.

He, my good neighbor, at­tend­ed regularly at a Bud­dhist monastery that was there, nearby somewhere among those hills, for their silent walking contemplative retreats were a spiritual treasure to him.

Me, I had my girlfriend up on weekends quite a lot.

This lady was the very person I had absolutely given up any hope of ever finding.

In fact, I had carefully calculated the arithmetical un­like­li­hood that she could be alive on the same side of the planet as myself and was mistaken. I had composed a phi­losophic poem in which her non­ex­ist­ence stood as proof of something in the universe. That is to say, logic had failed me com­plete­ly in the search for her.

And I could not possibly even list the lady's charms - her forth­right honesty and grace and wit and intelligence and gener­osity and strong insistent heart that was proven so amply since, for through her virtues she would later save my life - because at that time when we had only recently met, I mainly saw her virtues only through an utterly com­pel­ling intuition that could not be itemized.

And she was similarly bewildered by this peculiar crea­ture me. Indeed, both our feelings seemed to be that we must simply throw away caution and absolutely work this out as we went along.

And our next door neighbor is a quiet lonely visual artist guy familiar with Oriental stuff.

And I guess you may have seen the famous photos of those old Hindu temples where sinuous entwining love­making couples, all smiling very sweetly as they serenely consummate the universe, adorn every sacred temple arch­way and pillar.

You may even be aware that the ornamental vegetation crafted in those famous temple carvings - the curving viney trunks and limbs and sheltering leaves which those famous undying lovers inhabit and enact so joyfully - are, of course, un­mis­tak­ably fig trees. Those sculptured fig trees are, to be precise, the same ficus religiosa species under which the Buddha sat for his awakening.

And, you understand, in the past year, since months before we found each other, I had achieved sudden aston­ish­ing success in making beautiful paintings without yet knowing beauty is real. Repeat: without yet waking to the fact beauty is real.

Many paintings that will become Spirit Hill Tarot, if I may explain, were already crowded cheek by jowl among the others nailed up on my small rooms' walls - waiting since before I even knew that she exists - to greet her when she ventured up into the hills then stepped into my door, while others of them waited stacked among the lean­ing piles of canvas­es in every dusty corner.

Me painting like a lunatic, sawing and nailing frames between the painting sessions, me wonder­ing what in the world I'm doing for all those months before she came.

•  •  •

So finally one day it is a lovely summer Saturday or Sunday.

A breeze that is quite irresistibly intoxicating in its mea­dow forest fragrance and also bursting with glowing sunlight radiance has all day been absolutely flooding the place through our open windows, all of which are open you may be sure.

She and I are cuddling, lounging very dishabille, luxur­iantly satisfied for now, me more luxuriantly satisfied than I have ever been before in my entire half century life, you may be sure, and her too by every indication. Here we are in our little boudoir that opens on the universe, our little living room, which is at the back of the house where the wide win­dow view of our steep round grassy hilltop, sur­round­ed by the forest moun­tains, is more stunning.

It is a little room where big bright canvases over-filled with glow­ing sha­man­ic vi­sion and shining paint (three fu­ture Spirit Hill Tarot cards chief among them) cover all the walls above the tiny boundless island where we abide, we each touching each a fellow soul in the utmost holy intimacy of love.

I am growing actu­ally hallucinogenic breathing in the scented light, studying the tactile structure of the mantic glowing visions that sunlight is sculpting on the breeze-blown moving sail-like surfaces of canvas stretched on wood above us.

When any human being starts to seriously explore their mind, to let it work and see what gifts it brings, they will very soon - very soon - feel the pretended boundary be­tween their self and all the world dissolve. They may take courage in that vast mysterious state instead of fear. They may find their other self who is native there and lend that self a voice and eyes and hands and sex in this world here. So come many acts of brilliant creativity.

For me - I who have learned to trust my soul who lives there beyond, learned to marvel at its workings - to me by then there comes as well a kind of sa­tur­a­ted dumb and sot­ted fullness, a savoring and keen surrender - there comes a fascinated and delicious utter giving of myself into the flow­ing energy of crea­tivity as to the flowing bowl of an­cient Dionysus.

So I am drunk with her and I have been forever so it seems, ever since at least our first kisses waking in that day's transcendent and transparent waking dream. And even so, the endless hour is still morning.

So Neighbor knocks. He's knocking on our front door, not the back, doesn't see us but the cars are out there out front so he figures we must be here somewhere and he shouts a loud friendly confident hello.

I realize, suddenly, Neighbor will next definitely walk around out back, searching for us in the yard, sun-bathing out there with books perhaps as we often are, and there he will quite dis­cretely peek into our living room's wide pic­ture window just the way that I would do undoubtedly if the situation were some­how horribly reversed, and so I bellow back an answer.

After all, the lady has another life as a Quite Respect­able Person who dresses very presentably you may be sure for a professional occupation in a city and goes home to the company of three dearly loved adult daughters who, I'm ab­so­lutely sure, cast unrelenting aspersions on the old nasty Hippie freak in the woods to whom their mom is inex­plic­ably attached and to whom, therefore, I really don't want the lady carrying home a displeasing report.

So now I'm suddenly struggling to get this emergency sorted inside my head while rummaging among the bed­clothes for yesterday's trousers.

The lady is amused. She pulls a sheet up to her chin.

•  •  •

So here stand two men, a screen door between them.

One stands out there in the stunning brilliant summer day, a bright day, standing on the doorstep looking up, out­side looking in, hold­ing a hand up to shade his eyes.

The other is an old stout fellow naked to the waist, sil­ver hair and beard a tangled mass around his face, blink­ing and squint­ing there in the deep shade of the hallway, inside the dark screen door which he does not open.

But the old stout guy is leaning sideways now, bending like the hilltop willow tree that stands out there beyond the cars and little gravel park­ing lot, slouch­ing onto the door frame. He has ex­pend­ed his reserves in dragging to the door and is now overcome with a peculiar exhausted relax­ation. He is trying to button his pants.

Both men know there is a woman in there.

So of course I am examining this memorable situation. Of course I'm think­ing Darwin thoughts about how Nature is our lives and we are Nature.

From this new perspective of Darwin dynamics I sud­den­ly see that all this body love is biologically powerfully recruiting me to join a Clan that sorely needs a good Grand­father because Babies are coming soon and the Matriarch of which suspects that she has stumbled on a quite excep­tional candidate.

So my old lonely heart swells with relief and pride: She has chosen me for good reason. And I feel the blossoming of tender love that famous poets speak: Like a rose bloom erupting marvelously on a with­ered stem, I fall in love with her. That then suddenly disproves all my theorems of grief, so suddenly I begin at once surrendering the doubt and fear which all that lone­liness always gave me.

But Neighbor is talking, as he has a right, shrugging ruefully, reminding me, apologetic since he clearly feels ridic­ulous - and maybe even feels made a fool and maybe even hurt - about the very interesting old wrecked beaver dam in the woods a pleasant walk away from there which he did mention a couple weeks ago one time, to his sugges­tion which I did indeed answer him that the lady and I would probably like to walk out for a look and to which he is going now to make some photos that are going to be very fine in this very fine light, so he shrugs again. And would we like to go?

And here, for your information, let me just interject that I am still sorry and embarrassed - ashamed somewhat in fact - that I never went with my good Neighbor to see that beaver dam which would have been interesting.

But now, in my intoxicated state, I am carried off by thoughts about the tender poignancy of life. I used to be so much like Neighbor just so recently and for so long before. And he is me of course. I have escaped that fate but should I rejoice or mourn? Of course I must do both and in them both know joy.

In fact, I am at last surrendering what remains of the fear and doubt my loneliness for so long gave me.

•  •  •

So now I hear a footstep in the hall and turn and look.

Now comes the Lady in her person.

I have heard her step and looked and seen her coming from the living room into the hall.

And she is there.

I gape.

She is appropriately clothed. She wears her lover's shirt from yesterday, Gypsy bangles at her ears and silver finger rings. The shirt falls just exactly long enough to cast the Sacred Mysteries of Venus respectfully in shadow. In the hallway's dark this gleaming female soul is glorious.

I either gasp or moan.

So the Lady is in the doorway by me now, within the darkly veiling screen. So the entryway is filled; no one will enter. She takes my arm in hers and stri­kes a friendly pose and says hello to Neighbor.

Neighbor's eyes fly to a spot in the air above and there they stay. But he says hello. Furthermore, he briefly, with quite commendable aplomb, outlines the friendly invitation to a scenic woodland ramble.

Before she speaks to answer him, she moves. It may be at first a gesture simply answering the friendly invitation in some normal way but then it is a dance. It becomes unmis­tak­ably an artist's pose.

Then it is indeed an apt quotation from great famous art which Neighbor loves, great art I know he loves because this pose of hers is photographed exactly and repeatedly in a photo reference book of South Asian temple archi­tec­ture he recently took from his private shelf and opened to those pages of those photos with a lover's tender touch and then gener­ous­ly lent that book to me his painter neighbor.

In this brief dance, this divine erotic dance, the Lady took my arm to wrap around her back to put my hand exact­ly at her waist and there she holds it, her hand pres­sing mine with every silent signal of human touch that I must hold that curve of her fervent soul in strength.

So we are relaxed and yet we have embraced securely. And so, if I may say it in this way, the Lady's substance entwines in mine:

Her other hand goes up behind us, appearing on my farther shoulder and it grips; she gives her weight. She lifts her far foot just enough to put its heel above her near foot's ankle, so her knee arising slightly as the toe points obliquely down. So she is reclining on me like I am reclin­ing in such languor on the wooden doorway post and I feel her relax, her substance now becoming mine so famil­iarly in an act of love.

So what is this? Are we truly beings carved above the tem­ple threshold steps, truly? Are we not? For this bles­sed place where all this glorious mysterious art is done for such hidden reasons; is this not a place of mira­cles for that whole summer long - which has not ended yet - and are we not its clergy?

Somehow in true, true fact - in facts somehow assem­bled there out of the actual substance of reality by bril­liant work­ings done in beauty - we are the fig tree now. And thus the powerful reality of beauty has been proved.

For me this is an ecstasy. And it resolves deep riddles of human joy and meaning.
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Published on August 27, 2017 04:07

July 29, 2017

The Future's Past, First Half

(First half of a rough draft of a performance script, seeing Global Warming in a consciousness of Spirit, Heart and Magic)

[Introduction part 1, invoking spirit of tragedy]

Hello folks. Thank you for being here.

“We are the future's past.” Curious title. It's a magical visualization, a confusing magic-mirror riddle kind of visualization. But here it is the title of a serious discussion so will it be meaningful and appropriate for that? Well, it does give an accurate impression. The events we are living in are so confusing and full of riddles.

“We are the future's past.” Want to see it? Try visualizing my vision of it, okay? I'll say this once and won't repeat it. Are you ready?

Suddenly now the future is quite unknown to us because enormous changes are happening very quickly. But we do know this: Very soon the past will be extremely different from the present and we will be that past. And I believe: We can become a richer and more useful past than we will be now.

Did you follow that visually? Well, anyway, I feel like this life now makes my head spin. It's like we are doing fast forward time travel. Whatever this is, it's all true, and yet it's utter confusion. So it definitely teaches me something. It teaches me that I need to think carefully nowadays. I need to mentally penetrate this present in a very truthful fashion so my life will become more useful to the future.

[Introduction part 2: declaring Saturnalia]
[May involve me holding up one hand, then other, then both, or even gesturing wildly.]

Who here can hold up their hand? Please feel free to hold up your hand.

Not now! Hold up your hand when there's something you should say, some serious contribution to the discussion. I'm guessing you can't do that yet. You don't even know what I'm going to talk about. But if there is a contribution you should make at some point, please feel free to signal with your hand or some other body part.

Well, no. Don't do that. That's not going to work. I have three major points I want to make and I'll be much too busy to ever call on you like that. Instead, let's do this: I'll stop and let you have a turn three times as we go along. How's that? It will be your turn three times. And maybe we'll have a few moments for discussion before time's up. Then after that you can go to my website and buy a book.

[Introduction part 3: near term extinction]

Well, I hope you laughed but that's actually a segue, about buying merchandise from a talker. It was a segue because my first big point is going to be money. Yes, money. If we want to mentally penetrate the present, let's talk about money first. Money is a fascinating and mysterious subject, isn't it?

Now, get me straight, I am reasonably well convinced that our Divine Planet's ecosystem is perishing. At this time. That is my very sorrowful and very reluctant opinion, after I have watched this criminal catastrophe of climate change coming toward us for my whole adult life, watched it coming for more than half a century. Now the Arctic is melting and it is now my opinion that this Divine Planet's web of life, where our eyes find love so deeply, this is being loosened and dissolved by global warming. And now finally near the end, that transition is happening very fast. That is the fast forward time travel I am feeling.

Whatever humor you hear from me in this talk today is what's called “gallows humor” or “horror humor” and I believe it's healthy. When Shakespeare used it, it's comedy relief. You might not realize Shakespeare stuck big guffaws into his horror plays – yes he did – hilarious gallows humor scenes just before the terrible catastrophes in Macbeth, Hamlet and others. And no, the humor is not comforting. It's not designed to be comforting.

It turns out Shakespeare understood our minds very well. The laughing is designed to momentarily clear your terror from your mind, and whatever other hope or guilt or whatever other compelling feelings you have experienced so far. Let that go for a moment, long enough that your careful thinking will kick in and you will penetrate the ensuing catastrophe better.

Tell you what, go find the 1996 all‑star movie of Hamlet. Watch all the way to near the end where Robin Williams walks on scene, in costume with a funny walk, and does Shakespeare comedy relief for five minutes. Authentic dialog. Walks back out again. Totally hilarious. Great comedian. See how awake that makes you feel. Then they have the big sword fight where everybody dies.

On the other hand, there is a scientific opinion, part of climate science, which may be comforting to you. It seems like some of the beings in the ocean depths and many of Earth's tiny microscopic life forms will survive this transition. And someday, long from now, it seems certain that the planet will cycle back to cool again. Then we can expect that the survivors will proliferate again into a magnificent flourishing of beauty such as we do love so dearly.

So life on Earth will probably continue to the distant future. And we humans are capable of extending our love in that direction. Many people are finding comfort in that scientific opinion. Perhaps you will.

And I know for sure – or at least I think I do – that life and death in this physical plane are only reflections of life that is larger. We humans know this. When we are sane and our minds are clear, we actually know this just as clearly as the other life forms on this planet know it.

There are definitely other realms of existence. Ask most any physicist. And it does seem like physical existence is a reflection or extension – or choose some other word – of our individual and universal conscious living presence in larger dimensions of existence. Both the Fox Sisters and the Buddha told us that. So do Rembrandt and the painters of the Lascaux Cave. Me, I like the way Jane Roberts says it in those old grainy videos. Also Imam Malcolm X and Reverend King. I will call that the psychic life or the soul life of Earth's ecosystem, which includes our human selves.

That psychic life of ours will undoubtedly continue, and be enriched by these experiences. In my opinion.

But let's get back to that later. That is going to be my big Point Three.

[Here begins Point One concerning money.]

Instead, the first thing I'd like to ask is this: How should you and I feel in our private hearts; how should we feel in our private hearts about the perpetrators; feel about the apparently guilty people who have perpetrated this astounding crime?

But when I ask that question, immediately I find another question. What caused global warming? Why has it happened? And I mean we should examine that question of “What Caused Global Warming?” before we get into assigning any guilt. Assigning guilt will come a little later on my agenda in Point Two. For now I want to ask “What Caused Global Warming?” and work through that to money.

Let's examine the causes of all this before we decide whether there is some guilt in you. Okay? Fair enough? If we're assigning guilt we must see how this happened, then decide if there is guilt in you. Or is there guilt in me, instead of you, or all of us? Or is there guilt in God or Goddess or their Holy Child or the President of the United States? Before we get to that, let's try to know how these circumstances transpired. And I suspect that will bring us immediately to money.

I can even offer some personal testimony on that which will be interesting. Speaking in my official capacity as a Druid. So kindly listen with your ears open when I offer some personal testimony in Modern Druid language.

And yes, I do hereby claim Druidic authority that you will herein listen while I use my Modern Druidic lore to explain an important aspect of global warming. And the object which my true life fable will address is this: “What Is Money?”

So if you will, good friends and friendly strangers, listen kindly while I tell a story. If it is told in proper terms it goes like this.

Lifelong, I had expected that we must finally answer “What Is Money?” For so many years I angrily expected that a deep hoard of Super Secret Money would be discovered deep in the roots of this astounding crime, discovered by us someday. I envisioned this fatal crime as an enormous poison tree with noxious vapors from its blossoms, growing huge with deep roots in our midst, and surely it must have a hoard of Money Super Secret hidden in it somewhere, as its soul and heart, hidden in some place that seemed unseeable.

Now finally we are near the end so this requires that I put modesty aside. I must tell you that I found that hoard. Yes, some years ago I found that hoard of deep money secrets when I was led into a magic journey where I traveled far in a small red boat and spoke with many, always asking “What Is Money?” And so at last, some years along that magic sojourn, I discovered money's secret wisdom hoard. Now I can tell you of it.

But when I'm done telling that, next thing then it will be your turn. So I will ask you what it means. I will ask you “What Do Riley's Patent Money Secrets Mean?” Understand, you are required to give your best considered answer to that question. And I'm warning. This is an official Druid warning. You better give your best thoughts on the current question when your turn comes, or else. If you don't put out serious mental effort, then you'll be cheating.

I am warning, when your turn comes in this conversational philosophy thing, this is a very serious ancient game the Ancient Druids used to play, a game with very strict social pressure enforcement. This is COMPETITIVE conversational philosophy. And you don't want to be a cheater. No chocolate Smores for cheaters. The Ancient Druids loved this more than Quidditch. So pay attention and think ahead.

We must ask “What Is Money?” And I have lived that story that I told you. I have lived a true life Druidic experience like in that story. I was led by unseen forces to a teaching job which I loved at a great museum. It was a magic wisdom journey. This is true. A great museum near our home allowed me take one of their jobs. This is true in physical reality so I've switched back to normal language.

You see, there is a great history museum near our home where I worked for years doing public education. A money free volunteer job. It was one day per week for four years, wearing a historical costume – an old timey business suit – and teaching our museum visitors by means of chat. Your chat would be centered in some particular subject matter and the particular subject matter they assigned me to felt surprising: commerce and money.

I am an anti-money anarchist and the management of an established institution slotted me to teach the history of commerce and money.

You see, it was an emergency. These four years were soon after the monstrous worldwide financial collapse. You remember that. There was a worldwide financial collapse in 2008 that has somehow faded into the background. But now this was the depths of the Great Recession and this famous institution of understanding history did not have a specialist in commerce and money. Until me.

You see, I am a software engineer, a semi-professional artist and a semi-retired business software engineer. An old anti-money anarchist walks in with thirty-five years experience in business consulting and asks for a public education job application. They give it to him.

They definitely needed to fill that slot because it was just after the astonishing financial collapse and members of the public have been led to expect some freaking education when they go in there. All the advertising even says they specialize in concentrated education. And since they didn't have any up‑to‑date curriculum in this vitally important subject, I was even required to develop one. That is to say, I must do research and present my results to the customers.

So you can see, it felt like intervention by some unnamed civic deity. By some means it had suddenly become an anarchist Druid's civic duty to diligently seek the Unseeable Hoard of Money Secret. In this remarkable position it felt like the secret must be very close, if only it could happen that my eyes pointed at it.

And the museum exhibit where they set me to work did feel a lot like a magic boat for traveling time and space. It felt like a real life Tardis if you will. My museum exhibit, that I inhabited one day per week, was an old timey bank building, very small and square, perfectly real in its substance, the exterior painted a curious old Roman Pompeii shade of pastel red, containing a perfect display of authentic documents and furniture. I loved it.

It was built in the early “young republic” period of America where there was a fad for making things seem Roman. With no sense of irony either.

It was a little building, built very cubical, built back in the day from solid stone and iron– to withstand attacks by bank robbers possibly equipped with kegs of gunpowder – transported to our museum's main street from its own Main Street one hundred eighty years ago in a nearby town.

So curious visitors are attracted to that great institution from the whole human world. And those who arrive and wish to penetrate money's mysteries are obviously quite attracted – often with considerable surprise – to my amazing time traveling cubical pink bank building with a big flashy gold sign above its antique pillared porch. So they would climb up the steps beneath its big gold sign, step in the big iron doors, and then they were suddenly pounced upon by the Druid lurking in it.

I'm sure you are not surprised that I started asking lots of visitors about my riddle. I asked many of them, and I tried to lure their best thinking out, on the question “What Is Money?” In the dark days of the Great Recession. And it turns out a lot of people are anti-money anarchists.

It evolved very nicely. I would provide my best thinking from all the previous chats – and from a few fine books which the discussion was leading me to – to stimulate their contribution. And I was unfailingly courteous to them, and kind to their children.

So that was the true life magic wisdom hunt which I traveled on for four years. An official civic duty volunteer public research service. A museum job chatting people up to careful thought about my favorite question.

And here's what I discovered: Money can be explained with evolution science. Money can be explained clearly with evolution science.

Money is a way of thinking and acting that arises from our natural instincts. (Therefore the unreasoning compulsions we feel so irresistibly around it.) We have our instincts from our ancient ancestors who lived a natural way of life. They lived a natural life for a long time, so long that they evolved to do it well in many different ways. The instincts which they developed and elaborated worked well in that way of life. But now some of our instincts are giving rise to this malignancy called money. That is because some of our instincts are working very badly in civilization.

To sum that up, I'm saying money comes out of natural human instincts that are not working right in civilized life. So surprising. Big discovery. So unexpected. I would even say it's maybe common sense now that we have enough evolution science. Please anybody who actually felt surprised by that, hold up your hand! In fact, I bet many of you have strongly suspected it ever since you heard from Jane Goodall about her scientific study results.

But this has value because I am officially verifying that your suspicion was true. You can definitely believe it now because you have received the treasure from a magic journey in a boat. Or else you have received the results of a bona fide, crowd sourced, publicly supported, scientific research project. Field work among primates. Take your pick.

You will not be surprised at this either: Everybody I talked with, from across the world, knew money is a fantasy. That doesn't come up often in ordinary conversation but most everybody knows it's true.

Money is some kind of fantasy where you feel very strong non-rational emotions, and you feel strong compulsions to do things that usually don't work out well. And most everybody everywhere does all that pretty much the same, except possibly a few remaining savages who have managed to entirely evade civilization. Nowadays we understand this is obviously an evolved instinct – a way of thinking and acting – that is not working properly in current conditions.

And of course, being unaware of money's true nature, we always have a strong urge to keep hoping and assuming that it will make sense someday, so then we can make it work right. And so many of us have felt utterly surprised that thieves somehow stole it all, for we feel like money is real stuff and we instinctively imagine all of it as much too large to haul away. Even while we also know it's fantasy.

Of course, since money is inherently crazy, lots of people are quite delusionally money crazy. And since we don't don't teach this in school younger humans are often totally naive to this. So I will say it this way: Every intelligent, sane, and thoughtful adult in the civilized world knows that money is a compelling fantasy which you cannot logically explain.

Well, except for you and me of course. We believe it can be explained quite logically with evolution science.

So finally, let's recap before we move on. Money arises from certain instincts that us civilized people mix together into a poisonous brew. Those particular instincts – those particular ones along with all the rest – were useful and therefore probably wholesome in our natural way of life before civilization.

So if I'm right and this is true, and if I have now decided that it is time to assign blame, then I would like to blame civilization for doing climate change. But I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to logically blame civilization for something.

You might decide that civilization is metaphorically like a big straw man that you might burn down, but I don't see how to logically blame it for something.

I know there was a custom among the ancient Mesopotamians where you would blame your local god when your city did something that went disastrously wrong. I guess we could consider doing that, blaming our gods for climate change.

I also want to quickly list which instincts they are that are going horribly wrong. I'm going to list them. Maybe you will agree or disagree or maybe add to the list.

So, I think these are the roots of money: One: Our instinct for hoarding the necessities of life to save our family and ourselves; the instinct for survival hoarding. Two: Our instinct for hunting which, as you know, includes the instinct for theft. Three: Our art instinct, our instinct to love and create artificial things that are ingenious and exquisite; our art instinct. And four: Our instinct to be sexually attractive.

[Pointing around the audience, as if about to ask for hands.]

Maybe you would like to add some more.

But no! It's not your turn yet. It's not! Your turn will be for Assigning Blame and that's not quite in order yet!

What is in order now? Well, those of you who have followed the logic of this essay – those of you who have not casually discarded the outline diagram that I have distributed – well, the outline was a kind of verbal handout that I told you verbally at the start – you'll remember that right now I am supposed to connect money with global warming. I am supposed to lead from money to global warming in some way that seems logically convincing. I promised I would do that.

So how does this sound:

“Evil human beings have raped Our Holy Mother Earth in a mad erotic fantasy that they are making lots and lots of good beautiful money.”

I think that is logical because it's true.

And furthermore, as you know, this goes back two or three hundred years. Remember the Industrial Revolution? You've heard of it? Many analysts blame the Industrial Revolution for climate change. By some historical coincidence, just about the time someone invented the coal burning steam engine, the United States of America was invented too. Ever since, the owners of the civilized world have been treating our Divine Planet as a sewer.

The U.S.A. First society in the world were people write money numbers in the multi-billions. Every day, if you are an American looking at news, you see numbers in the multi-billions with a money sign attached to them. And what are most of those news stories reporting on? Most of those money numbers in the multi-billions that you seen in daily news are attached to war. If you are here in the U.S.A.

And I say talk of guilt and blame is now in order. So it's your turn to talk. Actually, please change the subject too if there's something else you ought to say.

After that we will explore some personal aspects of the crime for Point Two.

[Now is the first discussion with the audience; it's main suggested subject: assigning blame.]
[Here ends the first half.]
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Published on July 29, 2017 08:04 Tags: anarchism, anarchist, climate-change, finance, money, near-term-extinction

Stone Riley's Shoebox

Stone Riley
A poet writing essays. Why the title? You know you keep a large size shoe box with all those creative ideas and suchlike stuff scribbled on the back of electric bill envelopes?
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