Friday, November 28, 2008

Animal economy...

"The spirit of an artist's gifts can wake our own," says Lewis Hyde in The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. Such a simple, but important idea. He explores how resilient an artist's non-material creative gifts are to the forces of the marketplace and to the physical journey of an artworks as an object. He posits a dual co-existing system of a marketplace and a gift economy. I'm reading it now. Really interesting.

Hyde's ideas are close to something I believe about animals. Their spirits can interact with our own and trigger our psyches into higher realms. I believe that living animals and animals depicted as art are separate but equal currencies in the economy of the imagination. While being in the presence of a living animal is an experience capable of igniting our core existential being, a rendered animal, interpreted, enhanced, and processed through the artist's personal vision, is something capable of unlocking many psychic doors at once. Both are essential to our survival in an increasingly sealed bubble of so-called modernity.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You can't go back...

If you're heading to see your family this weekend, remember, you can not and should not try or expect to return to the family dynamic that existed when you were younger. Families, like governments, hairstyles, and planetary systems, change. You, of course, are a part of this change. This means you have a measure of control and influence here - less than if you were at the command controls of a lunar module, but more than if you were outside pushing against the hull and kicking. Navigating these holiday waters can be treacherous, but I've found that communications borne of love and executed with a spirit of adaptability invite auspicious evolutions. Enjoy your extended genetic matrix!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh, this again...

There is no moment like the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards: they will be dissipated, lost, and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence.

- Maria Edgeworth

Thursday, November 20, 2008

At least they're honest...

I'm pretty much entirely over the fact that a single orange at Whole Foods costs $3. The same way I'm over the last eight years. Meaning, I'm moving forward, and looking elsewhere, ha ha, and so what if the slightest reminder of either of these things sets me off on a rampage the likes of which no marauding band of Somali pirates could possibly muster... what are you going to do about it sunshine? Sorry. What I mean is, read their napkin. It's all right there. Whole Foods has an unhidden angle here. Profit. Ah... a profit deal. Takes the pressure off (being swindled!).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frame awareness...

Today's question jumble goes something like this: To what degree are 21st Century humans born with an innate sense of manufactured imagery? In particular, how much more cognizant are we of the nature and artifice of photography, as opposed to when it debuted over one hundred and seventy years ago? Do our brain now know to process a picture of a field of flowers differently from an actual field of flowers? What are our "default" levels of media vs. content consciousness? How blurry is a frame?

Really I'm asking all this because in a parallel universe, I'm acutely aware of how much televised news media takes advantage of our lingering blindness to its inherent technological and rhetorical biases. It's no secret that TV numbs us out to the brink of hypnotic suggestion and that people are taking advantage of that softness in our perceptual abilities. But what about the more static media? Are we as a species consciously factoring in the frame and all the imagemaker's choices yet? Or is aesthetic abandon something we were meant to hold on to?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Moving away from pit and pendulum...

While retaining my political independence, I can still love a horse race. Regardless of my ambivalent feelings about dem Dems, I still enjoy watching the Republicans get their greasy hats handed to them. There may be 57 varieties of Heinz ketchup, but sacre bleu, there will be 58 senators (update: 59 - thank you Ted Stevens) with a parenthetical "D" after their names if Jim Martin trounces that galumph Chambliss in the upcoming Georgia runoff. That's just two (one) senators shy of the filibuster-proof "magic 60" mark.

I want to echo something I heard the other day: Enough of the pendulum swinging. In other words, it's time to interrupt the exhausting cyclical push and pull between liberal and conservative values and agendas. Time to release the people from the terror of the pendulum and to agree on some mutually beneficial progress. Time to let go of certain attributes and approaches which have outstayed their welcome regardless of party. Racism, fear-mongering, ignoring the needy, defiling nature, the list is pretty intuitive.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The amazing disappearing city trick...

For this trick to work you'll need a major city located on the southern part of the west coast of the United States, 1000+ houses and trailer homes, a box of matches, and a gas mask. Not to make light of an awful situation. My heart goes out to the victims of these terrible conflagrations.

(photo by Augusta Quirk)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enthusiasm is not a weapon!

Did you hear me Los Angeles? I'm talking at you... Real fervor, for almost anything, can be very nice, but faked as an exclusive mode of expression, well... the veins bulging out of your forehead and neck tell it all. I think what I'm trying to say is, "curb it." However, I'm told that concept has been taken.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eric Satie stresses me out...

Why does Eric Satie stress me out? All those sparse piano notes spaced so carefully apart, and held just so, like schlocky poetry which attempts to invoke a world of contemplativeness (but reads as preciousness). It's all form wishing it was feeling.
It's the same with a lot of modern and post-modern design. Its minimalism reveals a self-consciousness that gives me the jitters and is no fun at all. I prefer to navigate the flailing fullness of chaos.

(Jean Nouvel - Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Incoming large-scale energy shift...

Some things are simply too easy to dismiss as Californian claptrap. I admit, I've lost some objectivity on matters of rigorous self-assessment. I've definitely shed some of that essential New Yawk hawkishness that makes one afraid to appear anything but hard, sharp, and 1000% in control. This I don't regret.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to have a look at my friend Shana Ting Lipton's vaguely esoteric commentary on the energy shifts we are currently experiencing, and I guess that something in this recomendation me gives pause. But, pauses, by nature, un-pause... so...

Here it is.

More backpedalling: I retain my skepticism, and astrology is not my bag - but - I consider myself tapped into tilts and shifts in the public headspace and the collective zeitgeist (by biology, not choice). In person and in writing, Shana takes these matters to new levels, and I am always fascinated by her seriousness and insights. I have no reason to doubt her intuitiveness - it has always rung true.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The horizon is mine...

The child imagines a vague, vast future that he or she will inhabit - a kind of life, a kind of job, a kind of setting, a kind of ability, a kind of partner, a kind of role in society. Big stuff. Great stuff. Of course, the child doesn't realize that these breezy sketches become etched permanently into the foundations of the psyche. Later in life, the adult is also frequently oblivious to the powerful influence of these early, instinctive projections - the hidden railways that shape our consciousness. What portion of our daily choices, actions, and self-image come from these young fantasies? How dangerous or prophetic can they be? What choice to we have?

I know there are people who are able to chip themselves out of this psychic cement and reassess their core ideas and visualizations of the future, though I'm not encountering them very often. Instead, as we get older, most of us are hypnotized by the feelings of importance we attached to our imagined futures. We are superglued to them, in ways that defy logic or recognition. Even as we know that things won't manifest with the scale or freedoms we envisioned, we continue to hold this rosy lens in front of our decider's eye. Over time, this process creates a deep crisis of conflict: Some part of you wants, no demands, all the things you imagined - after all, you are entitled to your dreams - it was such hard work dreaming them! Another part of you has tasted "reality" and knows that the fantasies invite self-destruction - sirens on the rocks. Who will win?

I'll tell you this: A feeling is stronger than a thought. A feeling can not be extinguished with logic. A compromise must be reached. For many, this becomes an exercise in living day by day. Many of the popular "recovery" programs out there are based on this premise of releasing the big picture and focusing on the passing minutes and hours. It seems to work for many, but to me it always seems a begrudging (though frequently life saving) compromise. It leaves the stench of defeat in the air. The feeling, after all, was duped out of its chance to exist.

What makes it all the more frustrating is that we are surrounded, inundated, by images of all sorts of people who seem to have cracked the code. Fascinating, engaged, fulfilled people who appear to have honored the fantasies, the forecasts, and the feelings, and seem to be leading extraordinary lives. Can it be? Where did we go wrong?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ladybrain science...

Deep inside a woman's brain there is a unique cluster of neurons that responds to only one thing: the sound of George Clooney's voice. And right next to that cluster is another cluster that responds equally to Rachel Maddow's voice. You can try this experiment at home with your television box, and I encourage you to do so so we can aggregate the findings into a global database.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Is Black the new Green?

Now that we've saved the planet (thank you Fiji Water!), it's time for the pop/media/advertising spotlight to scan the horizon and shine its ever-loving light on the next big salable thing... Now what could that be... whose culture is ripe for a re-appropriation...hmm...

I'm sorry, I don't mean to invoke cynicism or play the race card. On the contrary, I do sense a voracious monster churning and turning, looking for its next meal. Isn't it abundantly clear that shameless "blackwashing" is coming to a marketing meeting near you? I feel it's fair to call out these annoying and potentially dangerous trends because they trivialize complex and important topics. Let's not confuse the monster's need for exploitable content with the our own greater need for action and progress.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Behind a great man, a goblin...

Where'd this picture come from? Anyway, hey! What a relief! Can you feel the competence and the corrective enzymes beginning to circulate through your veins?

Political persuasion aside, doesn't Obama have qualities you genuinely admire - as opposed to say, John Kerry, who tried to exhibit qualities that sounded like things we were supposed to admire, but failed to connect with us in any real way? For as many times as we've allowed ourselves to be hoodwinked, lied to, and chiseled, I still think that the American people have a pretty good bullshit meter. It will be nice, at least through the honeymoon period, to feel like our country is represented around the world by someone who makes many of us proud (without being prideful).

As much as I like the man, part of me is bothered by an Obama presidency: The fact that he can only be a band-aid at a beheading. A salve on a sick government and an ailing global society. He stands for change within the confines of an inherently toxic system. That said, I've noticed that a band-aids and salves are very good things. They can protect you from further infection, and give your small wounds a chance to heal. Maybe after a period of small wound healing, there can be some deep changes made to the root sources of our problems.

While we're on the subject, I'm intrigued by this emerging psychological pattern of Democrat presidents who are fueled by the childhood wounds of paternal abandonment coupled with maternal fortitude. Of course Bill and Barack are very different people - Bill's heated neediness was always in full display and frequently lead him into trouble, whereas Barack's calm and collected coolness appears, at this stage, to contain a powerful mystery within. Will the veneer crack in four years?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Neuro breaking and entering...

I've been having disquieting flashes lately where I realize that I'm not thinking like I used to. You too?

I'm seeing things differently and feeling a whole new set of micro-headaches, that are different from the old micro-headaches that were reliably mine all mine. I can't characterize this new head-warp other than to say it's just altered, with all the hallmarks of something that has been altered. The fingerprints of others. And there are definite minuses - things one could easily associate with aging - difficulty focusing, fatigue, less crackling bouts of inspiration, etc.

I'm not saying that some secret government agency is tinkering with our brains. I'm just saying that I when listen to my friends, and I hear them saying things that I am thinking, almost word for word, on an alarmingly regular basis, well... it would make sense that someone, somewhere is using technology to explore these realms.

Then again, maybe the old mind was the controlled mind, and this new mind is actually the first taste of freedom from the all controlling beam of the brainwash machine? I mean let's face it, all that non-conformist thought and rebelliousness was so cumbersome. Free at last!

("Lovebite" by Laurie Lipton)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The burden of dreams...

Q: How can you do anything that isn't personally inspiring?
A: The things that inspire personally tend to overwhelm.

(photo by Joshua Davis )