Archive for individuals

Personality Masks

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2013 by Drogo

Here is a quote concerning the complex issues regarding our personalities, society, and social ‘masks’.

“To become—in Jung’s terms—individuated, to live as a released individual, one has to know how and when to put on and to put off the masks of one’s various life roles. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do,’ and when at home, do not keep on the mask of the role you play in the Senate chamber. But this, finally, is not easy, since some of the masks cut deep. They include judgment and moral values. They include one’s pride, ambition, and achievement. They include one’s infatuations. It is a common thing to be overly impressed by and attached to masks, either some mask of one’s own or the mana-masks of others. The work of individuation, however, demands that one should not be compulsively affected in this way. The aim of individuation requires that one should find and then learn to live out of one’s own center, in control of one’s for and against. And this cannot be achieved by enacting and responding to any general masquerade of fixed roles.”
From: Campbell, Joseph. “Myths to Live By,” Joseph Campbell

Advice, Partners, Cooperation, & Dedication

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2013 by Drogo

Regarding Life Long Goals and Dreams…

It is fine to say ‘just do it’ or ‘let’s do it’, and that works fine for simple choices. However, for long term complicated projects, the phrase ‘get ‘er done’ is more easily said than done. It is also true that it can be easier to give advice, than to actually take the same advice. ‘One cannot take one’s own medicine’, as the saying goes. If one were serious about a life long goal, then one would constantly do whatever they could to advance that goal; any chance they got, they would go for it over the years. For partners to invest in a project, they should show commitment by planning to meet for a series of weeks in order to accomplish business tasks: plans, financing, purchases, and contracts for starters. To say you do not have the time to seriously attempt an epic dream, is obviously to not take the dream seriously. In order to achieve difficult goals, large amounts of sacrifice, production, experiences, and resources are needed that are relative to the goal. Major specific investments are needed also, such as committing quality time and effort on the appropriate scale. We can work on our own projects and skills as individuals, but in order to achieve large goals with partners you have to spend many hours working on many issues; over and over again until you arrive at conclusions regarding mutual decisions and principles. If a partner says they are dedicated, but cannot make time for any substantial meetings over the course of several years; it is fair to say they may not actually be dedicated; whether they are conscious of their own failings or not. When such problems occur in a partnership, it is up to at least one of the partners to point out the issues; then if nothing can be done, at least there was an attempt (or attempts) to reconcile. Only individuals can decide for themselves, what they are willing to do to see the project through; and what they are not willing to do. As much as we may want someone else to follow through with what they said they would like to do, we cannot make them do anything; for if they are forced to do something against their will, then all parties will regret it. When people achieve something together because they wanted to do it, then that is the best way. Do not let the ideal of a project, blind you to the flaws of individuals in partners. Many people will not follow through on much, despite what we may see as their potential. People are rarely reliable for anything – this an important flaw in the concept of cooperation. Therefore it is safest to only try to organize short term projects, if you have to include others in your life. If you do not find any reliable partners, not even one, that is ok; it is often best to just do your own thing.

If you do happen to find a reliable partner that shares your dreams, no matter how temporary, good luck going for it and have as much fun as you can.

The Claymont Community

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Historic Architecture, Spiritual, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2011 by Drogo

A Review of the Claymont Society for Continuous Education

Across the Blue Ridge Mountains, West of Washington DC, an organic spiritual community resides at Claymont Court. Claymont Court Mansion was built on hundreds of acres of rural land by a relative of George Washington in 1820. In 1974 John Bennet founded the Claymont Society there. The historic estate and grounds remain secluded, yet accessible and maintained thanks to the good people at the Claymont Community.

Claymont Community members attend their regular Society meetings, where they participate in group activities, cook, serve, eat, and clean up together. Also they have various projects, events, and maintenance duties which are usually decided by democratic or social consensus. These responsibilities insure that the community is maintained, and income is received from donations, workshops, seminars, retreats, and events. Their spiritual philosophies are based on the teachings of George Gurdjieff and John Bennett.

Various individual members of the community through-out the years, have brought their own interests, practices, and personalities to Claymont. The Mansion and School (“Barn”) are the largest structures on the property, but there are also collections of smaller dwellings scattered within, and on the outskirts of the land. The foods that they grow, make, use, and serve on site are mostly organic and vegetarian in nature. Although the school for children is no longer in operation, they have a very successful CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that is cooperative with the surrounding area farmers’ markets.

Their mission was: “To promote a way of life that is balanced, harmonious, and uses our full potential while being responsible to nature.”

Their vision was: “A community where people interact using all human faculties to their fullest, in a spirit of cooperation. A harmonious educational environment that utilizes an understanding of nature, conscious awareness, and synergy created by a ‘milieu’ of unconditional love, to improve the quality of life on this planet.”

From my experience attending the Claymont School as a child, living and working with them for a brief time, and from my continued communications; I believe they succeeded, and continue to succeed in their mission and vision statements. I attempted to make a transfer to their communal way of life, and fully believed I was ready, however there were factors I had not considered, which led to me backing out. The factors that stopped me from making the transition to live there full-time were mostly Capitalist issues. My Capitalist issues that deterred me were regarding loan payments on a new car, needing a functional car to have to try to pay my college loans, and then there were previous personal obligations, responsibilities, and interests. However despite my limited part-time commitment to Claymont, I continue to believe that they are a model that more of us living in corporate mundane housing should strive for or support in any way possible.

Here is the proposal I wrote for the Claymont Society to consider me for residency, which they accepted:

A Claymont Proposal for Habitation

Noble Intent”

I have noble intent in as far as having “the will to discover an imperishable Reality beyond the changes and chances of this mortal world”.  Bennett used this description of human ‘will’ for his definition of ‘spiritual’, calling it “man’s noblest quality”. This quest for truth can be seen in relation to the 18th century view of man as a noble savage on the path of “spiritual psychology”. This ‘Noble Intent’ that I have, cannot be less noble than accepting in the modern world use of human technology as part of Nature. (see J.G. Bennett’s A Spiritual Psychology, Preface)

The following are my answers to a series of questions regarding habitation and work at Claymont:

1)         A short bio

…. (not included in this public version)

2)    Why do you want to move here?

I was not brought forth from the hills of Harpers Ferry to merely accept the system of the conventional mundanes, that surround and threaten Claymont.  This was first exemplified through my early educational systems: from Montessori, to public-school gifted programs, the Claymont School, the Banner School,  Catholic high-school and beyond through college studies.

3)    What ideas for community contributions / work projects do you have?

Architecture:               Interior and Exterior renovations and restorations at the mansion, private houses, barns, & future property structures

–           designing and documentation through drawing and photo images

–                      construction work; solo, organizing help, and / or contracting

–                      contributing to the writing of records for systems of the “whole”

Landscape:      Agriculture, gardening, design assistance, roadway maintenance, terrain drainage, etc…

–           CSA

–           Mansion & barns

–           private dwellings and public ways

4) Are you sane? (additional question by John Henry)

An interesting and worthy question of my own sanity, will be answered pertaining to the two forms of psychology as described by Bennett (and as answered by myself).  If you believe in sanity, perhaps there is some insanity about that.  In regards to “clinical psychology” I believe I am stable enough to be sane most of the time, and have never committed any crimes that are deemed by U.S. courts to be insane.

My failings in sanity are best addressed in accordance with Bennet’s “do-it-yourself psychology” which is a practical, yet also spiritual psychology.  Maintenance of my sanity is achieved regularly by commitment to action (or will), by myself both physically and mentally; sometimes with the assistance of others; to work on myself, “in search for the imperishable Real” and experience of the NOW. I cannot explain in words, my full feelings as to why I want to live and work at Claymont, only that I want to based on all of my previous thoughts and experiences. I think that hoping that I can fit into a community similar to myself is sane, and perhaps both can be improved by the experience, if even only slightly more than before the effort was made.


some friends of Claymont during a music festival event in 2003 (?)

visit the Claymont Official Website

or read another account of Claymont

Buddhists Online

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by Drogo

Published article by Laura Busch

Iran, Burma & Global Cybersanga by Laura Busch

Socially engaged Buddhism has gone online. Or rather, we have gone online as socially engaged Buddhists. Yet, there are those who may cringe at the idea. One can easily find on the Internet rampant materialism, and new methods of communicating human anger and ignorance such as cyberbullying, flaming and spamming. So is the Internet truly a beneficial technology for promoting social justice and activism? And if so, how do we use this technology to benefit sentient beings?

Iran: Internet democracy or repression?

Scholars studying social activism and the Internet have offered many answers to these types of questions. While the Internet can be effectively used for social justice, it can equally be a tool of surveillance and censorship. This duality was apparent during the 2009 election in Iran, where angry citizen used Twitter to organize protests against the government. Protester cell phones captured and posted videos of these events, which eventually made their way to news agencies like BBC and CNN. At the same time, the Iranian government used the very same technology to seek out, arrest, and torture protesters. As we can see, the Internet can be as much of a liberating technology as a technology of control.

The Digital Divide

Furthermore, other factors can inhibit the Internet’s effectiveness as a tool for alleviating suffering. One of these factors is the “digital divide”: a disparity of internet access within and between countries. These disparities are generally based upon differences in geography, income, age and education, often resulting in a lack of internet access amongst impoverished populations. This lack of access can also result in perpetuating social inequality.

Yet, despite these important issues, the Internet does appear to have greater potential as an effective tool for activism than previous communication technologies like television. The Internet is a unique in that it allows people to instantly connect to other like-minded individuals, find information, and make their voices heard. It can be a platform where local marginalized voices, that have previously been silenced, can reach the global public and express their needs.

Constructing Global Cybersanga

So how can we effectively use this technology to educate and promote social justice in an increasingly connected global world? First, we must not view ourselves as solitary web users, but as members of an online community of concerned Buddhist practitioners. Therefore, I posit the following, seemingly simplistic statement: messages matter. The stories we tell online about belonging to a global socially engaged Buddhist community, are a central first step to creating and sustaining positive, real world, social changes. These stories provide our individual lives with a sense of shared community concerns and goals and we can use Web sites, discussion forums, and social networking sites like Facebook as spaces where these stories can flourish and develop.

One powerful story of online global Buddhist community is the cybersangha. Cybersanghas appear in many forms: from Web sites like Buddhanet and the Buddhist Channel, to discussion forums like E-sangha. These sites, and many others, share a vision of a global, socially engaged Buddhist community: a community of spiritual friends that share certain systems of belief, practices and religious stories with the purpose of benefitting all sentient beings.

Cybersangha Mobilizes for Burma

Cybersanghas can have far-reaching, real world implications in terms of helping sentient beings. When we see ourselves as a part of a global sangha, we identify with others in our sangha, their hopes, dreams, trials, and tribulations. We care when members of our global sangha are suffering and we become motivated to act when our community demands action. This power of community stories was evident during the 2007 protests in Burma. In one global Buddhist discussion forum, many members identified the monks as spiritual brothers in the community. While there were some debates about whether monks should be protesting, the majority of forum members shared online news and expressed their support and desire to help, often saying to one another, “I need to do something. What can I do?”

And it is this crucial moment, when we see ourselves as part of a community and see our community’s values as necessitating certain forms of social engagement that we become motivated to act. When members of the message board asked, “What can I do”, others responded with links to online petitions, Web sites that supported democracy in Burma, and lists of rallies, protests and vigils taking place around the world. The Internet provided a space where these opportunities could be shared and discussed: where the community mobilized others to act. And those online who were concerned with Burma, mobilized quickly, collaborated with other groups, and events in Burma were known around the world.


While messages and technology go hand in hand to produce effective social engagement, we must also use the Internet to form partnerships with those outside of our community. Our actions are most effective when we collaborate with other religious communities, non-profits, universities and any other organization or community that shares the same goals. This is also what makes the internet a powerful tool for successful engagement: we can quickly find and contact others who align with our values and ideals. We can use the Web to build partnerships, and through these partnerships, the results of our compassionate actions are amplified.

Despite the digital divide and government attempts to control the Internet, digital technologies are becoming more accessible in the world and with it, greater opportunities are available to connect and collaborate with other socially engaged Buddhists. The internet has become central to how we connect our local concerns to the global world. Yet, it is important to remember that in the end, it is the people who use the Internet that must move from thinking of oneself as a socially engaged Buddhist, to acting upon the opportunities we encounter online to be socially engaged: to use the Internet with compassion rather than indifference.

Ghostbusters as Ideal American Heroes

Posted in Film Reviews, Military with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2010 by Drogo


The Ghostbusters of the 1980’s represented American freedom through individuals pursuing their own paranormal interests, while working together as a team. Their business is often at odds with City Government regulations, but they eventually prove their value to the community through dramatic acts of heroism. They may wear a uniform, but there is no doubt they are unique characters who march to their own beat.