Archive for LIFE

My Career in Art & Writing

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Creativity / Imagination, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Illustration, Interviews, jobs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2020 by Drogo

Memoir on My Career 2020, By Drogo Empedocles

 

I am defined socially by my supporters, more than if i were isolated and alone (obviously). Thank you for your support of my life’s work! Is my art and writing my career? I suppose it is, but not if careers must be defined purely by financial profit.

It is strange because my favorite parts of my education did not translate into making money in regular jobs, but i was not as prepared for regular jobs because of my own interests, which meant i cant really blame my art school because i didnt want the regular jobs it turns out. some of us need to spend fortunes to find that out, but trying to make the fortune back by working at regular jobs was the only real way to know whether or not there is a place there for me in conventional business. I like writing and art because I dont need a boss to do them. i still try to make money by selling my work to clients and pleasing patrons; but there is a big difference doing what i love my own way, and people supporting me as a friend, for favors that friends do. I always felt like having a boss meant i was doing work that i needed someone else to tell me how to do, so it was not really a job i would want, unless i was able to be the boss soon or the boss was my best friend. Only when my boss was friendly was a regular job even tolerable for me. Many people feel like they do not have a choice, and for many who just want to do what they are told for a paycheck or who need to provide for dependents maybe that is true; but i feel that if we want to be free, nothing can stop us from eventually quitting jobs that do not fit.

I have heard that being an adult means getting a regular job, to pay regular bills. In fact i always thought that would just happen naturally as an adult, that all my hard work in school would just translate to having the long lost career of my father’s generation. I have also heard that those pensions and life-long salaries are gone (although i still apply to the few that exist), and I know that technology has changed how work gets done, from even the ways I was taught with pencil and paper. I think this Covid Crisis is forcing society to change even more, towards the European socialist model, where a responsible civilization has a government that is by and for the people, and does not just use citizens to extract public resources for the rich. I mean, corporations still will do that, but adults will have a right to life, even if they are not enough of a competitive servant and smart enough to want to take more money from others than they need, simply because they ‘worked hard’ doing what someone else thought they should do. 

 

When someone says “if adults can’t make enough money as an artist, they should get a real job.” I imagine cutting their head off, and sending it to our magical boss; you know the one who would want an employee like me. I would get a gold star and a raise for sure.

SCOD Design and Imagination

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, dreams, ecovillages, Ethics & Morals, Futurist, Organic Architecture, Psychology, relationships, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2020 by Drogo

SCOD Design and Imagination – Theory Essay [recording]

Why study SCOD design? Be prepared not only for possible problems by designing better now; but also if there are systemic collapses, having a core homestead village for redesigning a new way of life will be important. People who can afford independent homesteads will have them, but those without enough money need more affordable housing now and in the future.

Some willing and able to share space will be the heart of a scod village, others will be on the fringes as independent owners or temporary visitors; but having communal space for everyone is important for social life, public events, and council meetings. If everyone could afford their own property and everything they need like rich people, then most would do that; but the reality is that currently the way our economy works is that most people cannot earn enough to afford an independent life, and so most people need shared public property but rarely get enough from our federal, state, or local governments.

SCOD focuses more on philosophy and psychology than militant or religious preppers, because the hardest test of conventional friendship or survival during an emergency is living with people. Knowing how to get basic needs met is critical, including during the most likely emergency scenarios (natural disaster, pandemic, or war); so that comes first. Once you know where to get your food, water, and shelter; the scod design method of infinite combinations will be based on access flow diagrams (see ‘SCOD Thesis’ for examples). SCOD does not encourage everyone to collect guns or have the same religion, because freedom and peace are mainly to be encouraged without force. Diversity of martial and work training, with healing arts and cultural beliefs are the core of scod negotiations, and the spices for the flavor of life.

Working and planning with all kinds of people does not need to be permanent. Diverse experience does not need to be a risky investment, it can best be achieved with limited projects with cooperative practice. The purpose of tests and exercises are to determine what works, and what does not for those involved. Dedication and trust are earned over time, and we simply cannot be dedicated to trusting everything in every way. We learn what is reasonable to expect with wisdom by trial and error, and we learn our own limits for negotiations. If there is no reason to invest in an unstable situation, it is wise to move on.   

If the factors work well they will, but there are so many possible scenarios that those who enjoy the joy of design and writing can explore possible plans without the costs of construction. We make do with what we have, and when we need more we can get it with will-power. The factors of design are as important to scod life as the basic elements they are based on, because scod design theory is a religion of architecture in that it should remind us the purpose of possessing, sharing, and maintaining structures and spaces. Exploring scod design theory is possible even if we never find the best possible factors with serious partners, and this point is the power of imagination. We can dream and be creative even if we have serious mental disabilities, physical disabilities, or are in prison or under quarantine. Enjoy yourself, scod.

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ART & Literature DRAMA

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Philosophy, Psychology, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2017 by Drogo

Writing is connected to acting. the line between fact and fiction and life, in books, and in performances it gets blurry. drama shows us our mental relationship with reality. music, art, and drama evoke feelings that can be very conflicting; because it evokes the psychological issues we have, whereby the human mental neo-cortical process judges ourselves and everything else based on perceptions of senses and emotions. audiences are crying out to have the freedom to pass through the veil and explore between the worlds of art & reality. Most people are confined to a life where they are told acting is not authentic, art is not real, and so they rarely dare to go outside the confines of slave-wage jobs that pay the bills. The art of acting remains a mirror world to them, that they don’t view as participatory; because they see it as an illusion to criticize. obsessive fans are right up against the mirror, touching the surface. The best artists are actors that reach through the mirror from the other side, and pull in those that want to cross the line.

This is what Democritus and Shakespeare wrote about concerning Life, the World, and Theater. Even Marlon Brando agrees, in life there are many roles we all play, acts we put on for jobs, and ways we act. One of the most fun conclusions that we are all actors in our own lives, is the realization that our clothing and uniforms are costumes.

National Living Wages Value Artists

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2015 by Drogo

SCOD economic theory – Living Wage Revolution & The Arts

Artists are people too, and humans in American society have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the future all free people, including all Artists of all kinds (visual, dance, music, etc), should be supported as human beings, regardless of their abilities, economically by government funds on a ‘living wage’, paid for by wealthy corporation and Wall Street mega-business taxes. The price of food, shelter, and utilities should also be kept low, so as not to neutralize the value of money. Unregulated Capitalism and Inflation devalue human and monetary worth. These changes are needed, because throughout history all those who desire to make art, not as a hobby but as a living, have found that only a very few can do so, when governments are run by belligerent greedy assholes that prefer war over art. Many of the most otherwise peaceful and joyful victims of society get lost in deep cracks between the common work and under-funded shallow health-care systems. The common criticism that oppressing authorities have of socialism is that it ‘will allow people to be lazy while others work hard for the same amount’; and that is total bullshit because first of all those that are able to make more money with work would do so, as those that achieve more or better work will be rewarded extra pay and accolades for their accomplishments. Also working hard does not always produce better results than working smart, and those of us who become demoralized by lack of funding and no hope, would be motivated by the fact that we would be appreciated and given what we need to live our lives. Living wages could be reduced as legal penalties when laws are broken, and removed when incarcerated in prison institutions that provide their basic needs during their stay. In this way the greedy can still be greedy, but not at the expense of others that contribute greatly to civilization who have not been valued by economic systems as a whole since the dawn of history. An economic revolution is needed, and all artists should be leading it!

Circular Economy – Dame Ellen MacArthur

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Architectural Psychology

Posted in Alternative Architecture with tags , , , , on May 28, 2015 by Drogo
There are many psychological factors in architecture; because buildings are often made by humans for humans to use for many reasons. I say often, because I believe that art and architecture are also practiced by other animals like beavers and birds; which I may address later in further digressions. Architecture is sculpture for shelter and living in; so it is functional art.
When I taught Environmental Architecture and Historic Preservation classes at Shepherd College, psychology and philosophy played a part in my lessons. As Professor Daniel Puchala indicated when he approached me about guest lecturing on this subject “the effects that architecture has on a person’s well-being and work productivity level” are worthy of study and certainly very important.
Most people are consciously or sub-consciously aware of architectural psychology in their daily lives. We feel various emotions as we react and interact within our homes, offices, workshops, and class-rooms. Even as we approach structures, they evoke feelings within us.
Assuming that self-awareness and existential philosophy is important, I would like to provoke our brains to think about architectural psychology. What are the emotions we feel around or in various physical constructs? How should we process these feelings regarding built structures and space? Does the architecture in our lives hinder our functions or does it enhance our well-being?? Certainly the feng-shui of our lives is mixed and complex, as the Yin/Yang Tao symbol indicates in abstract simplicity.
I want to ASK you, how you feel about different buildings, structures, and spaces. Then we can compare the design intention, with the actual function, and our personal power to utilize it. So let us first address how feelings relate to architecture. Psychological associations play a HUGE role in design. The mental aspects relate to, and go beyond the physical function of structures. How do you feel about your home, inside and out? How do you feel about your surroundings, urban or rural?? How do you feel about the places you take daily trips to consume, work, and play???
Where are you when you feel your daily best? Where are you when you feel your daily worst? Are there architectural design factors you would change about your life, if you could change them? There seems to be a give and take in life, in that we can shift from setting to another; some designs may be better, but other features may be worse; yet the challenge of life is to accept the mixed bag we are dealing with or have been dealt, as best we can; until our situations change. Some lives and spaces are constantly changing.
Spaces are defined by materials around them, and also by the air itself. Air quality is important for any creature with lungs, both the flow rate, and the chemicals and particles in it. Scale is also important; some people are larger or smaller than others. ‘Occupancy’ is how many people can safely fit into a space, at maximum capacity; considering both space scale, and load bearing on the structural engineering.
Structures can be temporary or permanent, and those labels are used to indicate the time period of their existence ‘in situ’ or on site. Some ‘temporary’ structures were built supposedly for only a limited fleeting use, but remain for years; and other more ‘permanent’ structures fall apart or get demolished much sooner than expected. The Law of Entropy states that nothing lasts forever, all things decay in time; but some architecture will last longer with less maintenance, than other less stable designs. Sustainability deals with the desirability of temporal or permanent designs.

Generic Design Process: by Stowell Architects

  1. Accept – the situation & recognize the problem; Clients
  2. Analyze – what it is; Site Survey; existing conditions study
  3. Define – plan how it will look, how it goes together
  4. Select – the correct plan; sign contracts; settle payments
  5. Implement – build; get legal approval; schedule contractors
  6. Evaluate & Maintain – follow up studies
AP Project: Design your ideal bed-room. Draw on paper 4 walls, floor, and ceiling; or however the room is defined (spherical, octagonal, or outdoors). Uses include sleeping, dreaming, waking, dressing, socializing, etc…

How we find success and happiness

Posted in Psychology, Religions with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2014 by Drogo

We can only truly be happy the more we take steps to become closer to our spiritual source in the Universe. The closer we go towards one-ness and unity. It can be done through the purest forms of religion, although the organized structural part of it may take us away at times. I mean, through religion people have the opportunity to connect to their personal source of consciousness whether they realize it or not. Religion can be a tool to get to more consistent achievement, satisfaction, and joy. However, once ‘there’ in our spiritual hearts, religion can become a concrete form of rigid dogmatic belief, which often has been used to create personal guilt, neighborly strife, foreign persecution, and World conflict.

We know we can go into churches, books, hearts, and minds to find success and happiness. Since we know where to go to seek happiness all the discussion is about HOW to get there. Artists reach points in their performances where they cease to be operating as an individual, and reach a higher place of being (consciously and sub-consciously) while playing their music. Athletes get to a place where they let go of their conscious efforts, and operate as if their sport is being done for them. Striving to get to this place where we feeling immense union, love, and harmony can be done through numerous ways in the human experience. The true key to happiness is to pursue a path that will be able to bring you there (rather than away). Your investment must become deeply committed.

Secondly, in our need to return to one-ness, we can be lead to oppose separate-ness, or experiences that further create individualism. Wars, fighting, violence power struggles, control all are experiences because of separation. Therefore, as a way of ‘how’ to proceed towards success and happiness is to invest your life energies into the opposite from that which sets us ‘apart’. Involvement with peace making, environmental stewardship, conflict resolution, physical, emotional and energy healing, music & all art forms are all meaningful operations that lead towards greater happiness and success.

None of us live in a vacuum, and we certainly are individuals capable of either self-awareness or selfish greed, or both; we can change our minds and act against our best interests even during the course of a day. The 3rd dimensional material world and ego-mind play out here. We all have the choice to live in suffering, or to move towards union with a source. I think we must consider shifting our lives and activities away from ego-dominated selfish pursuits or single-minded competitive aspects; but more-so to meaningful unifying humanitarian measures to further our collective existence together.

written by Sir Jeffy the Spiritual Psychologist

edited by Drogo Empedocles

Thin Veil … A Chicken Tale …

Posted in Farming, Homesteading, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2014 by Drogo

THIN VEIL  …A Chicken Tale… of sorts…

There is a thin veil between yesterday and today, between our present moment and our past moments, between our experiences yesterday and those of today. Something happens in the present moment and WHAM, there we are again facing our past head-on. Something happens that we are not totally in control of, triggers a sad or a happy response, and we are suddenly reliving our past, immersed in similar / familiar sorrow, or joy.

Sometimes it is nearly impossible to distinguish between the two, between our past and our present, as they are such an integral part of the fabric of who we are. There is no way to consciously control what comes filtering through that thin veil, between then and now, and all the emotions trailing behind the memories. I guess the best we can do is acknowledge the veil, and then try to embrace it as a part of who we are, both the good and the bad. For example….

Last night I was so busy I forgot to close the chicken hatchway. My body was so tired, my knees and arm ached from the days activities, and I could not wait to fall into bed. Just as I was drifting off, I heard a chicken shriek, and I knew what had happened. Pissed at myself, I jumped out of bed, threw on my robe, and rushed down to the chickens. Golden girl had been slaughtered by a fox, and poor Red was beside herself, looking around warily and squawking. I pet her and comforted her and little Belle, my blue egg layer, even as I tried to comfort myself.

Old memories of loss of precious birds came flooding back as I kicked myself for forgetting. But I had to stroke and comfort myself, understanding that I was exhausted and overly tired from a huge day of music playing and car driving. I was consciously taking a small break last evening from all my responsibilities, watching a movie and emailing friends. I was so relaxed and spent, that I forgot to protect my chickens, one responsibility I forbid myself to forsake. I had let my guard down, just as I did the day my yurt burned to the ground last year. Yes, such things have happened before and no doubt will happen again. I will mourn the loss of my lovely gold chicken who laid huge brown eggs. Later today I will do as I have done in the past with other good birds. I will take her body to the field for the vultures to feed on her, I will bid her farewell, and I will go on with my life. Yes, there is a thin veil between yesterday and today.

What is that saying that I really did not like nor completely understand? “The more things change, they more they stay the same.” Now I understand the meaning of these words. They apply appropriately to this latest episode in my life here as a mini-homesteader. And then there is the ongoing problem with a woodchuck eating my soybean plants and broccoli…yet another difficult perennial problem to solve. Nature is consistently indifferent and does not care about me. I tire of trying. Perhaps it is time to stop. I have no help here…there is too much for me to do…so what’s new? The thin veil, the triggers, are intact, there is no denying it. Nothing has changed. Would I really expect it to ? Perhaps that is my problem… I keep trying, and all I am doing is spinning my wheels.

Pretty morbid, mournful thoughts today. Thanks for letting me vent. See me tomorrow once the garlic is harvested and the blueberries and the peas are picked ! The Indefatigable will continue to pick up the pieces, get beyond the grief, and continue on with life with even more humility than before.

Humility…human…humus…hmm… Still, darn that veil. Would it could be a high, thick, impenetrable wall, protecting us from pain and sorrow !!

But such is the stuff of stories… I suppose I should be happy they keep coming !

CSM 2

Christine Schoene Maccabee – July 3, 2014

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Drogo Quotes 3

Posted in Interviews, Matras Quotes Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2014 by Drogo

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Those that really care about you will want to be as emotionally close as possible as often as is mutually beneficial. Apathy, Hatred, or Love are feelings individuals can choose to show to other people to form relationships of all kinds. From my teen years i think i felt hatred and jealousy more often than love and compassion in my life into early adult-hood; after flipping the scales to favor love and compassion i feel much happier and peaceful. Yes i still get mad, but im better at focusing my anger to achieve tasks, and not harm others.

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Reality is broad spectrum. When we get caught up with rejecting things because of an ideal of perfection, we can so easily deny ourselves the happiness of enjoying diversity in reality. Sure the diversity can be frustrating too, but life is a balance between judging, participating, and simply observing.

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Yes size matters to many animals for various mating behaviors; unless they are birds who prefer color display, or humans with intellect who value the individual as a person rather than only based on one or two physical aspects. Bigger does seem to be better when it comes to being mainstream sexist with certain primates, i know that much.

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People create markets by desire, as a perceived want or need; intentional or not.

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One beautiful thing about being Neo-Pagan is that you can believe in the gods and goddesses as mythological metaphor (like Joseph Campbell).
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Ego is simply the ‘self’ conscious mind in psychology.

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As an architect that actively practiced for over a decade, industrial convention blocked my environmental efforts on every level. It was my experience that has led me to pursue alternative education on a social level without the pressure of ‘judge, jury, and executioner’ i faced with every client project. I still practice environmental architecture, but now i do so on my own terms, by practicing SCOD adaptive techniques of self-employment and organic networking. Even digital does not have to be commercial, and some day commercial does not have to so destructive and ignorant.

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Regarding how other people treat us, remember we are Arbiters of Personal Opinion – many people will be critical without caring how their opinion will affect you; many will say honestly harsh things with no compassion using the blanket excuse that ‘they are helping you’ even if the opposite is true, many will tell you how to do things just to be bossy because they were bullied by others, and they need to make themselves seem better; we can take or leave harsh medicine pushed on us because opinions are indeed as common as smells, some are appropriate for the nose smelling them and some are not, because smells are connected to memories, and memories connected to emotions. Also opinions of opinions change. My opinion is that most people do not care about most other people, and although it is based on professional experience, that opinion may change over time.

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Willingness to share and include others is a key to ethical progress. Even when conflict of boundaries arises, and differing opinions are asserted, it is this ‘key’ that is most important. As a friend of mine recently said, “the old concept of copyright is outdated”.

Ultimate Responsibility

Posted in Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , on February 25, 2014 by Drogo

Many people believe that we are entirely responsible for our own lives, happiness, and everything that happens to us. “No Excuses!”

I can think of a few excuses; like torture and illness. But yeah if we dont kill ourselves asap, then everything that happens to us is on us i guess…  since our brains make effects. Interconnectedness certainly plays a part too though….

I am not entirely convinced that we are ultimately responsible for everything we experience, but we certainly have some control in some areas; yet NO CONTROL in other areas.

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.

Vow of Happiness

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, Education / Schools, Psychology, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by Drogo

For some, an alternative way of life is better than a conventional way of slavery. Different ways of life fit different needs and circumstances. Often ‘regular’ jobs do not cut it for imaginative free-thinking free-spirits. Sure some people are lazy, and do not want to do anything, not even for themselves. However there are many people that do plenty of work for free, or very little pay; but they are happier than working at something they do not like, or for someone they do not like. The most expensive college is not the answer, nor is the highest paying job; since colleges get you in massive debt most of the time, and you could spend your whole life trying to hunt down the ‘highest paying miracle job’, and never be happy with what you have.

Therefore I welcome others to try to not bully other people ‘to try and get a better job’, ‘go back to school to get a better job’, or not even acknowledge that people have jobs at all; when in fact they often do have jobs. Jobs and careers are not always conventional, and some of us want human rights like a living wage for being who we are warts and all. If you can pay your bills, or have them covered by a benefactor, and you are not hurting anyone, and you are best fitted for doing work that does not pay very much; that is ok. In fact it might even be good, and life fulfilling. If people get high paying jobs, good for them; but if they do not want to do so for various reasons, perhaps they should not; and I say stop pressuring them, and check your own stress.

When looking for happiness, find satisfaction with your achievements; your highest status is your most humble. Zen will reduce complexity to a oneness with singular and collective identity. As the Dalai Lama says in ‘Looking for Happiness’, “I am a simple Buddhist monk; no more, no less”. While he may be exaggerating the simplicity of his ‘being’ in reality, his rationality often focuses on reducing the stress and burden of riches and power, by realizing that most people are happier with less; which tends to lead to advice for giving up responsibility which distracts from spiritual service. Buddhism often encourages us to ‘let go’ of burdens we carry, when they are too heavy.

Dean Hsu-Jen Huang at SCAD told me the tale of the monk and his apprentice who helped a woman across a river. The apprentice felt his master held the woman inappropriately. In response the older wiser monk said “I left the woman at the river. Why do you still carry her?” In other words, “I put my mental baggage down a while ago; why do you still cling to that problem?”

Take a vow of happiness; no matter poverty or wealth.

3times_buddhas

Direction not Perfection

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Critical Commentary of Civilization, Environmentalism, Psychology, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2011 by Drogo

Direction vs Perfection For me Life should be more about direction, than perfection. I say ‘should’ because I often do get hung up on relative perfection. I say ‘relative’ perfection to clarify the desire to make something as flawless as possible, as opposed to archetypal Platonic perfection. ‘Direction’ is obviously a metaphor for life purpose (not travel orientation). I have intense drives both for direction, perfection, and the desire to not be a hypocrite. Despite these drives, the suffering of life forces me to compromise. Although I am sometimes a harsh perfectionist, I prefer compassionate happiness if I am forced to choose. My heroes all have some traits which can be perceived as flaws, and even make them hypocritical in some ways. And my interests, needs, actions, and desires often have contradicting aspects to them. So now you know I am talking about reality. So for me to be generally happy, I have a general direction in my life towards art, architecture, and environmentalism. I am content to try to make things better, as opposed to making them perfect by objective standards; because practicing perfectionism to me means never being content, and snobbish. My directions, on the other hand, allow for distractions, contradictions, and errors; because directions are ways of life, careers, goals, quests, ethics, and other complex ideals or theories. – Drogo

Art as an Avatar for My Life

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Military, Pagan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by Drogo

Reflections on the Film Avatar by a Veteran of the War on Terror

Dances With Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, Last Samurai, Fern Gully, or whatever you want to compare Avatar with, its all good shit. Avatar had some great new special effects. It moved science fiction to the next technological level.

Now for my personal thoughts. I didnt need to see it right away, at least when it came out, since the plot and the fantastic alien imagery is pretty much what goes on inside my head since i can remember. heh when it came out, i was too depressed by my real-life military vs pagan conflict, and was afraid the re-enforcing energy i would have gotten from the film would depress-anger me further into something drastic. As it is, i barely made it out without Hulking out totally. If i had been free at the time, i would have gone to see it with friends, hell i would have organized it. i was too drained… feeling better now though 🙂

‎5 years of tolerating military intolerance was a huge sacrifice for me, my ways were “wrong” and the more i expressed myself the harder it was. The ideas defended in Avatar were in direct opposition to the War on Terror and martial laws that i had to learn and practice. Now that i have my citizen liberties back, i can enjoy my life more through these movies that i like; art and life as one. I may have had more direct influence on the military from within, but i have a wider range of influence with citizen liberties fully restored. For example, James Cameron could not have made that film if he was in the US Military. Enough said.

As one friend put it “It’s really good, as long as you don’t think too much about it. :)” That recommendation works for the complex experience of Avatar. It works in part for me, because I DO THINK about things too much, often. As I found myself inevitably analyzing Avatar (as i knew i would), understanding the story and relating it to my own feelings; I realized just like in real life, I am most at peace and happy when i can just relax and enjoy the experience. As soon as i find myself not coming to satisfactory conclusions about certain points, its time to shift. Sometimes the only satisfactory conclusions on issues are the satisfaction that there is not much I can do about anything except to share my thoughts with anyone that will listen, in their own time. So I can just leave things out there, to share with others.

I think comparisons are ok, but i feel like while we get the messages about multi-cultural acceptance, there are perhaps not enough movies like it to counter the amount of population that loves to hate other cultures and praise military action above all else as though it was just a sports game. That is why i am not usually harsh on fiction that has some lessons, regardless of how ‘cool’ it is. I hate to say it, but for many people no amount of lessons about cultural sharing will be enough to stop Wars. I dont blame films for that. Films like Avatar may change the minds of some, perhaps, and for that they may help to avoid real life suffering, especially if the values get passed on. Entertainment has effects on culture, for better or for worse.

If I take stories too seriously, I blame Joseph Campbell. The fact is I like stories, and love powerful fiction stories very much because we can talk about serious real issues that we can relate to, without the trauma risk that makes non-fiction too personal for debate. So I will go into the issue progressive people have with the “White Male Hero”.

What Avatar has in common with Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, and Last Samurai; one “White Male Hero” is the catalyst embracing the underdog culture. It may be silly but that is the tool to engage traditional white viewers that would not be able to bridge the cultural gaps any other way. Sad, but true.

We progressives of course would be able to see a film where the aliens win, without having a saviour that is ‘one of ours’. In reality it often happens that negotiators and important figures can relate to both sides… being of mixed blood or simply mixed cultures. I do feel the “White Guy” character was over-used when Last Samurai came out years ago. An important detail to note about the “Last” movies, is that the last of the Mohicans and Samurai had figures from those cultures that actually were the “Lasts”; its just that they were the secondary characters. So it could be argued in those films that the white actors were not really the “lasts” and their importance in the plot was overblown for the sake of engaging a white audience.

There was a line about “this isnt some pagan voodoo” that bothered me, because it seemed to be negating the point of the film in relation to reality; in other words explaining that things we have dismissed as “magic” or “supernatural” can be scientifically or psychologically explained as having functions; so i would have preferred Weaver to say “This isnt pagan voodoo in the WAY YOU THINK OK IT”, so to me it was either bad writing or it was written as though she just responded off the top of her head, in either case it didnt support translation to real world morality or comprehension regarding different cultures as much as i would have liked.

Another problem is about the “leg challenged”, and Avatar seemed to ignore the fact that we can be heroes without legs or virtual reality avatars. Unfortunately Avatar does not take that problem on. So a miss there.

I guess im saying the “White Guy Hero” issue and other problems are like dirty bath water, and the other strong issues about the environment, ecosystem, nature, science, communications, non-violent conflict resolution, etc are the Baby. So we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, do we?

So yes we should have more films with indigenous heroes. It was just impossible to go from the old school “We the Cowboys good, they the Indians bad” movies to “We the Cowboys bad, They the Indians good”, at least for a population made to say the National Anthem since they were kids, members of the military, or politicians etc. The message we want probably is NOT suicide. Right?

So of course we need to find a middle road in the real world, between Good and Bad, where 2 cultures can coexist without War. Ongoing War across the Globe is one of the great challenges we face, and minds must be opened to peaceful options with peaceful tools like film entertainment, video games, and other modern engaging forms of stories. More direct political or religious approaches often seem to have less effect on War than ART. We should not give up on Peace, and we must use all of these thought-provoking tools, despite the fact that the most important messages may be lost on many.

If you can make a better film than Avatar, do it. Or if you have something already that meets the most important moral messages for our time, name it. So we progress to the next level of evolution through cosmic awareness, let’s get it on!

– Drogo

Metaphors For Life

Posted in Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, Psychology, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by Drogo

Metaphors To Describe Aspects of Life

Which ones do you like best and why?

The following metaphors for life can be used in sentences;

“Life is a ___.”

Also “What do you think about ___?”; which then describes certain feelings you have towards aspects of life.

Metaphors for Life:

Game

Dream

Novel

Play / Movie (The World is a Stage with different Sets)

Party

Dance (applies to feelings about Sex)

Ocean (applies to feelings about Death)

Beach

River

Journey / Trip

War  (the meaning of life is to attack)

Opera / Song Ballad

Mystery

Maze*  (its confusing, but you don’t always want to get out)

*Walls (applies to feelings about barriers in life)

Door (secret of life is behind a door and you hold the key)

Hallway of Doors (many options in life)

Opportunity

Circus

Heaven / Hell

Pile of Shit

etc…. (please comment, list your own)

Drogo Quotes II

Posted in Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by Drogo

I try to think to myself, “How can I make things better?”

Regarding communication, society, and friendship; i am most grateful to know others that are grateful, and I love giving to those who give. Trust of reciprocation is a treasure earned.

*

The more a warrior knows War, Death, and Violence; the more that warrior should seek Peace, if there is any compassion or empathy for humanity within them.

*

Ringo of the Beatles said it was all about the music for him; but for me when i play any type of art with others it is about the emotional passion (like love) and self expression, and with friends it is more about my connection with them than what notes anyone hits.

*

There must be a conscious effort to change our dependence on an addiction, if it is not taken away.

*

Sometimes one can become so used to physically fighting, sometimes one forgets that other people do not do it at all.  Sometimes I forget, and it is very hard to explain to people that are scared or abhor violence of any kind, that not all strikes are meant to kill or even to maim.

*

“A Favor for a Favor”
“Appearance of Reality”
“Leave no turn unstoned.”
“All Things In Moderation”
“All Things Are Relative”
“All Things are merely are re-mingling of things past”
Its going to be safer, after this dangerous part.

*

Service: people dont care how much we know, until we show them how much we care.

*

Here are 2 interviews I did that will help explain my positions and opinions regarding art.

1. http://youtu.be/Ws9WmXZUWLo

2. http://youtu.be/l0ICHASwcnM

*

Redefining and Rewording some terms for modern personal use: ‘Finding The One’ = ‘Realizing what kinds of human interaction i like, and finding at least one person to do some of those with’; ‘Slut’ = ‘Seeker’ (one open to or wanting sexuality, sensuality, or at least affection with certain people); ‘Stuck-up Prude’ = ‘Guard’ (not wanting sexuality or even affection from certain people, not wanting to give affection); ‘Good’ = changes from impossible critical standards to human local organic standards….