Archive for society

Progression of Aggression

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Organic Development, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2013 by Drogo

Modern automobiles are a deadly fun convenience for transportation. Yay human civilization, fuck everything else. Roads and vehicles basically say a big FUCK YOU to birds, bees, bugs, plants, animals, and life in general on Planet Earth. Cars and trucks are one of the main killers of life on this planet every day. The truly suicidal thing about the race for bigger and badder killing machines, is that besides murdering billions of deer, possum, skunk, turtles, and other cute critters, we are murdering ourselves too.

TV Shows like ‘Top Gear’ are entertaining, and i certainly have enjoyed watching their stupid antics and testosterone driven points; but there must come a time when we all collectively say “Who the fuck put assholes in charge of running and hosting everything in society?” Even the most ‘hippy’ of the 3 annoying hosts made a statement about alternative cars that made me feel sorry for the state of humanity. What that jerk said may be accurate about hydrogen-fuel-cell electric cars as being the only ‘car of the future’ because they “have all the convenience and horse-power of our current petrol car standards” (or something to that effect) because we have all been pressured to feel that ‘Progress = Aggressive Power’, just as that host was advocating as though the company had given him a bribe.

Progress does not have to mean going faster, moving with more thrust, or being better. Yes often progress should mean being more efficient, breaking records, and all that competitive ‘dog eat dog’ ‘survival of the fittest’ shit. However popular commercial peer pressure is driving the need for road-rage, arrogance, aggression, and pollution as ‘progress’; and to prove that this should not always be our definition of what is ‘good progress’, we need only think about technology that some of us realize we are too stupid to use all the time. For example how many of us say we need to only use nuclear bombs or stronger weapons all the time, since anything less would be ‘going backwards’.

We need to be teaching kids not only that they do not always have to ‘win’ or be ‘winning’ all the time; but sometimes we need to decide to throw the ring into the volcano. To learn how to begin to want to put harmful ideas or technology aside, must start at a young age; otherwise you get tons of middle-aged men having problems figuring this out even during their mid-life crisis with their fucking sports cars. Commercial sports and cars may be fun, but they are both fucking idiotic.

Idiot Puncher

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Evolving Critical Evaluation

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Critical Commentary of Civilization, Environmentalism, Music Reviews, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by Drogo

Redefining Good vs Bad judgments based on the Evolution Humanitarianism and Environmentalism

Changes in politics and economics show that there is indeed a paradigm shift slowly happening since the 1960’s from a human perspective about civilization. This self-aware hippy attitude of good-will has yet to trickle through to main-stream media critics, who have created a whole new generation of ‘everything is shit except what i like’ haters. So in response to less hateful aggressive competition, we hear critics talking about how stupid it is to give every kid a badge who was involved in the game (since the 1980s).

First of all that argument about there being no incentive to win because ‘every one gets a trophy’ holds no sway with me. In soccer the more games you won, the larger the trophy you got; and as I got older, the team I was on lost more and more games. The reason we lost games was not because we were content with getting what-ever it was we got at the end of the season (a paper document if we were lucky); it was because other teams were better. I cannot describe fully how bad it still felt to lose over and over again, with nothing show for it. So to all those critics of encouraging people to keep playing next year by giving them some prize, I say “Fuck you!”. Ok, is that humanitarian enough for you?

Next, there is a growing awareness in America that we are fucking up the planet we live on for ourselves and future generations. This is called Environmentalism (for those not in tune with the movement already). For those that don’t care about life in general or other lives, I ask them to imagine burning to death, drowning, or starving … as an Environmentalist I am opposed to that happening to the masses of animals, including humans, on this planet; but it is happening now because of our collective ignorance on an industrial scale.

So now we come down to individual artists, musicians, and farmers being able to do what they love doing for a living. It is impossible for most of us to earn a living growing our own food, playing our own music, and making our own art currently; however this is where critical evaluation needs to keep evolving! We are redefining our collective definitions of ‘good and bad’ creations, at social events like drum circles, free art shows, and small farm gatherings. Rather than the emphasis being placed on selfish competition and arrogant petty comparisons, critical emphasis is evolving to embrace individual expression and the importance of compassion. To promote the work of another that you can identify with, becomes a way of promoting yourself as a good person.

A good creation has social and environmental worth beyond talent or skill.

A bad creation has destructive dimensions beyond the surface glamor.

Both have value for self-reflection.

* Related articles:  Art Evolution;

 

 

 

 

 

Social Anxiety at Public Parties or Pubs

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Psychology, Pub Library with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2013 by Drogo

Public Parties, Pubs, Clubs, or Bars and Social Anxiety

Thoughts by Drogo Empedocles –

The older I get, the more freakishly strange it feels to go to bars; its always been an odd feeling because it is so different than the rest of society… and yet not odd enough for me, i cant quite explain it.

I am not straight-edge, and I do not consider myself a drug ‘addict’; I strive for moderation most of the time, in most things. However I do like to ‘get out every-once in a while’ and be social, or even host parties; so i would like to express some feelings i have regarding the psychological issues i experience.

Even just to go for music it trips me out. People at parties are a different experience, i remember first learning this at my house as a kid when my parents had Gallery Shows. Some of the social anxiety pressure i think has to do with the amplified volume of collective energy, emotions, and noise. Voice volume gets raised, just to have a conversation or say anything at all; then by nature it feels aggressive or hostile even.

Differences between people aside, im wondering if it is simply the odd condition of people relating to each-other in a much more familiar way than outside the bar? I think it makes it very strange when someone does not interact by those rules in some way, whether being quiet or not wanting to be touched in anyway, etc…

Diversity is important, but it makes for interesting dynamics. Hunter vs Prey scenarios, and what-not. It is funny because im such a sensual and compassionate person at heart, im cool with mutual public affection of common forms, but i realize some other people are not for various reasons, including relationship contracts; and therefore this presents ‘issues’. Usually the most gregarious types of people will be the ones at the party or bar, yet there will inevitably be a minority of introverts or people hostile to affection.

At this point I do not have many conclusions. Perhaps it is simply best to generally avoid the conflict of personalities in any public setting, especially parties and bars.  Yet parties and bars are considered the most fun, and appropriate for Holidays and Celebrations! Hmmmm. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle on all of this, since I am a compassionate introvert at heart, that does occasionally like the thrill of adventure.

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

Analysis of Apostles of Success

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Drogo

Apostles of the Self-Made Man: Changing Concepts of Success in America

1965 book by John G. Cawelti – University of Chicago Phoenix Press – 280 pages

 Success

SUMMARY

This is a book about the popular culture of success in America. It discusses natural qualities of character, education, values, and needs of individuals and society. It is a decent American history of changing concepts of success; with a focus on three main sources: historic individuals, fictional figures, and manual guides. It uses literature as a source to reference social history.

In spite of their persistent devotion to the idea of success, Americans have differed greatly in the way they defined it. That is the subject of this book. – p.3

Though the self-made man wasn’t an American invention, Americans have cherished the notion of someone rising out of poverty and, through hard work and dedication, achieving at least a moderate amount of wealth and respect. Purely American icons such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson each wrote about the opportunity for anyone in a fluid American class system to grow through their own power towards a particular position in society. Yet, much like Abraham Lincoln in the tumultuous ante-bellum period and the Gilded Age’s robber barons, the self-made man appeared most notably in times of rapid change and transition . – C.1

Three Strands of American Success

  1. Religious – Protestant Work Ethic and pious morality

  2. Economic – wealth = success

  3. Complex Individual and Social Ethics and Dreams, often combining the first 2 stands

American society saw three main versions of the self-made man emerge in epitomizing the ideal of success. The first focused on a Protestant notion of “piety, frugality, and diligence” in fulfilling the duties of one’s occupation. This version suggested that a static, stable social order existed in which success was the attainment of respectability in this world and led to the assurance of salvation in the world to come. As strict Protestantism gave way to other, secular notions of success, this ideal began to fade away.

The second tradition placed a premium on a more economic emphasis of success. While the first focused on religious notions of grace and propriety, the second enlisted the purely lay qualities of aggressiveness, competitiveness, and forcefulness. As industrialization swept over the United States in the Gilded Age and beyond, people prescribed to this ideal of success beyond the scope of religion. The hierarchical structure of many new corporations demanded such qualities from their employees if they hoped to “climb the ladder of success.” The third type of success, was a combination of the former two; taking ethics and humility from religious loyalty, in an existential industrial work environment.

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For more of the report, click on the link here for SCOD Gallery Report with Chapter Links!

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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.

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

visit the Claymont Official Website

or read another account of Claymont

Garden Cities by Ebenezer Howard

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Book Reports, Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Drogo

From the book Garden Cities of To-morrow by Ebenezer Howard 1898, 1902

Ebenezer Howard was a shop keeper’s assistant, farmer, writer, sociologist, and statesman. Howard valued good living conditions, democracy, nature, human rights, and personalities. Osburn and Mumford added notes that introduce, critique, review, and praise Howard. JH Osburn claims Howard may have been influenced by Bellamy’s book Looking Backward. According to Lewis Mumford Howard was also inspired by Spense, Buckingham, Wakefield, George, and Kropotkin. Howard’s narrow building lots were handed down from medieval English dimensions (20 x 130 ft).

Garden Cities of To-morrow begins by describing the “Three Magnets”: Town, Country, and Town-Country. Howard explains why we are attracted to the best of both Town and Country aspects. Town-Country benefits have cooperation, beauty, nature, green fields, green parks, good utilities, good commerce, social opportunity, high wages, low rents, low price rates, and low pollution!

In most chapters, Howard proposes how Garden Cities would function with diagrams. He describes inter-connected urban nodes. Central City is shown with a constellation of satellite micro-cities (garden cities, towns, villages, developments). Garden Cities at their heart have a central garden, with rings of dwellings, shops, roads, industry, fields, and farms. The ordered layout is meant to improve biological, social, economic, and personal life for everyone.

Howard considered some difficulties with analytic self-criticism. He saw the weak points in his plans, and how they might fail. This foresight can allow us to prepare for the worst problems, to better shape designs for the future. He maintained that human ideals are worth trying; quoting Darwin “Selfish and contentious men will not cohere, and without coherence nothing can be accomplished,”. Howard believed that Socialism and Individualism must come together in the future to realize a true, vital organic society and state.

Ebenezer Howard felt that Garden Cities would work, because the plans were based on understanding human nature. He indicated that Urban or Communal failures are a result of the ‘Duality Principle’ (Janus). Ignorance of the Duality Principle allows kindred mistakes, by regarding one principle action to the exclusion of others. Howard believed we are all communists to some degree, even those that shudder at being told this, because we believe in roads, parks, and libraries. Individualism is no less excellent, in his mind, as he compares good society to an orchestra that plays together, but practice separately. Expense, however, always tends to get in the way of progress.

Sir Raymond Unwin worked with Howard. In 1903 they designed and established the first Garden City in England, named ‘Letchworth’. Letchworth proved a success, and in 1919 the second Garden City ‘Welwyn’ was founded. By 1950 the cities had a combined population of over 40,000. The account of their success is given in Purdom’s Building of Satellite Towns. Some key points regarding the study of Garden Cities are: how urban and rural districts connect, health and sanitation, zoning limitations of density and sprawl allowing light, gardens, and leisure, harmony rather than standardization, communications, ownership and cooperative leasing, public freedom and choice of enterprise.

Contemporary critics dismissed “Garden Cities” as more akin to the fantasy of H.G. Wells, than to the realities of urban planning. Despite the critics, Garden Cities of To-morrow is cited in countless planning bibliographies, and provides an organic alternative to bleak industrial future city-scapes. So what happened? Our suburbs in America do not follow his models, although some are better than others. Howard wanted to keep the city, town, and country distinct from each other, unlike amorphous suburban sprawl. He wanted more green around and in cities, by confining and condensing urban development, to keep the country rural, pastoral, and agrarian; yet integrating their foundations for healthy and function living.

“The pathway of any experiment worth achieving, is strewn with failures. Success is, for the most part, built on failure.”  – Ebenezer Howard

“Creative work always arises by the synthesis in one’s mind of material from otherwise unrelated sources…”  – J.H. Osburn