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…Guy Debord / La Société du Spectacle III…

CHAPTER THREE

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  • The performances and images of ‘le spectacle‘,  like modern society itself, are at one and the same time a coherent whole, and fractured and fragmented. Like modern society, they build their unity on division and tearing people apart. But all this social contradiction, when it emerges into view in these performances and images, is in its turn contradicted by the upending of its meanings: – – –  all the division and divisiveness that is displayed becomes clearly part of a larger whole, with a certain coherence…  but at the very same time, the coherence that [the system actually intends to be] on display is clearly seen to be fractured and divided.

* – * – *

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  • It is the struggle between these two Powers – which have come into being to the administer and manage this single socio-economic system – which is deployed as the ‘official’ contradiction in our global society…  but they belong, in fact, to a real unity:  both on the global scale, and internally in [the conventional left-right politics of] every nation.

* – * – *

It is entirely natural that, as we transitioned to the Information Age, the geographical centers of that supposedly “other” Power should become more and more visibly part of the global socio-economic system:  with the gradual evolution of China, and with the fall of the Soviet Union…  And all the ‘official’ contradictions we are deluged with, today, are themselves merely ‘spectacle‘… and you will find that the best place to ground yourself against them is in the ‘practical’ – in human ‘sensed and felt’ activity: “menschliche sinnliche Thätigkeit: Praxis“.

Budo – what you’re doing – is totally, absolutely  p r a c t i c a l .

It is of no use if it’s not practical.  That is not to say, that practicality isn’t the gateway to the divine and the most deep and the most penetrating awarenesses, the most beauty, the most deeply real, the best kind of relationships…

Whereas that abstract, abstraction-y appearances world is false and leads to nothing but more false… until people don’t know that there ever was an actual smell or taste of anything.

And then their biology rebels and creates schizophrenia.

Because their biology knows what it’s doing. It knows what a proper kind of relationship is with the world, and with other people.

And part of this is that it knows the practicality of your relationships with enemies. The realities of social contradiction.

There are enemies. I’m not saying you should make enemies in your mind. There are beings who already desire what you have, who are driven by the tyranny of the urgent, or ambition, or some great picture in their head. And they, by themselves, without you labeling them anything,  are your enemies.

You do not need to segregate them. You don’t even need to make a class called “the enemies.” You don’t need to lead your life in fear of “enemies”.  But there are people who will, by the natures of their desires and the natures of their framework, et cetera,  lead to you suffering.  Simple.

There are many ways to deal with this problem. Some of it is meeting in some sort of harmony with them in the sense of “what do they need? ” “Can we get there?” “Can they get what they need without everyone being murdered?”

T h a t   is intelligence and culture and creativity and a good part of a solution.

There’s also recognition.

The word ‘enemy’ has been linked to ‘hatred’. It is not the same thing. You can have enemies, and you don’t hate them. I’ve learned in my life that all kinds of people were doing s*** to me… I didn’t need to hate them back. That debilitates me and makes me dark. Sucks energy out of my soul… it feeds Cthulhu in his cavern underneath the vice-president’s house…

On the other hand, I can say that if anyone tried to harm you and I was present, they would probably find that their life had changed drastically in an instant. Now, I wouldn’t think murderously, but I certainly would try to have your back – even if you got yourself into it…even if your nature and moods and growth, had put yourself into a place where you got yourself into a bad place.

Your true friends don’t judge you. They step in and have your back. They also talk to you: “What’s going on here, dude? How did you get yourself into this hole?” And if you love your friends, if you believe in them, because you’ve seen them as they really are, and you don’t run them through the distorted mirror of society-right-now – they’re  n o t  going to throw you under the bus… these are the people who didn’t throw you under the bus –   t h e n  it’ll change your soul.

And you’ll realize that the teenager who was angry and was trying to… well, this is a biological function. Strictly biology. There’s an imperative to separate – on a power level – from your parents… to be autonomous, but you also need to  n o t  separate from your tribe.  N o t   separate from your support system.

This society keeps people retarded. It holds them in this point because they’re so marketable to, they’re so vulnerable. It’s so easy to take someone who’s angry, and convince them of anything.

So, in practice, in our dojo, I try to get you past this, gently, so you’re no longer susceptible to this kind of provocation. So that “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” don’t make you crazy.

But first things first: budo is infinitely practical, grounded in reality. From that, the magic and the sublime world are easily accessed.

Sir John Colville records that Winston Churchill, when it was suggested that the canvasses in the National Gallery should be evacuated to Canada, was emphatic for keeping them at home: “No. Bury them in caves and cellars. None must go. We are going to beat them.”  Because you fight for the beauty, you fight for your family, you fight for love, you fight for the times of peace, you fight for the trees…

And all you’re really trying to do is suspend the insanity.

So this requires courage. To determine first, that you’re going to become infinitely practical.

This practical does not sacrifice beauty or metaphor or any of that other stuff.

It makes it possible for that to register, in the real world, in a place that’s true: that you can really love the poem, because you have the right kind of mind, the mind that can do that. And no-one can turn you into a cynic.

Because that’s the soul-murdering thing: to make you stop believing in good things… because of the ‘practical’.  Using that as the excuse.

Well, I have noticed, being a farmer, at one time in my life: corn… it is so beautiful. The practical part is it must live, you must plant it, it must grow, you must take care of it… All that… But I did notice that people made little corn, big corn, red corn, green corn… all of which taste different, and did different things, and some of it made whisky, and some of it was good for the Fourth of July, and some of it made cornmeal…  It was beautiful and infinitely practical.

I would suggest to you: even the most intensely provoking and somewhat meaningless kind of job – and I’ve had plenty –  can be a vehicle to find your practical base, and build a life of practical beauty.

That is the nature of what you’re seeing when you look at some Zen-like sumi-e, or some Shaker furniture… it is so simple.  But it is so dramatically, practically precise and raw, that it freezes you in kyo.

Once you determine that your budo needs to be practical – and knowing that the practical will come to naturally support, cradle, nurture, develop the beautiful – when you get that, I can show you stuff.

Why do we do this movement a million times…

Because there’s something needed… It’s like training your senses, to listen for a note till you have perfect pitch… and it’s infinite, yes? And infinitely beautiful once you determine that “I love the practicality of my practice.” It’s as if practicality and practice seem to be somehow word-related… do you think?

Practice and practicality.

I lived for a time when my life was necessarily only practical because I didn’t want to starve. And I was pretty youthful and resilient, full of Spring, and I could live on nothing. Ramen and coffee. And I learned something about being beautiful. Being beautiful myself. Not beautiful for other people.

Beautiful so that my life had value.

It wasn’t something I told someone else I was doing, I just felt it.

And then I knew that if I died at that very moment, I was still in a place that I admire, and that I think makes life worthwhile for me.  And you may have a similar little bit of this in you.

Make sense?

There’s the deal…

read more:

…tree-house reading-room in the snow…

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The Birth of Surrealism… Paris, Spring of 1924

– – – Louis Aragon (1924)

It sometimes happens to me that suddenly I feel as if I have lost the thread of my own life:  I find myself wondering – sitting in some little corner of the world, next to a cup of coffee that is steaming and black, with polished pieces of metal around me, amidst the comings and goings of sweet but imposing  women – “by what road of madness have I landed finally under this arch that they so accurately call ‘the sky’?”  And this moment… when everything becomes un-graspable… when huge cracks appear in the palace of the world… I would give my whole life for this moment,  if it would only continue – at such a silly, risible price…     And at this time, one’s spirits detatch a little from the  mechanism of human activity: at this time,  I am no longer the rushing bicycle of my own senses,  I am no longer the grinding-mill of my own memories and of the people I’ve met.  At   this time, I am aware of the contingent, the temporary, the ephemeral in myself…  I understand all at once how I am more than my accustomed  self:  the ephemeral is actually  m e  !!!     And once I have arrived at this thought,  I find myself laughing  when I think of every kind of  human activity.

And it is at this point, no doubt, that those people fall silent: those men and women who leave, on a particular day, with a clear look in their eyes. And this is when, certainly,  t h a t   way of thinking begins: which is no longer – no, not at all any longer – that old game of mirrors – or of several, excellent mirrors – and that is so lacking in danger.  If you have felt – even  one time  – this vertigo, then it becomes impossible to go on accepting those mechanical, mechanistic ideas which are the way, today, almost every human activity is summarized. And it becomes impossible to accept the comfort and tranquillity which comes from that.  And you can sense, at the root of every train of thought, however clear… an axiom that you hadn’t thought of, that you cannot quite grasp, which belongs to some other, forgotten system of thought, no longer up for discussion,  but which still leaves its rutted tracks at the back of your mind…  this formula that was not the thing you were talking about…

And so…  philosophers speak in proverbs, and they make their proofs.  They tie up their imaginations in these strange chains, stolen from famous tombs.  They shine light only on facets of the truth, and what they believe to be true is only partially the truth.

* – * – *

If, suddenly, I find myself thinking about the way my life runs… and if I forget the way my mind and thinking have been taught to be… and if I reign in a little my awareness of that life which runs its course through me – and which escapes me… then all at once: “What does it all mean?”  Suddenly I have no expectations of the world. What do I care about some new discovery, and its practical applications?  Knowing!!!  A stone thrown into the abyss knows nothing but its own acceleration – and doesn’t even know that, to tell the truth…  You have to see how a man is victim of his own mirrors.. the mirrors that he erects… crying out with all the emotion of his own little theatre: “Oh!!!… what is going to happen?”  As if he had some choice… when it is so completely pointless: “Oh boiling sea, I am your battered cliff.  Rise, rise, child of the moon: you tides… I am the one who is gradually worn away, and carried off by the wind…”

And here is a simple practice: when the night is too dark for me –  with its phantoms, and its horrors – if I reach out my hands to the light of distant light-houses… if I join together the famous constellations with the imagined lines that make them – a simple practice – if I sing – very quietly – if I walk… if I think… and if I just open my eyes that have seen nothing yet.

But amongst all the tunes that sometimes I hum, there is still one that gives me, even today, an untrammeled illusion of Spring and of fields: an illusion of real freedom. Sometimes I forget this tune… and then, suddenly, I find it again.  Freedom, freedom… it’s the time of day – the time of the evening – when the wind’s chains of transparent links fly away across the watered silks of the sky, it’s the time of the evening when the ball and chain become slaves of the ankle, and handcuffs become jewels… And sometimes, on the walls of his cell, the hermit and recluse scratches into the stone an inscription that sounds on the hard surface like the sound of wings. And sometimes he sculpts, above a rivet, a calligraphed symbol of the lovers of the earth. And it’s because he’s dreaming. And I, too, am dreaming… am transported… am dreaming…  And I dream of a long, long dream where everyone else is dreaming, too… I do not know what will come of this new movement of dreams. I am dreaming at the edge of the world, and at the edge of the night.

So what is it you want to say to me, you, who are way off in the distance?  Calling out to me with cupped hands, laughing at what the dreamer is doing… At the edge of the night and of crime, at the edge of crime and of passion… Oh,  Rivieras of irreality… your casinos – without distinction of age – open their gambling halls to all and everyone who wants to lose!  It is time, it is really time, believe me, to not be winning any more…

“Who’s there?”  Well, okay then: let infinity enter!

pp. 9-10,  27-29    A Wave of Dreams

a complete English translation is here:

…Cold is a purifying agent…

…cold is a purifying agent – just like salt and alcohol (sake), flowing air and perfect words – like the first two, it is a traditional means of preserving food. When you perform misogi, not only do you stimulate the hind-part of the brain associated with altruism, and kick your blood circulation and your immune system into overdrive…. you also drop your body temperature to a place where many micro-organisms slow down or cannot survive.

But I’m realizing, as the temperatures in Boise hover in the single digits and the teens: this cold, and the snow and the ice, transform our walking, cycling, driving, into a meditation practice.

read more…

…from Cool Memories IV, 1995-2000…

– – – by Jean Baudrillard

A photographer dreams of an arctic light, of rarified air where things acquire the precision that they would have in pure vacuum. This is also the illusion of the mind, which perceives an idea, a word, or even a whole sentence delineated with absolute clarity, with only the slight scintillation that distance creates, and it has this belief that the whole world is like this – right there, too – but in a hidden dimension, from which only a few fragments emerge, touched by the grace of the moment.

* – * – *

As for Lévi-Strauss, he is immortal. He awaits, from the depths of his scholarly immortality, the return of cultures without writing. He perhaps does not have much longer to wait. Because the one that approaches, illiterate and overflowing with information, will be without writing, also. That is our future ‘primitive’ society.

* – * – *

Let’s stop blaming our actions on some outside, objective cause: which is the same as saying that we have nothing to do with anything that happens – which is actually humiliating.  Let us accept the hypothesis that our problems befall us because of some malignant spirit which is our own. Let us be worthy of our own perverseness, of our own propensity for evil: let us be equal to our own tragic stupidity.

pp. 75, 87

AN AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO-ZOU for Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America

[UPDATE:] …the AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU is cast and remains a laborious and painstaking process of polishing…CASThokothreejewels2CROPCASTassemblingwLHspearCROP

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[UPDATE:]  Application of the mold rubber to the drum is complete…
…and in the background, Barry-san prepares a lego container for the first layer of mold rubber to be poured onto AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU’s spear…
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UZUME_April6_drum_mothermoldbegin_72dpi800pxWCROP

..outside the silicone, Barry-san applies burlap soaked in plaster-of-paris as the first layer of the drum’s mother mold…
UZUME_April7_removMoldFromDrum_72dpi800pxWCROP...as Barry-san removes first the mother-mold and then the silicone rubber from the original sculpture of the drum, it becomes obvious why a supporting mother mold is so critical to the process!

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[UPDATE:]  AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU’sarms are being molded separately… so many layers of multi-colored silicone are applied…

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Back to the main part of the ZOU:  all the layers of mold material have been built up. Next is a hard shell: sometime referred to as the mother mold. This  will be comprised of several separate sections. Parting lines of water-based ceramic clay define the sections (the wet clay is covered overnight with plastic to keep it from drying out).

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Barry begins to apply the “Plasti-paste II” which will form the hard mother mold. The paste is a two-component, fiber-filled resin:  when the two parts are mixed the paste is workable for JUST 10 MINUTES before it begins to set. Barry-san must mix and apply multiple small batches of Plasti-paste. AMEZOUstartingmothermoldCROP

[UPDATE:]  Kimbal Sensei builds a base for AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU, using an actual wooden tub as a basis for the clay sculpture of a taiko drum… AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO danced on an upturned tub, to tempt the Sun Goddess out of the cave… thereby inventing both Kagura sacred dance and taiko-drumming…

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[UPDATE:] Meanwhile AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU is now in the molding room – at Laf’n Bear Sculpture Studio, pictured here with Dojo member, Barry Moore, of BearCast Molding and Casting:

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Barry-san begins to apply the first “imprint” coat of silicone molding material  carefully drizzled on with a brush, then moved into fine detail areas with compressed air.  

24 hours later, the silicone has set to a rubbery firmness, and more layers of silicone are added,  to build up thickness.  

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Barry-san tints each coat to help keep track of the layers.  On day 2, AME-NO-UXUME-ZOU is robed in purple…

First thing in the morning on day 3, another layer, this time pink.  Each successive layer is somewhat more viscous and thicker than the previous layer.

Purple again… and by early afternoon on day 3, Barry-san is adding tabs of cured silicone to the seamlines to reinforce those areas.  Held in place by T-pins, the overall effect is one of an odd variation of acupuncture.  The tabs are “glued” into place with yet another layer of silicone mold material…

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– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei

For some weeks, now, I’ve been working at constructing a statue for Tsubaki Jinja in America.  While we tend to think of Shinto as being very much based in natural phenomena – we think of the beautiful torii gate in the middle of a  forest… or the sacred stones surrounded by shimenawa…there is, in fact, quite a bit of lineage concerning the making of sacred images. For instance, if you go to a shrine and you’re going to make a branch shrine – a secondary shrine – they will give you a go-shintai:  a go-shintai is something that has been blessed by the parent shrine, and it’s like a little holographic chunk of what the parent shrine has… and often it’s a little statue.
shindenwAMENOUZUMEZOU5CROP

SarutahikoZou2CROPNow, at Tsubaki America Jinja, there is already a
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statue, which I was able to construct, and which  has been there for many years, and it has found its way into rooting itself into the landscape properly.

I had made a statue of
AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO
before, and wanted to give one to the shrine, as a gift from our school.  I feel that it’s really important to consider female  energy – she represents, of course, sacred movement, for us in aikido – but also the balancing aspect of having both kinds of energy in a place:  the sacred marriage of the energies.

AMENOUZUMENOMIKOTOzou2016inSHINDEN2CROPThe first time around, I built her just as a pure figure, with the properties which are folk-loric, but without the well-known story. But this time, we’re including the story, and that’s why she’s decorated the way she is, with a bamboo frond in one hand, and a head-dress  of sakaki and a belt of woven club-moss. Now each one of these has some meaning… and I also put tama in her head-dress, and suchlike…

I also looked at some ancient, ancient stuff: the shamanesses and oracles in old Korea –  women who danced – and women who are reflected in the first miko  that ruled Japan… I think that pretty much
AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO
is a metaphor for them, and these dances… they are basically spiral dances.

AMENOUZUMENOMIKOTOzou2016CCROPAnd I wanted to make her spear a particular way,  so that while it’s not the Spirit that Creates the Earth in particular, yet there’s a reason she has it. So I like the idea of it being the jeweled spear of creation – and it’s also a  male principle that she’s holding, there.

I really like the old Jomon pottery.  There are so many similarities to the world of Shinto shrines as they are today: the Oyu stone circles on the top of a hill…  with a Te-Mizu-ya – a place for washing hands and mouth clean – just down the hill, before you oyuyangCROPget to the top…  and pottery discovered there, decorated with the image of people seated,  meditating, with halos…  from this time, the decoration always has a  very clear yang, or a very clear yin feel to it: and there are a lot of spiral  designs.

So I  reflected these spiral designs on her garments, as an allusion to the ancient knowledge.

AMENOUZUMENOJOMON2016CROPAnd I’m going to construct the tub that she  dances on in the story. And I’m going to use the old version: people often think it should  be something like an old whiskey barrel, but my own feeling is that  it’s much more like  the thing I make my sushi-rice in. More like  a straight-sided cylinder.

And I’d like to make it so that when the wind  blew, she danced  – I could balance her so she could rotate.

My inspiration is to support Tsubaki  America. I’ve been involved for 30  years, trying to help Guji-san make daigi7CROPthat shrine-world possible for Americans to experience. He’s done such an amazing job with the energy, there:  it truly is one of the most extraordinarily potent places on  the planet.

I think the
AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU
will be really be nice because  it’ll help balance everything.  Guji-san has a wonderful spot in mind, where she and her  husband will be able to see each other, so they can be conjoined in that spot. And people will be able to come and experience it.

haniwaI’d also like to make some of those figures, those really ancient Haniwa,  guardians… to give the shrine a connection to the very, very ancient stuff. If you look at these  ancient things, you know, they’ve carried  over… it’s the deep soil of it.

And I hope to have the
AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU
reproduced, reduced in size, for people  who would like to have one… about the size of a Goshintai, so if you have a shrine at home you could have it…

Ideally we’d cast it in meteorite-iron….  we’ll see!UZUME_April6_drum_mothermoldbegin_72dpi800pxWCROP