difficult listening

I grew up in a safe environment. Everything was safe. The food was safe. Society was safe. School was safe. Home was safe. But as I got older I learned that it wasn’t safe it was just protected.

There are people who still want to live in their own comfortable “protected” worlds. But protection is a myth. A legend elders tell children. It does not exist. And insisting it does exist, does not make it so.

Further I suggest that propagating this delusion is more harmful than preparing for the facts. The truth. Example: Climate change deniers often use their arguments as an excuse to keep from preparing for the consequences of climate change and taking action to slow it’s impact. And now with the pandemic, humanities approach to disease belies their own unpreparedness. Death and sickness has become unacceptable (even though it is inevitable) So they wear masks, they fight over it, they try to shame those who are “awake” and not afraid.  They want a safe world where things don’t change. The climate doesn’t change. People don’t get sick and die. The world doesn’t change. Everything is safe.

What does this have to do with difficult music/difficult listening?
Like the quote from William S Burroughs in the Laurie Anderson video,

“language is a virus from outer space.”

Difficult music challenges a listeners perception of the norm. It suggests there is something else we need to consider. It suggests that we look into the dark corners. Difficult music is to sound what abstract expressionism was/is to art. And most people who have abstract art work treat if more as wallpaper than as something that has something to say/contribute to the conversation of our times. And in music, people typically do not choose to engage it because it requires them to think about what they are listening to. It is often difficult if not impossible to just hang it on a wall as pretty wallpaper for the soul. Difficult music is often derided as messy, juvenile, scary, ugly, inaccessible (not conforming to any known genre parameters) and ultimately ignored. It is the red-headed stepchild of the music world.

But we can learn much from difficult music. It is not something to be afraid of. The shadows are not scary if you enter with a flashlight. It can teach us about ourselves in ways we haven’t considered or dared think about. But to encounter and engage difficult music one must be prepared and perhaps that is the problem with our “protected”, “safe” elders they are not prepared and they do not know how to prepare the younger generation for the facts and truth of existence.

So, do you want to explore difficult music? Don’t know where to start?
Step One: Turn off the radio and TV – they are notorious “taste makers” that would rather keep you safe than expose you to truth. There are many artists that have helped me in preparing for the real world. I started learning about many “difficult” artists just from reading the underground music press (back in the 1980’s) when popular music was experiencing an explosion of variety. But difficult music existed long before I started reading about it.

Here are some artists you can start with (in no particular order):

Laurie Anderson                                                Public Enemy
Einsturzende Neubauten/Blixa Bargeld        The Last Poets
Alva Noto                                                             Lustmord
Laibach                                                                Rapoon/Zoviet*France
Robert Fripp/King Crimson et al                     Ornette Coleman
Diamanda Galas                                                 Lester Bowie
Sun Ra                                                                  Terry Riley
The Art Ensemble of Chicago                          Steve Reich
Philip Glass (early works)                                Markus Reuter
Robert Rich                                                          Scott Walker (after 1994)
Merzbow                                                              Cabaret Voltaire
Swans                                                                   Nurse With Wound
Matana Roberts                                                  Godspeed You! Black Emperor

The above artists all have work available on Youtube so enjoy your excursion into difficult music. Maybe in the future I’ll write about some of the specific recordings. Again this is just an introduction to difficult listening. Maybe not what you want to listen to in these difficult times but the music does speak to the truth of the times we are experiencing.

I’ll start you off with this Nurse With Wound video for the song BOTTOM FEEDER

considering…

Considering the overwhelming impact of humanity on this planet I’m left with the following questions and statements to think about:

How much more of humanity can our planet support?
How much more of humanity will our planet tolerate?
At what point will our natural resources run out?
Then what?
Is there a danger that humanity will become extinct?
Would that be a bad thing?
Is the problem Humanity or merely the sheer volume/numbers of our species? After all no other species has completely dominated the earth like Humanity.

Nature always attempts to reset.
Isn’t the Corona Virus COVID-19, an attempt by nature to reset the balance of humanity to earths resources? Should we fight the Corona Virus, COVID-19?
In fighting nature aren’t we trying to control it and force it to our liking, our whims regardless of what may be best for our species AND the planet?
Does humanity have a false sense of value?
Does humanity have a false sense of what is morally right?
Does humanity have a false sense of importance?
Didn’t God create humanity to be caretakers of this planet?
when did humanity evolve from the “Image of God” to being god?
Hasn’t God always punished humanity for overstepping (think of the Tower of Babel)?

Even if we defeat the Corona Virus, COVID-19, something else will come along?
Just because we CAN – does that mean we SHOULD?
People will always get sick and people will ALWAYS die. Personally I’d rather die by natural cause like a virus than by a gun, war, violence or technological accident. Just think how much better the world will be if people took the same extreme measures to stop war, curb gun violence, domestic violence and other crimes of humanity – is it really just and right to imprison people in their homes because we are afraid?

http://www.anthropocene.info/pb5.php
what are the 7 signs of the Anthropocene – a manmade epoch?
1.Nuclear Weapons
2.Accelerated use of fossil fuels
3.The invention of 3 materials that have forever changed how we live: Concrete, Aluminum, Plastics
4.manmade change of earths geology through farming, mining, deforestation, landfills, dam building, coastal reclamation
5.Increased use of fertilizers
6.Climate change/global warming
7.mass extinction – we are currently in what is called the 6th mass extinction in planetary history with 3/4ths of species due to be wiped out in the coming centuries.

diamond in the rough

we are diamonds
born of the earth
the diamond does not understand the jeweler
the diamond seeks to defend itself
against the jeweler’s knife
we struggle to hang on
hang on to absolutely everything we can about ourselves
not realizing that every little bit that is cut away
reveals a facet of the inner self
the diamond only sees
a piece gone here
another piece gone there
another hit, another blow from the chisel
piece by piece it sees itself whittled away
and it is afraid
for it cannot yet see it’s shining glory

REJOICE! it’s what we do

REJOICE!

Humanity will become

                      a slave to its creation.

REJOICE!

Just as God became 

                      a slave to humanity.

REJOICE!

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

REJOICE!

I sometimes feel sorry for God.

REJOICE!

Maybe one day our creation will feel sorry for us.

REJOICE! Again, I say REJOICE!

The Players Song

Players Song

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

the end has come
lights gone down
crowds are gone
strides across
this sawdust clown

baggy pants
dirty shirt
worn out shoes
treading through
another broken town

hotel room
lonely bulb
peeling paint
dingy and dank
inhabited mold drown

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

the naked man
in the bathtub
smokes a cigar
wearing the painted
face of a clown

milky surface
soapy water
shimmers like diamonds
one deep breath
he’s sliding down
what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

warm wet meditation
wraps up the man
mind quiet, at peace
distant thunder smoking
cigar lifeline

rising up
paint-stained flesh
reveals the man
washed renewed naked
suffering reality frown

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

I don’t remember when I wrote this – possibly 2013-2014. But I only recorded it recently.

… on… hate….

messages-from-the-future-22-evn-smlr
Being a citizen of the United States Of America the past 8 months have been excruciatingly difficult to endure.  We have a President (along with other White House leadership) with no self-control, no discretion, no discipline, no compassion and no love who continues to emotionally/psychologically abuse, harass and harm the very people he is supposed to lead.  Never has so much damage been done in and to the office of President of the United States than has occurred under Donald Trump.  It will only go to deepen the cynicism and distrust that people have for politicians.  I think the notion of a politician being a force for good is not even possible with the current leadership.  It has been depressing to daily and sometimes hourly see breaking news stories of how the President has, yet again, done something so outrageous and shocking that it is virtually unbelievable.  We are being forced to watch a reality media show that is seemingly never-ending.  And the media is focusing on the sensational.  Now I have no great love for the media and that is about the only thing Donald Trump and I have in common.  Our reasons for disliking the media are completely different.  I would like to see more investigative journalism and less sensational journalism.  Trump just decries anything he doesn’t like as “fake news”.  But it’s NOT fake news it is the reality we live in.

This past weekend we saw many developments in the United States.  The rise of racism, talks of secession, hatred for all things non-white.  And in the past few months we’ve been seeing the increased likelihood of nuclear war with North Korea, Venezuela, and a trade war with China.  Sure with all this “madness” it would be easy to throw in the towel and say it is WAY bigger than anything I can have any power over or change.  But I’m not ready to do that.  Now more than ever we need to be strong.

We do need to look at both sides of a story but we also need to address and stand up to those values and positions that would harm others or enslave them for ones own enrichment.  For example: The American Constitution has a provision for free speech and lawful assembly.  These laws apply to ALL people – even people who believe differently from me. So for neo-nazis, white supremacists etc; we must acknowledge they have the right to protected free speech (we just don’t have to like it).  Just like people who oppose them have the right to protected free speech.  Now I know a lot of people are going to be uncomfortable with that notion. But as a follower of Jesus Christ I am a FIRM believer in what he taught about loving ones enemies (I’ll explain more on that later). It’s just that in these troubled times it is difficult to STOP, take a moment, consider, weigh ones reactions before making those reactions public.  But that is exactly what we must do.  I do not love Donald Trump’s policies I specifically hate his approach to what should be collaborative, positive working relationships.  I hate his non-stop “twittering”.  But I do NOT wish him dead.  I hate now Trump and many in the white house continues to hold his business interests (even if they are in his children’s names – who are his official presidential advisors and aides) creating conflicts of interest. I cannot hate a man who is misguided, foolish, delusional and emotionally unstable.  I can honestly say I’ve had to think about this long and hard.  The past 8 months have shown me that we all have the capacity for hatred but we do not all act on that.  I understand why people may think that the only way to solve this crisis we face in America is to kill or assassinate Donald Trump.  I understand because I felt myself slipping into the same hate for hate thinking and had to stop myself.  I pray to God that Donald Trump is not assassinated.  Here’s why.  I don’t have any confidence in the Vice President that would take his place.  And killing Donald Trump would only give the alt-right extremists the martyr they’d love to have – which they would use to justify further violence.  On top of that as a Christian I am against the death penalty for anyone because I believe that just as God gives life he also takes it away it is not up to man take life away.  And anyone who behaves abominably should have the opportunity to change or, to use an archaic term, repent.  If they are killed we are depriving them of that opportunity.  So death is NOT the answer.  But Donald Trump should be impeached and that needs to happen ASAP (in my opinion).  I seriously doubt that Trump will survive to the end of his first term.

Sadly America can only blame itself for creating AND electing Donald Trump the tyrant. No one should be surprised by what he is doing.  He used the same tactics in his reality TV shows.  People who have participated in his shows “THE APPRENTICE” and “CELEBRITY APPRENTICE” have noted how Trump would pit people against each other, he would harass and harangue people to create and build drama in the show.  He is a victim of his own celebrity – believing in a false value of self.  Unfortunately, we can see that what works on television isn’t what works as a world leader.  He has also gotten support from an “Evangelical Right” that uses scripture to justify and encourage Donald Trump giving him a false moral justification for all he does.  This same type of Evangelical movement that uses the Christian Bible to justify white supremacy also supported Hitler and The Third Reich (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Evangelical_Church).   I also think it may be time to do away with the electoral college.  There was a time when the electoral college had value.  But in the internet age the electoral college is an archaic institution that can only do more harm than good.  It is time to elect leaders only by popular vote.

Now about love.  It may seem odd and unlikely to read about love in this type of post.  I think it is necessary to bring the needed balance and provide level-headed options to the discussion.   Please consider this; how do we love a tyrant, a despot, an oligarch, a hate-filled man? We CANNOT react in the ways he reacts.  We can find ways to slow down the discussion allowing time for all parties to think about their positions.  We can act respectful to them without agreeing with them.  We can seek to remove them from their position for their own good.  Donald Trump is clearly over his head and he is being battered on all sides continually and that would be enough to make anyone crack.  The kindest thing we can do for America is also the kindest thing we can do for Donald Trump.  Impeach him.  Remove him from the position that is causing him so much distress.  And wish him well as he leaves.  Now I’ll be the first to admit this is easier to type than actually practice.  Love is not some easy fluffy romantic notion – it is something we have to work at.

One of the benefits of writing this is that it also reaffirms what I believe and helps give me the strength I need to practice what I “preach”.  I cannot hate Donald Trump I can only hate the carnage he has created while in office.  I do not believe there are evil people only evil actions.  And I choose to not act evil or out of malice toward my fellow Americans, or any living beings.  And if I do act evil (because I am human and have occasional weakness) it is a weakness that I quickly seek to remedy.

Matthew 4:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Feel free to agree or disagree on any and all points.  That’s why it’s called free speech.  We can disagree and still be respectful.

***If you think more people should see this post – feel free to re-post.

…on …laundry…

laundry

The early morning had an autumnal chill in the air and was overcast like so many clouded minds waking to the new day.

I was at the laundromat; not one of my favorite things. I go early, making every attempt to avoid the greedy rush of individuals jockeying for machines.

This morning eight other people had the same idea.

I had a book by Peter Handke that I was reading – ON A DARK NIGHT I LEFT MY SILENT HOUSE. It’s a short novel with prose that reads like poetry. It travels the razors edge of reality and dreams, so-much-so that, at times, I wasn’t sure if I was reading a really great story or if I was dreaming of reading. As I slipped farther and farther into the world of the story the sounds of the laundromat seemed more distant, muffled, even murky.

My quiet reading repose was interrupted by the RAT-A-TAT-TAT of machine gun fire – the sound of death – blasting from the mobile device of a seventy-year-old gray-haired grandmother playing an obviously violent video game and sitting near, too near me, lost in her own oblivion.
Annoyed by the cruel aural assault I just closed my eyes and let the sounds of the laundromat merge into a cacophonous free-jazz experiment; Albert King was playing on the overhead sound system swinging with updates about Hurricane Matthew, on the television, merging with the friendly chatter of others who seem to enjoy laundry – and company. Suddenly, a searing break of five washing machines whirring and buzzing, in their wild interlude, on the spin cycle in complete synchrony eventually to subside and merge with the rest of the sounds in this social sound-fest ending with the click click click click click of the same five machines stopping, signaling the cycle was over.

After drinking in all the sounds it was time to dry out, fluff and fold. The feeling of warm, fresh softness carried out to the car. Another week has ended. Now ready to start a new week, clean and clear. Ready to carry-on after this unpleasant sensorial massage. Ultimately satisfied. Paradox of mundanity.

a bio-form defense league?

There is much talk in the futurist community about the coming singularity. A time when technology eclipses humanity as an intelligent life form. A time when humans will eventually be remade and become the products of the technology they created. While many suggest that we are still a long way off or that it is complete science fiction I would argue that it is already begun. I suspect that it will not be a flash moment in time when this change occurs but is actually happening now. Think about how attached people are to the technology now. Here is a great video that highlights all the human parts that can currently be replaced.
Rex, the worlds first Bionic Man.

This bionic man highlighted in the above video is still a long way off from being a complete, artificial being with a self-identity because the most crucial replacement part has not evolved yet – the brain.

So what is this Singularity?

Like the video says, now is the time to start asking those questions about what we are doing and whether we should continue down this path? Isn’t technology making it a condition that just because it is beneficial it MUST be accepted and adapted? Isn’t technology making non-replacement unacceptable? And isn’t technology, as a result, saying that bio-forms must be replaced? And to say that we “should not” pursue this does this mean we seek to keep control of technology or are anti-technology? How are all these promises going to be affected by cultural differences? What will happen when things that happen with technology start happening without technology? Will it be possible for humans to evolve in their current bio-forms to compete with their technological counterparts? Will we even have the choice and opportunity to say “no”?

I’m wondering if we need a Bio-Form Support Group or, maybe more accurately, a BIO-FORM DEFENSE LEAGUE.
Any ideas?

Did Jesus suffer from hype?

(from the Concordant Literal New Testament) – Mark 11: 1-10 tells the story of what is often referred to as the “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem to great and seemingly spontaneous and positive crowd response.   But was this manufactured?  Was the crowd egged on?  Was this the result of hype?

It is a possibility.   Of course we may never know for sure because our way of perceiving now is so different from how perceptions were formed during the time that Jesus lived.   But let’s look at the text.  On coming into Jerusalem Jesus tells his companions to

“Go into the village facing you, and straightway, going into it you will be finding a colt, bound, on which not as yet, any man is seated.  Loose it and bring it.  And if anyone should be saying to you, ‘What is this you are doing? say that The Lord has need of it….'”

And it happens exactly that way.   I have always been a bit mystified by the use of the title “Lord”  when referring to Jesus, the Christ.    Lord is a title like president, viceroy, chairman, etc.   It is given to people who have power, and authority, influence like a ruler.    Now Jesus was not born into any of this and he cannot be said to be of that class at that time.   It is a title conferred on him by those who believe he is the Messiah (another title).  So I have many questions.   Why did Jesus tell his disciples to tell a “white lie”?   He was not a Lord in terms of class and position.   Was it just a way to get what he wanted because people wouldn’t question taking another persons property if it was done by a Lord?  When he then rides the colt entering Jerusalem, and people are shouting and laying their cloaks on the road and waving palm branches, were they just caught up in the hoopla because someone had prepped them saying that “someone special, a lord, is coming to town.”  Were his followers egging on the crowd whipping them into a frenzy of adulation?  Was it all manufactured?   Was this one of the reasons people turned on him?  Did the people thinking he was a Lord of the land come to see that he was just a poor homeless man that wasn’t going to change their world?   Did Jesus play into the hype because he knew he could never live up to others expectations for him?

Of course that is entirely possible and while many Christians would read this and start shaking their heads in disappointment I would postulate that if this is what happened then the lesson from this story is very different.   This story is typically told as a justification for the Godhood of Jesus, the Christ as a Celebration of his Godliness.   But the Greater lesson is that Jesus did not come to change the world but to change individual lives through a change of perception, thinking, and being.   This is the true miracle.   The miracle is not that Jesus is the essence of God but that he paved the way for all individuals to be the same, to save us from ourselves to find the essence of God in our own lives.   We were created in the image of God.  We have access to the essence of godliness.   It is time to wake up!  Don’t suffer from the hype of God changing the world for you.   Let God change YOU for the world.  It’s not something we make happen, it’s something that happens to us.