Spirituality for an Insane World

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin; and it is truly
wonderful how love-telling the small voices of these birds are,
and how far they reach through the woods into one another’s
hearts and into ours. The tones are so perfectly human and so
full of anxious affection, few mountaineers can fail to be
touched by them. — John Muir, Our National Parks (1917) Chapter 7.

I have been exploring an expansion of my personal blogosphere lately. Finding some interesting stuff. One that caught my attention, first because of his conversations in other blogs, then by poking around in his blogs, is a guy with the handle “rawgod.” I have no idea what it means. A fine name. I’m sure he will be relieved to hear that I think so.

We ran into each other in dialog about politics and culture in someone else’s blog. The first of his blogs that I perused is called A New Spirituality. His other one I discovered only today, Ideas From Outside the Boxes.  I just now reblogged his The Song That Never Was (Body Bag Parade) post in that blog. I went a little nuts scribbling a long comment on his post there, and added a Steppenwolf song.

In A New Spirituality rawgod recently posted the piece, Is there a place for spirituality in a world gone mad?

I looked at it and bit my tongue, my arm, my wrist, my hand, my ankle, and declined the temptation to respond. I was afraid that if I tried to post a comment responding to his inquiry, I would write some 867 pages in a dozen drafts obsessively 24 hours a day for a week and then delete it and be sick of myself for wasting all that time, wondering if I would ever learn to tame my scribblements.

Still, I caved in to the temptation. My guess why? I like the guy. I enjoy our dialog. I wanted to see if I could be useful. It’s nice to be useful once in a while. Now and then I give it a shot.

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Singing Balsameans

No, I will not sing for you.  You don’t have enough money for that.  (But if you do, contact me.  I’ll do a charity event.)

I would thus from time to time take advice of the birds.
—Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 12 May 1857

This post may seem as if I’m smoking pot, but I’m not, even though it is now legal in New York State (since March 2021).  I only smoke OP’s.  “Other people’s,” because I can’t afford it.  I limit my social existence, so I’m always short on OP’s.

Below is a 30-minute audio track of birds around the yard and nearby woods early the morning of Sunday, June 26, 2022 .  Make sure the volume slide (right) in this player is pushed all the way to the right.  Also turn up the volume all the way on your device.

Don’t be thrown by the silent minute starting about a minute into the recording, and again later, around eight minutes in.  They were natural events.

It plays louder for me directly from my phone or PC, but weak from this web page.  Ugh.  Let it be just a soft background music while you read.  I’m going to get smarter about how I record and make another track soon.

These singing Balsameans know that I love them.  Especially the crows.  Crows recognize human faces and remember if they are a positive or negative presence.  See The Crow and the Cave Man, a two minute video clip from the PBS documentary A Murder of Crows (30 minute video, terrific, must see).

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CDC Funding for Research on Gun Violence as Public Health Threat Denied for Decades

I have mentioned elsewhere that the CDC was forbidden to conduct research on gun violence as a public health crisis.  It is not quite that, but in the ’90s there was legislation (the 1996 Dickey Amendment) prohibiting CDC from promoting gun control, thus Congress defunded gun violence research by CDC, which the legislation did NOT require.  In other words, the gun lobby got Congress to abuse that legislation as an excuse for defunding research on gun violence as a public health matter.  This is changing lately, but in relatively meager amounts of funding (it has been called “a drop in the bucket” by public health people).  In 2012, Congressman Jay Woodson Dickey, Jr. said that he regretted the outcome of his amendment in blocking CDC funding of gun violence research.

How do you define gun control promotion?  Research showing that lack of gun control is a public health threat?  Does that count as promoting gun control?  To a member of the Autocracy Party?  Whatever Dickey’s conscience may have attained, to a member of today’s Autocracy Party, of course anything showing that guns are a public health threat is deemed gun control promotion.  No wonder a leading Autocracy Party senator was vociferously booed by his own people the other day when he promoted meager new (and useless) measures of gun control in the wake of the Uvalde school shootings.  If you try to do anything to improve gun safety, you are anti-gun-owner, in the minds of the power-addicted party faithful.  That’s not just political power they are addicted to.  It’s their adolescent sensation of phallic power in firing a gun, along with loud exhaust pipes and burning rubber.  “Look at me, I’m powerful.”  Bang bang dipshit.

Content of the NIH article The Dickey Amendment on Federal Funding for Research on Gun Violence: A Legal Dissection (2018 July), Allen Rostron, JD …
 

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The wicked game of religion, politics, wombs, and the lust for power

From renowned journalist Christiane Amanpour: “Frank Schaeffer once produced propaganda films that helped launch the Christian right [and the anti-abortion political movement]. Now he feels regret for what he calls an ‘anti-family’ movement.”

This is Amanpour’s recent interview of Frank Schaeffer.  20 minutes.


At the moment it has 350,000 views and 5,000 comments since posted on May 4, 2022.  And, from the dozen I looked at, they’re actually reasonable comments, not loony crap like a lot of comments in popular media.  I guess that’s because loonies don’t follow serious journalism.  If you like it, share the link and help reality catch on at least a tiny bit before the November 2022 and 2024 elections.  Thanks.  https://youtu.be/25JyC5Whhvc

Christiane Amanpour’s show, Amanpour & Company, is almost entirely interviews with people who are either subject-matter experts or the subjects themselves.  She just did the first ever interview with the head mucky-muck of the Taliban, wanted by the FBI, never did a TV interview before.  He is a masterful liar.  It was disgusting.  He can pee on your head and politely tell you it’s raining.  But I mention it to show that Christiane can get people to talk on air that others can’t, or she’s the first.  I have great regard for her service to humanity by airing interviews that we really need to hear.  It is a CNN show, but aired also on PBS.  The full show is also available by podcast, and individual interviews on YouTube.  Each show usually has 2 interviews, one by her and one by one of her team, who are also among the best-in-class.


Marvel of Modern Science

TIME OUT FROM COVID FOR CLASSICS

I don’t know why I can’t watch this without laughing, my also being a marvel of modern science.  This is a 20-second clip from a five-minute video:

Link to the video: https://youtu.be/3nE4WngsOrs

Doctor:  Do you think there’s anything wrong with your mind really?
Randall: Not a thing, Doc.  I’m a goddam marvel of modern science.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) for which Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratched) & Jack Nicholson (R.P. McMurphy) won Oscars.  You knew she had ratcheted up the Academy’s attention by ten clicks with her strangulation face …

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It’s one world NOW, huh?

“Dance” by Henri Matisse, 1909

I never paid much attention to this Matisse painting until recently when I added it to my screen saver collection. I now see that Matisse’s dancers are all women. Good. That’s the stuff of a one-world mind, because men are feudal. Women are the more evolved half of humanity. I’m not kidding.

In a pandemic, everyone is responsible for everyone else in the world. Everyone fights for everyone to win. If they don’t do it together, it cannot be done. The virus will continue to flourish. We walk and stand together or fall down together. Frankly, that’s a scary thought.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T ALL WASH OUR HANDS. Photo: Spencer Tunick Arrow To Washington, NYC, 1995

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Experts all over say shame on UN, international community

What do I say? Hey, there’s always another war. Get over it. Except for this: the human devastation of this war just keeps getting worse, and the UN and international leading countries aren’t doing anything (relatively speaking) about it. Syria is not a local problem. It is a global one, for a number of reasons. As we avoid responsibility for it, we condemn ourselves.

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WANTED:

Team of international diplomats with advanced expertise to move out of the way all players in the way of getting massive — unprecedented — quantities of humanitarian aid to millions of Syrian people whose standard of living is literally dirt, and to get the incredibly wealthy nations of the world to deliver that aid.

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Halloween Wind Storm

It scattered seventy trees across or into Balsamea’s 2.5 miles of trails.   It’s seventy-give-or-take; I lost count a couple of times while stopping to think about how to deal with some of the fallen trees.  Thinking never has been a reliably good idea.  It often interferes with nobler processes, even vital ones.

The big winds came on Thursday and Friday, October 31 & November 1, 2019.  It is the biggest such storm tree impact in Balsamea’s 14.5-year history.  Before now, the biggest one was the “717 Storm” of July 17, 2012.

I’ll never forget the way my heart sank into my stomach when I found 33 trees on the trails on July 18, 2012.  Working on clearing them and rerouting paths around some of them — never with a chainsaw, which violates Balsamea law — I learned that it was good for me and good for the trails.  Often when I addressed a change that Nature threw onto a trail, the result was a better trail or connection to another trail.  I’m sure I don’t have to explain why it’s good for me to go work in the woods, for mind and body and whatever else I may be.

My little Cadivus story of September 7, 2018 explains the immersive experience of co-creating trails with Nature.  Handy excerpts if you don’t want to read the Cadivus post (I don’t blame you):

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Normal People Anonymous Support Group

I’m thinking about starting a normal people anonymous support group.

Members have the right to define normal for themselves but not for anyone else in the group.

You’re anonymous to each other, at least at the start of your membership.  If you surrender your anonymity with another member, that’s okay.  You can still attend, together or separately, but it is recommended that you come out of the closet about it, for your own good.

If you have sex with somebody in the group, that’s normal, even if you remain otherwise anonymous to each other.

You do peer-led programs, activities or projects together, such as 12 steps, meditation, yoga, hiking, book study, nature study, photography, joke-telling, litter cleanup, gardening, sailing, canoeing, singing, teaching disenfranchised children how to fish, putting Kahlil Gibran in every hotel room, Christmas caroling in July, picketing industrial cattle and chicken growers, making art together, including music, Amazon forest fire-fighting, skinny-dipping (peer-led), putting on a play about climate change and domestic abuse of males, or what-have-you things that normal people do.

The normality of the activity is as beheld by the peer leader, and you quietly accept it and have fun, perhaps expanding or shattering your notions of normal, and squelching the ferocity of your clinging to them.

The peer-led things, the anonymity, and the group dynamic are good for you.  You affirm this aloud in unison at every meeting and outing, holding hands in a circle, a perfectly normal thing to do with strangers.

The anonymity is to help avoid the stigma of being normal, even more normal than most others are.  In the group, you can enjoy — if possible — a place where you can be non-judgmentally welcomed by similarly frustrated normal people.  You define “non-judgmental” loosely, considering its extremely elusive nature, like unconditional love.

You take it all lightly with good humor because you all know that normal exists only from your perspective in the mirror.  That is the guiding principle.  Take your normality lightly.  You affirm it together in unison, religiously, sorta.

Copyright 2019 TheBalsamean.comOver time, with consistent participation, you may be able to give up excessive notions of your normality, as one might give up excessive drinking, smoking, or gambling, and be freed of the pathetic frustration you inflict upon your deluded self.  Amen.

Take your normality lightly.