Monday, June 24, 2019


On Sunday afternoons, along about now as I write, there is some kind of shift from being the end of the last week to being the first of the new week.  I'm hoping that we'll come to some such shift soon.  Not just from the end of WWII thinking into something that will give us survival in the coming climate shifting extremes, but the enactment of the zillion little particulars of Being into one big vision of the planet, the one we used to have when we first saw that photo of the Big Blue Marble from space.  I always wanted to have a flag with that on it, but I refrain from getting one because the household next to me insists on flying a Confederate flag with a skull in the middle.  I don't want to start anything with them.  Maybe a DUI or uncut fentanyl will simplify the future.

But I'm not sweating the small stuff.  I'm waiting for a sea change, something as sweeping as a new "religion," a vision of life that is quite different from this one.  Until now it seemed impossible that law and order would ever come knocking on my door to take me away unjustly, but now I've read too many stories about that happening to others like me.  In truth, when the end comes knocking, it will be Time.  I only know personally a few of my family since so many are young and faraway, and most of my best friends are dead of old age.  

I started to watch the UUA General Assembly vids and quit out of embarrassment.  There is no major thought, just self-congratulation.  They believe that this will grow the denomination -- notice that the word ends in nation?  What comes after nations?  United Nations isn't working or no child would be in a concentration camp.  Democracy isn't working because no child would be in OUR concentration camps.

"We" are described now as "predatory capitalism" which has developed (or maybe re-developed) in the last twenty years.  It seems to come from credit spending, money-laundering, and the gerrymandering of boundaries and laws.  All of these could be reversed, but maybe not through democracy, because of particle-ization, disengagement, and lack of empathy.  Empathy was once an element of democracy, the People's awareness of each other and willingness to work together for big projects.  One chilled and bruised snotty-nosed toddler with no diapers belonged to all of us.

Partly we are facing the clear possibility -- even the inevitability - of the end of human life, maybe all life, at our own hands.  As Bob use to joke, "If it's hopeless, let's all eat, drink and make Mary." But make me into what?  About twenty years ago I had a terrible dream about the ending of myself, this house, my pickup, and my blogging.  They begin to show cracks, pieces fall off.  We are told that we should have courage.  Oh, sure.  But more than that, we need a vision of "the other side," when Trump has died of his character flaws which may happen sooner than impeachment.

It's a good sign that the big McMansions built in the housing bubble will not sell.  Some of this new vision will just happen.  We need to get the millions living on sidewalks and in their cars into basic homes and we know what they look like, can settle for them now.  Infrastructure is most in need of redesign.  Water, including sewer.  Electrical grids, satellite-dependent electronics, and cyber-managing of everything from dams to street traffic are all terrifically vulnerable.  It's not just elections that hackers search.  This will probably push us more and more towards being off-the-grid.  Something similar will discourage "just in time" supply chains.  Distribution is key.  It may be that division in the sense of making us less able to delegate basics to distant controllers will make us closer to paying attention and taking care of ourselves.  Then there's famine.

We are shifting from a time of radical individualism to group dynamics, some of them toxic.  We have a split between needing quantum mechanic engineers and needing people who can do a decent job of running a village water system or can deal with household plumbing that's asked to do too much.  Hierarchies still hold us down.  It's not just the boss and secrecy systems of mafias, but also the alliances between editors and politics or business that keep reporters from telling the truth.  ALL of it.  Ask them.

I friend of mine asks "what have you done?"  I went apart.  When I was working for the City of Portland, I sat at a desk that was supposed to answer questions from citizens.  But no one knew what the answers were. I was discouraged from telling some truths about their entitlements, because they were a pain in the patootie.  

Sometimes I just sat and thought about the problem, appearing to do nothing.  A senior plans examiner used to pass by and curse me under his breath for being lazy, doing nothing.  He was bad-tempered because he was always in pain because when inspecting a house he had fallen through a faulty floor to a cement basement several stories down.  Though he didn't die, he broke a lot of bones and damaged a lot of organs.  He refused to take disability or retire because he wanted to DO things and be in control.  I understood.  He was a personification of a broken world.  I joked, "I'm just  sitting here stinking -- er, thinking.  Somebody has to do it."

I hang on through all the Twitter nastiness and emptiness because it helps me stink -- er, think.  We're both processes.  I think this is the key to the future -- it's a process getting there and it is a process essentially.  Forget objects, permanence, control of things.  Life running through one's hands like a silk rope.  What fantasy.

But it is not a fantasy that each of us is a temporary aggregate of small bits from a tiny beginning through a (hopefully) long trajectory that leaves traces on the lives of others, maybe not all of them human, until we return back to dispersed molecules and atoms.  They used to tell us that air we inhaled might have once been exhaled by a dinosaur.  That's not wrong.  We're someplace between dinosaur exhalation and our own inhaling, but who will snuff up our exhalations?  Just keep breathing while you wonder.

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