Tag Archives: economy

selections from In the Sierra: Mountain Writings by Kenneth Rexroth

The question is not
Does being have meaning,
But does meaning have being. Continue reading

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selections from The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! Continue reading

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selections from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt. Continue reading

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selections from Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014)

“In life, as in mutual funds, past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Continue reading

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Seeing [archive]

i’ve just got to cut off a part of my body.

Peeping through my keyhole I see within the range of only about thirty percent of the light that comes from the sun; the rest is infrared and some little ultraviolet, perfectly apparent to many animals, but invisible to me. A nightmare network of ganglia, charged and firing without my knowledge, cuts and splices what I do not see, editing it for my brain. Donald E. Carr points out that the sense impressions of one-celled animals are not edited for the brain: “This is philosophically interesting in a rather mournful way, since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is.”

i don’t know if it’s true, but i’ve generally assumed it to be true. kind of. my version of this hypothesis is that the closer to death you are, the more limited your passages of perception, the more of the universe you perceive. therefore, while humans “see” markedly less of the universe than do amoebas, so too do amoebas “see” markedly less of the universe than do rocks. black holes can see everything. and it turns out that everything is so fucking colorful, blissful, and downright scrumptious that black holes try to suck in as much of it as possible. greedy beasts.

I walked home in a shivering daze, up hill and down. Later I lay open-mouthed in bed, my arms flung wide at my sides to steady the whirling darkness. At this latitude I’m spinning 836 miles an hour round the earth’s axis; I often fancy I feel my sweeping fall as a breakneck arc like the dive of dolphins, and the hollow rushing of wind raises hair on my neck and the side of my face. In orbit around the sun I’m moving 64,800 miles an hour. The solar system as a whole, like a merry-go-round unhinged, spins, bobs, and blinks at the speed of 43,200 miles an hour along a course set east of Hercules. Someone has piped, and we are dancing a tarantella until the sweat pours. I open my eyes and I see dark, muscled forms curl out of water, with flapping gills and flattened eyes. I close my eyes and I see stars, deep stars giving way to deeper stars, deeper stars bowing to deepest stars at the crown of an infinite cone.

and that’s why i love Annie Dillard.

today i attended a talk given by a past professor of mine, James Kuzner, who elaborated on queer theory and economics of surplus and such and such in regards to Shakespeare’s play, “Timon of Athens.” i maybe understood about 1/8 of his words, it was seriously so beyond my powers of comprehension. when faculty started posing questions to the speaker, they rose like Olympians in my mind, they were beings of rational exhilaration, their own neurons whizzing at speeds exceeding a measly 43,200 miles an hour. i felt like a fool. but, nonetheless, a conscious fool.

In the great meteor shower of August, the Perseid, I wail all day for the shooting stars I miss. They’re out there showering down, committing hara-kiri in a flame of total attraction, and hissing perhaps at last into the ocean. But at dawn what looks like a blue dome clamps down over me like a lid on a pot. The stars and planets could smash and I’d never know. Only a piece of ashen moon occasionally climbs up or down the inside of the dome, and our local star without surcease explodes on our heads. We have really only that one light, one source for all power, and yet we must turn away from it by universal decree. Nobody here on the planet seems aware of this strange, powerful taboo, that we all walk about carefully averting our faces, this way and that, lest our eyes be blasted forever.

school is unhealthy for me. i think too much or too little. talk too much or too little. all these people saying things and i wonder, does she really mean that? all these people doing things and i wonder, is that really what he wants to do? i walk four feet and, realizing i’m going to die, start choking violently, drop all my books, fall to the ground and puke all my organs out. they’re black and scorching, fizzing on the ground while my skin shell rocks in spasms underneath a wooden bench i crawled to in my anguish, and that’s when i finally decide to look straight at the only real deity we have ever known: the sun. it says, “you may ask me one question.” i do not respond immediately. in fact, i lie there, organless, under that bench for about 6 millennia, until i finally open my mouth and make a gesture with my hands as if about to finally ask my question, and, as the sun leans forward in anticipation, i am happily burnt to an irreversible crisp, banished forever to the truth only found in vacuums. sometimes i feel like i need a really big break and then i realize that it’s coming, but it’s not quite what i’ve imagined it to be.

But I can’t go out and try to see this way. I’ll fail, I’ll go mad. All I can do is try to gag the commentator, to hush the noise of useless interior babble that keeps me from seeing just as surely as a newspaper dangled before my eyes. The effort is really a discipline requiring a lifetime of dedicated struggle; it marks the literature of saints and monks of every order East and West, under every rule and no rule, discalced and shod. The world’s spiritual geniuses seem to discover universally that the mind’s muddy river, this ceaseless flow of trivia and trash, cannot be dammed, and that trying to dam it is a waste of effort that might lead to madness. Instead you must allow the muddy river to flow unheeded in the dim channels of consciousness; you raise your sights; you look along it, mildly, acknowledging its presence without interest and gazing beyond it into the realm of the real where subjects and objects and rest purely, without utterance. “Launch into the deep,” says Jacques Ellul, “and you’ll see.”

i’ll try that. Continue reading

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manifested communism [archive]

so let it be written

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.

so let it be done

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.

just kidding. Continue reading

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